On Tuesday, USC students gathered in the Russell House Ballroom to attend Meet the Greeks, an event put on by the university’s National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), an organization comprised of nine historically African American and international Greek-lettered sororities and fraternities.
Members of the eight NPHC Greek organizations represented at USC took to the stage to share their groups’ history and goals through unique steps and strolls. These are traditions that Grace Badaki, third-year global supply chain and operations management and public relations student and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., says are integral to NPHC organizations.
“A stroll is just a combination of different dances, and so there’s key strolls that members of organizations have. So, for example, there's a few songs that every organization strolls to: ‘Knuck If you Buck,’ ‘No Hands,’ ‘Geeked Up,’” Badaki said.
In 1906, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. was founded as the first-ever African American intercollegiate Greek-lettered fraternity. In 1908, the first Greek-lettered sorority for women of color, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., followed. Now, these two organizations, and seven others, make up the “Divine Nine” historically African American and international Greek-lettered sororities and fraternities that live within the NPHC.
Adarius Simpkins, fourth-year political science student, said that he chose to attend Meet the Greeks for the first time to show support.
“Obviously, with the Divine Nine organizations, that’s such an integral part to black culture, and so I really wanted to come out and experience that for myself, to see black essence in its many forms through each one of the organizations,” Simpkins said.
NPHC co-president and fourth-year geography student Jawaun McClam recalled his first experience with Meet the Greeks.
“This was my first introduction to Greek life. I didn’t know anything about it. I just came in Russell House, and it was happening, and that’s how I got introduced to Greek life,” McClam said.
Now, McClam is a member of the Theta Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Additionally, McClam said that the Meet the Greeks event represented a space the NPHC could have all to itself.
“We don’t typically have a house or a location where we all meet up at, so seeing all eight organizations together, showcasing how we stroll, showcasing what we do on campus, in one spot for everybody to come meet, is really important," McClam said.
NPHC co-president and fourth-year public health student Amelia Wilks, who is also a member of the Theta Gamma Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., wanted to make people aware of NPHC’s success.
“I know a lot of people think that NPHC, we may not have the best numbers on paper, but we do have really great numbers, and I think that should be showcased, just as any other council,” Wilks said.
Like McClam, sixth-year broadcast journalism student Leland Williams said Meet the Greeks was also first introduction to Greek life.
“I actually come from a family who is not Greek at all. I’m actually the first Greek person in my family,” Williams said. “But my freshman year when I came in, I attended Meet the Greeks myself, and so just going around to the different tables meeting everyone, this is actually how I found my lifelong friends,” Williams said.
He also said he loved seeing the audience’s reactions to the different organizations’ steps and strolls because that's often what pushes people to join.
“Whenever that interest is generated, we’ve done our job,” Williams said.