In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the sorority sisters of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.’s Xi Alpha Zeta Chapter in Peoria, IL and did an interview with Chonty Hunter the Basileus of the chapter.
The position of Basileus/president of a Black sorority chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Chonty Hunter, who works as a Drivers License Hearing Officer, has been in the position of Basileus for 2 years.
We interviewed Hunter, who is a Peoria, IL 2020 initiate of Zeta Phi Beta and talked to her about her position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the local community or the broader Black community?
Voter registration, this will increase the knowledge of the importance of voting in the African American community. Domensitic violence awareness, to be make sure that victims know they have other options and the resources that are available to them. Peoria Grown through Market 309, this organization sells health food options (fruits and vegetables) at a cheaper price to make sure that families who can not afford food from the grocery store have health foods options available to them at an affordable price.
What made you want to pledge Zeta Phi Beta?
When I was in the 7th grade, I went on a college tour at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville and saw the service that the finer women were participating in. While doing their service they made sure that each of us on the tour were comfortable, feed, and were doing good overall while visiting their school. Also that blue and white looked so beautiful.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
By our chapter being so small and having a wide range of generational differences we are still eager to do the work of Zeta and showcase our principles.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
With anything they may need including mentorship, sisterhood, educational, and financial support.
How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?
Bonding sessions, sisterhood events, and chapter retreats.
What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?
Keep an open mind, establish boundaries, remember why you joined the organization, and remember that everyone in your chapter is there for the same principles that your organization stands for.
How has mentorship helped you get to where you are today? Are there any specific people in your org who have made a significant impact on your life as mentors?
My mentorship helped me to have a better understanding of people as well as how to Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. functions. As a neo who had to become president of the graduate chapter, I didn’t get the opportunity to learn how the business of Zeta works and all it entitles. My mentors of Zeta helped me understand that and build that foundation, and also encouraged my personal development. They also helped me be a better mentor and teacher for the new Sorors who join the organization/ my chapter. My mentors were the 17th State of Illinois director and chapter member of Xi Alpha Zeta Soror Deborah Chima, Zeta Tau Zeta chapter president Soror Sylvia Davis, 17th State of Illinois Executive Assistant Soror Latonya Cobb, 17th State of Illinois Chief Of Staff Soror Melody Byrd, and many many other Zeta Sorors.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
It shows all the success that each organization has within them, also all the achievements we achieved as a greek community. Also “you don’t know where you going unless you know where you came from”.
Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?
The sisterhood, the service we do, and the fact that Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. was not the first sorority but we were the first to many things. Many of our members are pioneers to changes made within and outside our organization.
Lastly, what does sisterhood mean to you?
A sense of belonging, having support, and having a network men and/or women that you can depend on.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Chonty Hunter for her work as the Basileus of the Xi Alpha Zeta which has a legacy that spans back to 1986.
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