Temple University Alphas named “Chapter of the year”
Whether they’re planning programs, doing community service events or spending all night at the TECH Center, the brothers of the Pi Rho chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. strive to set an example of leadership and determination for their chapter. That hard work recently paid off when the brothers won the Eastern Region competition.
The region consists of more than 148 active chapters up for winning top recognition on work done in their chapters throughout the year. On March 21, Temple’s Pi Rho chapter won the competition for the first time in chapter history.
Rodney Terrell Frank, the chairman of the awards and achievements committee, said judges look for five crucial things. The criteria for winning consist of academics and overall GPA, campus and community involvement, leadership, participation in national programs and the presentation of chapter platforms.
“There was a culmination of passion and hard work, so when they made that announcement, we just jumped up because it was such a great moment,” Chapter Adviser Brent K. Wilson, a Temple alumnus, said. “I’ve been involved with this chapter for 20 years, so I really thank these guys for that moment.”
Frank added that the Pi Rho chapter at Temple stood out because they were so passionate. Frank has overseen the whole Eastern Region competition for the last five years and said he was impressed with the chapter’s ability to balance schoolwork and good programs.
“I just kept thinking, ‘Wow, these guys are really doing a lot,’” he said. “I could tell the judges were really taken aback by this chapter.”
“Once they announced it, there was nothing that was going to stop me from running down the aisle. It was like we won the Super Bowl,” Chapter Treasurer Ugochukwu Obilo, a sophomore accounting major, said. “It felt like everything fell into place at that moment.”
Chapter President Kristian Sawyers, a senior information and systems technology major, said winning was one of the greatest feelings in his life.
“While reflecting on all of the work it took us to get there, winning brought a lot of us to tears, to be honest,” he said.
Jenner Cole, a senior engineering major and member of the Pi Rho chapter, said he felt it was the heart and love for this fraternity that brought him and his brothers so much success. One of Cole’s brothers, Sergeant-At-Arms Sulaiman Kargbo, a senior, said he felt that they were well deserving of this award.
“I knew it was ours. Not to sound too confident, but we put in countless hours of work with many nights of no sleep,” Kargbo said. “It wasn’t a shock.”
Sawyers added that the members of the Pi Rho chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha have the highest average GPA among the fraternities of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, a collaborative organization of all nine historic African-American Greek lettered fraternities and sororities. They also boast the most campus and community involvement with the most leadership positions on campus. In the last year, this chapter has had about 19 programs on campus and 22 community service events.
Van Strother II, a senior criminal justice major and director of education for the chapter, said he felt that their involvement in the Philadelphia community, such as tutoring children and working with many community service events like the Women’s Christian Alliance, helps set an example for other on-campus organizations.
The Pi Rho chapter has won every competition in its district this year. Kargbo won the Oratorical Contest and a scholarship contest, and the chapter achieved Chapter of the Year for the Philadelphia Association of Alpha Chapters.
Chapter Vice President Damon Williams, a junior communications major, recently ran and won for the Temple Student Government Vice President of External Affairs with his ticket, BreakThruTU.
“My fraternity brothers helped me to learn to lead by example,” Williams said. “I know no matter what I do, they’ll never judge me, and I believe that’s what family is really about when it comes down to it.”
Outside fraternity business, the brothers like to relax and hang out with each other like a family, whether they’re playing video games or partying together.
“We really have made our brotherhood into a reality,” Williams added.
The Pi Rho chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha will continue and compete at the National Competition July 21-25 in Phoenix, Ariz.