On Wednesday, Aug. 26, USC’s Russell House Ballroom held a socially distanced dance event to showcase, the eight fraternities and sororities within the university’s National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC).
The nine chapters within the NPHC, also known as the Divine Nine, are historically African American Greek-letter sororities and fraternities. The members of the Divine Nine on campus are Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta, Phi Beta Sigma, Zeta Phi Beta and Sigma Gamma Rho.
The event stood to showcase and exhibit each chapter for aspiring new members and other Divine Nine groups to see.
Christina Matthews, the president of Zeta Phi Beta and a fourth-year computer science student, said it was important to get this information out to new members.
"For me, personally, I love to showcase my sorority, both the performance, the service that we do, our scholarship purposes, our founders, what we stand on. It's very important to go ahead and introduce that life to young members, just in case they do want to join a Greek sorority or fraternity later on in their life," Matthews said.
Despite a lower turnout due to restrictions on how many people could be in the ballroom, Matthews and NPHC President Joseph Boyd said the event wasn't just about recruitment.
"In terms of recruitment, it's — you know, we're not just recruiting based off of strolling," Boyd, a fourth-year dance education student said. "It's just kind of a fun thing that you get to do."
Groups were limited to six people during the performance, five performers and one guest. Groups had to stay in predetermined lanes when walking up, and any seats not filled were left open to non-members. Seats were spaced out on the floor.
During their presentations, USC’s eight NPHC chapters showed their signature steps and strolls in front of a socially-distanced crowd of their peers, including incoming freshman potentials.
"Strolling is a big part of the national family council. It has roots in African movements, African dance; so, it's really about the culture, and it's more deeply embedded into African culture," Boyd said. "For someone who may not even be interested in a NPHC organization, I think that it draws on the performance aspect and knowing that these organizations are big parts of the Black community."
Christopher Dixon is a graduate and member of Alpha Pi Alpha. He said he kept in contact with the NPHC once he graduated, DJing for most of its events.
"We get to see everybody come together and showcase them stepping, showcase how great their organizations are, the history — our history is so rich, and a lot of the people that's just now coming into the school don't know. So, we try to give them the info while we're here," Dixon said.