In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the sorors of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.’s Alpha Alpha Kappa Zeta Chapter in Newnan/Coweta County, GA and did an interview with Milrinette Nelson 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. Nelson, who is a RN/Nursing Supervisor, has served in the position of Basileus for four years.
We interviewed Nelson, who is a 2011 initiate of her sorority, 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 does it mean to be a chapter president to you?
The “Amazing” Alpha Alpha Kappa Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. was chartered in 2014; I am a charter member and second Basileus of this illustrious chapter. It is an honor to serve as Basileus and represent my chapter within the community that we proudly serve. Being a Basileus has also given me the opportunity to bond with other chapter Basilei in a unique Sisterly way and form a networking link between the Zeta chapters in the Metro-Atlanta area and throughout the state of Georgia.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the surrounding community?
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., has several national initiatives that the chapter participates in, this sorority year we are concentrating on Autism Awareness and Elder Care; and with the upcoming 2020 elections, we are holding voter registration drives. Autism affects about 1 percent of the world’s populations. In the United States, approximately 1 in 59 births results in the child having an autism spectrum disorder. Alpha Alpha Kappa Zeta Chapter will be working with our education partners to support their needs in Autism within the classroom and participating in Autism walks/runs to raise funds. The aging population is growing with projections that older Americans are expected to outnumber children by 2030. Zeta’s Elder Initiative strives to provide education and awareness about preparing for senior years. This includes elder abuse awareness, supporting the caregiver and volunteering at senior care facilities. The chapter will be volunteering at our community senior care facility and working with administration to provide support to the families/caregivers. Voting is extremely important to the community, holds elected officials accountable and allows people to voice their opinion. Alpha Alpha Kappa Zeta Chapter will hold voter registration drives throughout the Newnan/Coweta County community to register voters for the upcoming election 2020 so that their voices can be heard.
What made you want to pledge Zeta Phi Beta?
I am a Legacy Member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., but this is not the only reason that I wanted to pledge Zeta. I wanted to pledge because of the consistency of seeing Zetas in service and when you did see a Zeta, she was always pleasant and welcoming. I also liked the fact that there was a true constitutional bond with the brothers of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
Alpha Alpha Kappa Zeta participates in a wide range of community service projects and partnerships. The chapter serves the community through civic community service by attending board of education and commission meetings. We volunteer for the food pantry before chapter meeting and service the local men’s shelter regularly. We also partner with other organizations to hold community service projects; we recently held a health fair & blood drive with the gentlemen of Omega Psi Phi. Alpha Alpha Kappa Zeta Chapter’s membership is also diversely unique across professions ranging from educators, social workers, nurses, healthcare workers to military servivery.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think alumni chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2019?
Online media presentation is extremely important to organizations. Chapters must present themselves on all media outlets to gain exposure for the chapter, assist with reclamation, advertise events and branding. Chapters should ensure that all material has a positive presentation, is in line with their national marketing branding campaigns and is updated regularly.
What does leadership mean to you?
“Without a vision the people will perish”. Leadership is transforming a vision; coaching, inspiring and motivating chapter members to engage and deliver the vision to reality. Leadership also includes communication, patience, flexibility and empathy.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch the yard has opened the exposure of Black Greekdom to PWI’s, non-Greeks and all D9 Pan-Hellenic organizations. The history, current events and culture that is shared via Watch The Yard internationally is invaluable. If our history is not documented, it can’t be shared throughout future generations and they will not know how the foundation of our organizations were established.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood is more than a sisterly relationship, but a link to other Sorors that empowers, understands, supports and inspires each other. Like any relationship, you must work to maintain the “Sisterhood” by going on Sisterly Outings, team building and doing activities together outside of Zeta. Alpha Alpha Kappa Zeta chapter goes out to lunch after chapter meetings and holds other Sisterly Outings throughout the Sorority year. I also attend dinner with other Basilei once a month. As Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. celebrates our Centennial in January 2020, Sisterhood holds an extra special meaning to the Sorors, as we celebrate being sisters for 100 years.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Milrinette Nelson for her work as the Basileus of the Alpha Alpha Kappa Zeta Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 2014.