JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – East Tennessee State University unveiled a brand new addition today, and it’s all to inspire unity on campus.
The National Pan-Hellenic Council Plaza now sits near Governors and Centennial Residence Halls.
It was officially unveiled Saturday morning, in honor of the historically African American sororities and fraternities that make up the NPHC. Seven of those organizations have chapters at ETSU.
Current members and alumni were present at the dedication Saturday morning to represent their organization and celebrate the new addition.
“This plaza will give us a recognition of who our organizations are and what we are able to do in our community and how we are able to give back and impact those around us,” ETSU Council President of NPHC Malinkesi Russell said Saturday.
This plaza has been in the works for years, and it is an addition ETSU leaders and students agree is a message of inclusion and a place of gathering for all kinds of campus events.
“It’s a message that welcomes alumni home to our university, it’s a message that diversity is critically important to this institution, and it’s a message that we as a university are here for all of our students,” ETSU President Bian Noland said Saturday.
According to an ETSU press release, the new plaza is an affinity space for community and student programming and new member presentations from NPHC organizations. It also provides education about the historical significance of the NPHC.
Beginning with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. in 1906, these fraternal organizations were established and incorporated through the 1960s – a period in U.S. history when African Americans were often denied access or experienced isolation on college and university campuses, the release read.
The NPHC was established in 1930 to “promote unanimity of thought and action” among these groups as they became increasingly important to the social integration, academic success and professional development of collegiate and graduate members. Brotherhood/sisterhood and civic service are hallmarks that set these philanthropic organizations apart and prepare group members to thrive.
According to the release, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Theta Zeta chapter, became the first NPHC organization on ETSU’s campus in 1971. Since then, ETSU has become home to seven of the nine organizations, with five currently active chapters including Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
“The NPHC members have had a profound impact on me and my experience at ETSU,” said Alexia Stewart, a graduate student and member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority said in the release. “The NPHC Plaza will be a place where students can learn about these organizations and be inspired to join and a place where members can come back to after graduation to reflect and celebrate.”
More information about the National Pan-Hellenic Council Plaza is available here.