Founded in 1930, the National Pan-Hellenic Council is a collective organization composed of historically Black fraternities and sororities. At BGSU, there are currently five active chapters — Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and Zeta Beta Sorority — creating opportunities and accountability, honing leadership skills and giving an environment of inclusivity.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity member Seth Crosby spoke about his experience.
“Being a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. has greatly impacted my time here at this university. Not only have I been connected to a well-rounded group of like-minded individuals who serve as student leaders, but I have also been presented with countless opportunities for self-improvement through event planning, public speaking, and access to very knowledgeable mentors,” Crosby said.
As BGSU is a primarily white institution, the significance of Black fraternities and sororities weighs heavy on their members.
“These organizations serve as beacons and allow Black students to connect to and lean on if they need support or just wish to further their networks of business minded leaders. NPHC (National Pan Hellenic Council) organizations serve as role models, activists, philanthropists, and friends to the community of Bowling Green and specifically the Black and multicultural community,” Crosby said.
Courtney Taylor, coordinator of Fraternity and Sorority Life, discussed the significance of having multicultural fraternities and sororities on campus.
“Having historically Black fraternities and sororities on campus adds to the cultural diversity of our community, provides different perspectives and viewpoints, and creates a more well-rounded community of student organizations and affiliated students,” Taylor said.
The NPHC was established in an era where Black fraternities and sororities were banned from Greek lettered organizations and affiliation with Greek life. Black community members also found it impossible to gain ownership during this time. Students part of the NPHC are not simply in organizations but businesses as well.
“To obtain the status of incorporation was and still is a symbol of great pride to the members as it is such an achievement to get to such a prestigious and well-respected status. NPHC organizations, as well as other cultural and identity-based fraternal organizations on campus, choose to leave it on as a symbol of pride and accomplishment of how far they’ve come” Taylor said.
The essence of these organizations is the impact it gives each student.
“In every place we go, we have a need to feel included, valued, and like we belong. Having historically Black fraternities and sororities on campus provides our Black students, African-American students, and students of color a place where they can find community, similarities, and their own personal belonging,” Taylor said.