Fraternity returns after long absence


Chynna Miller

The members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., perform during the 2014 Step show Nov. 8 in McAfee Gymnasium. Omega Psi Phi won their first step show after being off campus for nearly two decades.

Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor

Nearly 20 years have passed since Omega Psi Phi has been an active fraternity stomping and walking itself on to the yard of Eastern. This fall semester marked their return after an almost two decade absence.

Brandon Byers, the president of Omega Psi Phi, said the process to reactivate the organization took about a full year to complete.

He said he had to talk to administration, the minority affairs office and James B. Griffin, a TRIO adviser.

“He stood as an adviser and mentor when no one else would,” Byers said.

Byers said speaking to administration was his first step to reinstating the fraternity with bringing forth academic initiatives, service plans and their intake process.

He also needed to familiarize himself with those on student executive board of Eastern’s National Pan-Hellenic Council.

The council presides over the “Divine Nine” historically black Greek organizations, which Omega Psi Phi is a part of.

The Divine Nine include five fraternities and four sororities: Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, Omega Psi Phi fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta sorority, Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, Zeta Phi Beta sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho sorority and Iota Phi Theta fraternity.

Currently, Eastern has six of the nine Greek organizations active on campus.

Dean Harwood, the director of fraternity and sorority programs, said the last time Eastern’s chapter was active was early ‘95, but he is unsure of why it went inactive in the first place.

Harwood said the fraternities and sororities the campus works with must be a part of one of the national organizations and meet specific requirements regarding non-hazing policies, insurance, and support from the organization.

The organization must also meet the requirements required of a registered student organization, which means a minimum of 10 members and a faculty/staff adviser, Harwood said.

They had seven members at the time of reactivating, but they now have 10, Byers said.

“It was my duty to make sure we became active,” Byers said.

Byers said he was unsure why the organization was inactive for so long, but the hardest part about reactivating was changing the perception of the chapter.

“There are a lot of negative stereotypes with being in Omega, at the end of the day it’s (still) a college organization,” said Jarrett Moore, a junior engineering major.

Moore said their organization is a service fraternity with GPA being a high priority for aspiring members. The minimum is 2.5, but they would like their prospective members to have a higher number as well as being down-to-earth.

“We’re not looking for the most popular guy on campus; we’re looking for hardworking and intelligence,” Byers said.

Byers said the older two members were on campus at one point, but because they were close to graduating they probably had no desire to restart the chapter.

“When you’re younger you’re more enthusiastic and have more energy to do things,” Byers said.

One of the unique aspects of those in Omega is they do not advertise their informational meetings.

“We don’t go looking for members, you have to come seek Omega for yourself,” Byers said.

Byers said in the future he would like if his organization would win chapter of the year, as well as establishing a foundation for the fraternity where future members can know what to expect and what to do each semester.

Byers said winning first place in this year’s NPHC Step Show was a very rewarding experience because the members are finally seeing the results of their hard work.

Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]