For the first time in its history, EMU has students that have been inducted into a Greek-letter fraternity: the Rho Kappa Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi. Three students — Senior Azariah Cox, Junior Kennedy Okereke, and Sophomore Clinton Ugboaja — performed a membership show last Tuesday evening at Thomas Plaza. While the actual membership induction had occurred two weeks before, the show performed by Cox, Okereke, and Ugboaja was a chance to showcase their membership.
The addition of fraternity membership for EMU students was largely rooted in a desire to provide a “networking channel” for African Americans at EMU, according to Co-Director of Multicultural Services Celeste Thomas. While the Rho Kappa Chapter is based out of the Virginia University of Lynchburg, the opening of membership to students is meant to bring support and networking opportunities to EMU.
“When we were envisioning a Greek letter organization being on campus, it was an issue of equity for students of color because at this point there is no formal or official or consistent connection between African-American alumni and students,” said Thomas. “In this Mennonite environment, those connections are built in for Mennonite students, and there was no equitable alternative for African American students.”
Kappa Alpha Psi is a fraternity that holds a predominantly African-American membership and is one of few fraternities that has never restricted membership based on color or national origin.
“It was refreshing to see such a key part of black college culture expressed so openly on our campus,” said First-year Ariel Barbosa. “Also, such a wide variety of ethnicities came to watch, feel, and try to understand. It was something that was familiar to some, but something very new to many.”