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 women of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.’s Omega Chapter at Winston-Salem State University and did an interview with Zakiyah Henry the president of the chapter.
The position of president of an undergraduate chapter of a Black sorority is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. 22-year-old Zakiyah Henry has used the position to gain new leadership experience, improve the lives of other students on campus and help the community around her.
We interviewed the Biology major and talked about her position, goals, future and what it means to hold a leadership position on campus in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What does it mean to be a chapter president to you?
To me, being a chapter president, means being a leader, role model, and spokesperson for the chapter. Also, being a chapter president, to me, means dedication, diligence, and service to your organization.
What made you decide to attend Winston-Salem State University for undergrad?
I decided to attend Winston-Salem State University because of the family environment. Anyone that attends or has attended our university is apart of what we call the “Ramily” as we are the Rams. I felt that I would be more than a number. I would make more personal relationships that lasted with faculty, staff, and students than any other place I applied.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
This year, our chapter is heading up more Elder Care initiatives as well as more scholarship and study hall initiatives. Regarding Elder Care, it is important that we tend to the needs of Elders of our surrounding community as they are often neglected. When we get to that stage of life, we want someone to care for us and visit us as well, hence the importance of this initiative. Regarding our scholarship and study hall initiatives, this is very important in improving our campus community. We found that a lot more students are struggling academically than previously assumed. With scholarship being one of our founding principles as well as a founding principle for majority of other fraternities and sororities, we have created a plan to build upon this to assist those struggling academically so that they may be successful!
What made you want to pledge Zeta?
I decided to pledge Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. really because of the history of the organization and the principle of Finer Womanhood. Zeta Phi Beta was the first sorority to create auxiliary groups to mentor young girls and to provide an alternative for women that did not complete a college degree but hold the same ideals as that of a Zeta woman. These women are known as our “friends”. I felt that this was so awesome how inclusive Zeta is and how our founders and older sorors thought outside the box to meet the needs of all groups of people, including men. Also, this ideal of Finer Womanhood is what makes Zeta stand out from all other sororities. Finer Womanhood means a higher standard and everything that you do should be at higher level; whether it’s how you walk, talk, carry yourself, or even treat others. Finer Womanhood is the epitome of GROWTH and this is why I chose my beloved sorority!
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
Omega Chapter is among one of the oldest undergraduate chapters in the history of the sorority. Our network is vast yet very connected. Also, Omega Chapter is unique because it is located on the University campus that one our sorority founders, Pearl Anna Neal, worked and taught; thus, we have that connection!
We now live in a digital world, what do you think undergraduate chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2018?
Focus on providing a positive spotlight and stray away from anything that may bring them negative attention. Also, be very active in posting flyers, event information, and general information. This will help to support a positive spotlight on that chapter.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means being a team player and being able to listen as well as lead. Leadership is not dictatorship but purely guidance and setting an example.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch the Yard is important, because it provides real-time news and information on the achievements, successes, and POSITIVE activities of Black greekdom.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood means building bonds that last a lifetime, that can never be broken. Also sisterhood means having a cohort of like minded individuals that will always support you and be there for you. Also, for you to be there for them.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
Going to graduate school to obtain my PhD in either toxicology or molecular biology.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Zakiyah Henry for her work as the president of Omega Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1948.
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