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 Pi Zeta Chapter in San Antonio, TX and did an interview with Tracy DeBose 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. DeBose, who is an Information Technology Manager, is a newly elected Basileus.
We interviewed DeBose, who is a Fall 1990 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?
For me, being chapter president is insuring the chapter is upholding the principles on which we were founded, which are Scholarship, Service, Sisterhood and Finer Womanhood. To achieve this a chapter president has to be a motivator, protector, project manager, delegator, corrector, a listener, advisor, director, supervisor and decision maker. It’s definitely not an easy job. However, being able to play all these roles allows me to lead the chapter into Zeta’s Centennial year and beyond. Plus, it gives me great pride in seeing the service Alpha Pi Zeta performs for the San Antonio community.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the surrounding community?
Alpha Pi Zeta Chapter has been in San Antonio for 80 years and the chapter has many signature initiatives we do every year. Such as, operating our two Stork’s Nests (a program that provides education about prenatal care to expectant mothers), holding our annual track meet during San Antonio’s Fiesta for children ages 4 – 12, raising money for and participating in the March of Dimes – March for Babies, and awarding scholarships to local high school students as well as students attending St. Philip’s Community College. Our goal is to continue these programs, while bringing some new focus to the matter of mental health. Alpha Pi Zeta has teamed up with Clarity Child Guidance Center, a non-profit mental health treatment center specializing in children ages 3-17, to help provide funding needed to keep the facility open and help them continue to treat all children regardless of their families’ ability to pay.
What made you want to pledge Zeta Phi Beta?
I was looking for sisterhood and friendship.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
San Antonio is a military town, so many of the members of our chapter are either retired military, active military or have military connections. Therefore, our chapter has a very diverse membership with women representing many different cultures, cities, countries and walks of life.
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?
As an IT manager, I strongly encourage chapters to embrace social media. Every chapter should have a functioning website and presence on at least one social media site. They should showcase their community service, social events, achievements and milestones. Often times, we share our accomplishments amongst ourselves. It is time for Alumni chapters to use social media to tell the chapter’s story, its mission, and to show the value of Greek life after college.
What does leadership mean to you?
To me, leadership is one’s ability to inspire and motivate others to work for the common good and success of the organization.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch the Yard is important to Black greekdom because it shows positive images of Greek life and celebrates Greek Unity. There are so many negative images and negative beliefs of Greek life out there that it is refreshing to have a platform where the beauty, the history, and the value of Black greekdom is showcased. Showing the positive is essential and necessary if Black greekdom wants to continue the legacy of each of the respective organizations.
What does brotherhood/sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood is a support system. Sisterhood celebrates your successes, consoles you when you are hurt, and tells you the truth when you need to hear it. Sisterhood will fight for you and holds you up when you’re down. I strongly believe that every great leader became a great leader because there was at least one brother or sister standing in the background saying “I Got You”.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
We currently sponsor three undergraduate chapters – Delta (city-wide chapters), Omicron Xi (Texas State University) and Upsilon Upsilon (University of Texas at San Antonio). First and foremost, we offer the undergraduates financial support – making sure they are able to attend state workshops, regional conferences, and our Boule. We even go as far as providing transportation to these event to make sure everyone reaches the destination and returns home safely. We offer them mentorship; insuring they learn and grow within the sorority. Additionally, we help promote and attend their events and recognize the chapter and individual achievements. On a more personal level, we have provided something as simple as a home cooked meal. We are here to give advice; or to be a sounding board or a shoulder for them to lean on when they are going through difficulties.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Tracy DeBose for her work as the Basileus of the Alpha Pi Zeta Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1939.
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