Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity continues its mission to educate others

Alpha week starts Sept. 29

John Kurecki, Staff Writer

Starting Sept. 29, UIS’s chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity will host a week of exciting and educational events. The group hopes to involve students and provide a fun atmosphere while also teaching useful lessons.

The events include “Success it up,” which is designed to teach vital career skills to participants, and “So you think you can flow?” – an open-mic night designed to get the shy students out of their shells.

According to Chapter President Benjamin Web, if students want to be outgoing, “this is the opportunity where they can do so.” Web also expressed interest in partnering with the Career Center for additional help and learning resources regarding career lessons, such as interviewing tips and resume-building classes.

Web described Alpha Phi Alpha as a service fraternity that stresses academic excellence. According to the organization’s website, “Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. develops leaders [and] promotes brotherhood and academic excellence, while providing service and advocacy for our communities.”

Since its founding in 1906, the fraternity has “supplied voice and vision to the struggle of African Americans and people of color around the world.”

The UIS website adds, “[Alpha Phi Alpha] addresses social issues such as apartheid, AIDS, urban housing, and other economic, cultural, and political issues of interest to people of color.”

The campus chapter takes these goals seriously; the semester after their chartering in 2013, the chapter was lauded for achieving a 4.0 grade point average for the semester in the fraternity’s regional report.

When the campus chapter Upsilon Xi was chartered, it became the first Greek-lettered organization in UIS’s history, according to an Alpha Phi Alpha report. The UIS website now lists it among three fraternities on campus, along with Phi Kappa Tau and Phi Beta Sigma.

The chapter has participated in several national programs, such as conducting college prep workshops at local high schools and reaching out to the Sangamon County Juvenile Detention Center. The group also adopted a highway, according to Web. “The Alphas in Springfield adopted a highway and every so often we go and clean that highway.”

Web is the new president of the chapter, and he says he has learned a lot during his time. He feels one of his biggest improvements is in time management, expressing the importance of “learning how to manage my schedule so that I can stay focused in school as well as fulfill my duties as a chapter president.”

Web also says he has gotten humility and perspective out of his experience. “We wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for the progress of someone else before us.”