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 Kappa Epsilon Zeta in Bronx, NY and did an interview with Méta S. Morrison 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. Méta Morrison, who works as a Medical Laboratory Scientist and is the Manager of Operations for a Blood Bank in a large New York city hospital, has been in the position of Basileus for two years.
We interviewed Morrison, who is a Spring 2004, Stonybrook University 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 motivated you to take on the role of alumni chapter president?
I transferred into the Kappa Epsilon Zeta chapter, during a personal family crisis. The members of this chapter showed me a level of sisterhood that I never imagined I would ever experience! I quickly became fully committed to the success of this chapter and every member. As our elections were on the horizon, it was evident that emerging from the pandemic in a dynamic way, was going to require strategy, collaboration, and inspiration. I enjoy being a contributor towards the innovation of an organization, particularly in a leadership capacity. I feel honored to have been elected to serve in this capacity and look forward to leading this chapter on a continued upward trajectory of success!
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?
Kappa Epsilon Zeta will be reactivating our Storks Nest, to increase the number of women in the Bronx community receiving early and regular prenatal care. Our efforts will go a long way to prevent cases of low birthweight, premature births, and infant deaths. We are also looking forward to co-hosting our annual fibroids education forum. It is important to bring awareness to the signs/symptoms and treatment options for a disease that has been shown to disproportionally impact black women. The Bronx Zetas are passionate about raising funds to contribute towards scholarships awarded by the Kappa Epsilon Zeta Scholarship Fund, to young women of color in the Bronx in their pursuit of higher education. We also have every intension of continuing to be one of the top fundraisers in our state for breast cancer research and March for Babies.
What made you want to pledge Zeta Phi Beta?
As undergraduate I began doing my research on the different Divine Nine sororities, I had the benefit of meeting a Zeta who had already graduated. I was so grateful she was taking the time to answer my questions about her Sorority, but it was much more than that. Her genuine concern about my scholastics and pathway to my career, one day made me realize that Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated enveloped me in sisterhood long before selecting me for membership! I knew in that instant, that there was no better fit for me.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
Kappa Epsilon Zeta, is the sweetest mix of anything you could want in a chapter! We are one of the largest chapters in NY, which affords us the luxury of more hands and resources to get the work done. We are refreshed by our members in their early 20’s and have reverence for our Dove, who is an inspiration at 98 years old! With women at every stage of their professional and Zeta careers, it is very common for a Soror to be both a mentor and a mentee to other members in the chapter. Leadership lives here! We have members volunteering on every level of our Sorority, and we continue to foster this pathway to service by delivering training on the local level, and sponsoring opportunities for members to experience it externally. Our chapter pushes the envelope on excellence, and it is contagious. Kappa Epsilon Zeta chapter is purposeful in exemplifying the ideals as dictated by our Five Pearls!
How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?
I meet each Soror where they are. The time and talent each member can give to the sisterhood will vary based on her personal obligations outside of the organization. I simply ask Sorors to give what they can and follow through on these commitments. I remain appreciative of these individual contributions, because collectively they lead to the success of the chapter. This approach allows our members to know their presence is appreciated, whether they are a general body member or on the executive board. I am also focused on our chapter running effectively from an organizational management perspective. It is important that the members can proudly state that Kappa Epsilon Zeta chapter is their home. However, this is not exclusive of us maximizing on the Sisterhood experience! We prioritize enjoying the time spent together outside of chapter meetings; so, you will always find us popping up at a black owned or woman owned business to fellowship, or collectively showing our support at events held by other service organizations. To me, the happiness of our members is equally as important as the impact we are making in our community.
What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?
As a leader of your alumni chapter, you serve at the will of the body. It is important to get a good grasp of where the members would like to see the chapter go, as you build your plan of action. Continue to be a student, by engaging in trainings. You also want to encourage your members to learn and take leadership positions as well. Be open to new and innovative ideas from your members. Flexibility will allow you to be able to pivot when there are sudden needs in your community. Leadership in your chapter is likely not going to be your only life endeavor, striking a balance between all your goals is key. It is also wise to proactively schedule personal time. Leadership is time consuming and at times stressful, but there are few things as rewarding as being the leader of a remarkable chapter!
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?
I am the complete product of mentorship. I was a very shy child and young adult. The interactions that I have had with many of the members of my organization have given way to the leader in me. Going back to being an undergraduate in search of sisterhood, a member by the name of Kathleen Elie spent the time to encourage me on my scholastic journey. She then advocated for me to become a member. I am grateful that she saw things in me, that I hadn’t yet seen in myself. She has not been alone in contributing to my success, Debbie Dimanche and Nilda Rivera are two women I have looked up to and been able to seek guidance from. Kafayat Dirisu who took the sisterhood journey with me, also helped me step it up a notch. To be honest, I could write an endless list of members that have made me a better sister and for that I am grateful.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard gives us a platform to show the public that it’s more than steps, strolls and crossing jackets. You put our service in underserved communities and scholastic achievements at the forefront.
Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated has made such a dramatic impact on who I am today. When I became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, I found an endless sea of sisters, friends, and advocates. I am a better woman for this time as a member. May it not go unsaid that I love the connection we have to the men of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated!
Lastly, what does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood, means being an advocate, friend, confidant and cheerleader, for someone when they need you, and even when they don’t. Sisterhood is amazing because it brings us together no matter your age, race, religion, education or walk of life. This relationship will likely be tested along its course, but true sisterhood perseveres.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Méta S. Morrison for her work as the Basileus of the Kappa Epsilon Zeta Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1980.
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