The Daily Gamecock

Step promotes minority involvement in homecoming events

Members of USC’s Divine Nine performed in an infectious, high-energy competition on Thursday night at Colonial Life Arena. The annual homecoming step show featured nine USC sororities and fraternities as they battled for the win.

“The Divine Nine” is a nickname for the National Panhellenic Council, “the collection of all nine historically black Fraternities and Sororities,” Kappa Iota member Troy Gross said. The event was organized by the NPHC and the Homecoming Commission.

The competition was kicked off by the winners of Spurs and Struts, Kappa Delta and Kappa Sigma, who remained patient through music difficulties in the beginning.

Step is an integral part of the fraternity and sorority lives of this cluster of Greek life, being passed down as a tradition and expressing unity and brotherhood and sisterhood for every member of the organizations.

“It is one [of the] biggest ways of making bonds and memories with your brothers and sisters,” Gross said.

The tradition of step goes well beyond just USC’s homecoming events, having historically discriminatory ties that, today, illuminate the benefits of inclusion and acceptance.

“Stepping is one of the largest forms of cultural tradition we reclaimed as an African American brotherhood/sisterhood that was taken from us through the centuries of the African slave trade,” Gross said. 

This niche art form has created a medium for a minority at USC to come together, compete in friendly competition and ultimately grow as individuals and groups. The competition creates diversity in homecoming representation, ensuring everyone can get involved during the week.

“It has the potential to display a whole cultural [minority] that sometimes goes completely unnoticed here at the university,” Phi Beta Sigma leader Harold Summers said. “I would love to see other cultures come and learn and support."

This event promoted an environment of inclusion and acceptance, with various races present on stage and in the audience. 

“The step show is an event that every student can enjoy going to,” Gross said. It is a "homecoming event that we love doing and every student enjoys going to see.”

A night filled with enthusiastic responses from the audience kept the energy going until the last performance. In the end, Alpha Phi Alpha and Iota Chi won the awards for best fraternity and sorority, respectively.