In an effort to highlight the young leaders who are leading undergraduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the brothers of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.’s Gamma Beta Gamma Chapter at Emory University and did an interview with Timothy D. Richmond, Jr. the president of the chapter.
The position of president of an undergraduate chapter of a Black fraternity is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. 21-year-old Richmond has used the position to gain new leadership experience, improve the lives of other students on campus and help the community around him.
We interviewed the psychology & political science major and talked about his position, goals, future and what it means to hold a leadership on campus in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What does it mean to be a chapter president to you?
Being a chapter president is a great honor and it means serving the community to my best ability. I have the opportunity to inspire many young men and to provide guidance and advice. Most importantly I will be able to serve my community and uphold the ideals of Phi Beta Sigma.
What made you decide to attend the Emory University for undergrad?
I attended Emory University because of the opportunities to advance my education, myself, and my community. Coming from a low performing high school in Memphis being accepted into Emory was paramount and my acceptance was an ode to the hardwork and dedication that I put into myself as well as my family, friends, supporters, and my amazing teachers. Also I received the Gates Millennium Scholarship which meant that I could go to a top 20 university for free.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
Our chapter would like to emphasize the importance of being a part of the community and achieving beyond the expectations of our honorable founders. We would like to focus on service learning and the intrinsic values serving your community by incorporating education into every service event. Another intiative is leading by example in the local high schools by helping them to prepare for college and life after high school. Scholarship is so important to us considering that both members of our chapter received scholarships. On campus we would like to emphasize that Unity does exist in undergrad and that we are stronger together. We would like to show our community that Greek life is more than what is portrayed and despite what colors you wear your presence matters.
What made you want to pledge Phi Beta Sigma?
I pledged Phi Beta Sigma because of the glorious history and the amazing members of its past and present. The mantra of the Fraternity of Choice and the notion of being “a part of” rather than being “apart from” the community really resonated with me. I realized that I had the opportunity of being a part of something much bigger than me and being able to impact people in the community on another level. I am also the President of our NAACP chapter at Emory and so many civil rights leaders and NAACP members were brothers. They upheld the principles of the fraternity and inspired millions, they inspired movements, and they inspired every brother that has pledged Sigma.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
Our chapter has a history of scholars and although we have always been small in numbers our impact extends beyond the amount of members we have. My brothers are dedicated to improving the lives of people that they interact with each other. Our chapter is known for leadership and academic rigor that extends beyond just strolling and throwing parties. I believe that our impact as a chapter extends well off into the community and we represent our fraternity well.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think undergraduate chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2019?
Your brand and image follows you everywhere that you go and your first impression on individuals is highly important. Chapters have to realize that what they post digitally will extend beyond their campus and beyond their undergraduate experience. Chapters should always represent their org in the best way even if people are not watching. So many individual can be inspired and touched by the message and image that we put out in the community. Chapters should engage the community and be interactive. Posts should be relevant and encouraging and updated.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means leaving a legacy and impacting people directly and indirectly. Another important aspect of leadership is discipline and discernment. I think effectively using both (discipline & discernment) is what makes a difference between a good leader and a great leader. Leadership also entails your ability to influence and inspire others to accomplish the mission and vision that you have set. It means being the physical embodiment of the word and expressing that leadership involves failure, successs, and perserverance.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is integral to the Black Greek experience for a plethora of reasons. For so many individuals who are first generation or still in high school, it is their first exposure and experience with the culture. It also provides those who were not afforded the opportunity of attending college to experience college from a distance. It celebrated not only greek culture but Black culture in general and highlight what we offer to the world. Most importantly it highlights the history, the stories, and the positivity that every Divine 9 org has bestowed upon this world. Greek life is constantly under attack and Watch the Yard shows the world that we are more than hazing, more than strolling, and more than in fighting. We are an important part of history.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood entails loyalty, honesty, integrity, and love. Being able to refer to someone as brother or sister is so powerful and signifies a bond that is key to our humanity. Being a brother does not mean always agreeing or supporting their negative behaviors, it means leading by example and inspiring each other. Brotherhood and Sisterhood is sacred and key to the black experience and it displays our need for love, acceptance, and of each other.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I plan on doing Teach For America for 3 years along with attaining my Masters in Urban Education Policy. Once I complete my degree and bring my teaching career to an end, I would like to pursue a JD. During my free time I would like to pursue my aspiration of being a best-selling author and publish one of my books that I have been working on.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Richmond for his work as the president of Gamma Beta Gamma Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 2013.