Black fraternities, sororities go ‘Beyond Stepping’

By Andrea Waitrovich

Cal Poly’s National Pan-Hellenic Council educated students about
how black Greek fraternities and sororities are more complex than
the way the media portrays them in a discussion entitled “Beyond
Stepping” Thursday

“The event is to tell people more about NPHC. People only think
of ‘stepping’ with us,” said Kimberly Johns, the event coordinator
and Sigma Gamma Rho member. “Tonight we are going to show the
community service and national programs what we do.”

Stepping, a dance that utilizes the entire body as an instrument
to produce rhythms and sounds through footsteps, handclaps and
words, is a stereotypical image often associated with black
fraternities and sororities.

“The media need to stress more on the fact that ‘stepping’ is
just a small aspect of the Greek life, and [Greeks] are working on
a bigger and greater cause,” said Ramiah Akridge, a third-year
sociology student.

Johns chose the film “Stomp the Yard” as an example of stepping
used as an image for black Greek organizations. Johns said William
Packer, the movie’s producer and a member of NPHC, believes he
properly represented the black fraternities and sororities in the
movie.

Jerome Daughtrey, a second-year business marketing student in
Alpha Phi Fraternity, Inc., said “Stomp the Yard” does not promote
unification and shows the wrong reasons for joining a Greek
organization.

Tory Johnson, Cal Poly Pomona’s track and field coach, said he
was the only member of his fraternity present but did not feel
alone because of how welcoming the other fraternities’ members
were.

Active and alumni members of the fraternities and sororities
agree that the different organizations have similar purposes at
heart.

“When I pledged, it is for life. No matter where you go, we will
always be there for each other,” said Teshia Roby, an assistant
professor in the College of Education and Integrative Studies and
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., member. “To this day, I am still
friends with my best friend in high school. We both went to
separate sororities and experienced different things.”

The NPHC is composed of nine international black Greek letter
fraternities and sororities – the Divine Nine. Four have Cal Poly
chapters.

“They are highly active on campus and in the community, and
their contributions need to have recognition,” said Jenni Adams,
Greek Life coordinator. “This event informs the students about the
stereotypes and the true aspects about the fraternities and
sororities.”

NPHC’s purpose and mission is “community awareness and action
through educational, economic, and cultural service activities,”
according to its Web site.

“We are a multimillion [dollar] business, and we are about the
business,” said Roby. “We are world-wide helping and aiding
countries and businesses. We build schools and awareness.

“We are not a social group that has tea parties every weekend.
We are a business working and expanding our knowledge and
organization.”

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