North Dakota State will soon be receiving a new Historically Black addition.
Jered Pigeon, the program coordinator for multicultural programs at NDSU, is in charge of the project and anticipates that the Historically Black Fraternity (HBF), Omega Psi Phi, will be the first HBF at NDSU in the fall of 2018.
Having an HBF at NDSU is significant for many reasons, but it primarily gives African-American students a place to build a community like the one they might remember from back home, something that might otherwise not be accessible at NDSU.
“What this does is helps build this bond of brotherhood and it helps those (African-American) students,” Pigeon said.
Just because Omega Psi Phi is an HBF doesn’t mean it’s exclusively meant for African-American students, although that is the target audience. Omega Psi Phi is a fraternity that was originally founded because African-American students weren’t allowed to join other preexisting fraternities at the time, but anybody is welcome to join.
The fraternity will be a part of Greek Life, which means much of the numbers and membership information are kept secret until its official arrival on campus in the fall of 2018, but according to Pigeon, “It’s going great.”
The fraternity hopes to not only connect African-American students with each other and create that bond of brotherhood, but also to develop leadership skills, give back to the community and increase retention and graduation rate of students of color at NDSU.
The African-American student population is the largest multicultural group on campus, making up a little less than half of the total number of multicultural students.
“This is an effort that will directly increase retention and graduation numbers,” Pigeon said, continuing to say that an HBF will give students of color a community they can opt to be a part of.
The students of the Black Student Association on campus have been working hard to see this become a reality and are excited and interested. “They’re really motivated on this cause of being bigger than themselves, this legacy putting forth this and really making a difference, developing this manhood and becoming a change agent in the community,” Pigeon said.
“Our BSA has been revitalized this year … and membership is busting at the seams; meetings are 40-50 people, very productive, breaking out small groups and tackling community issues,” Pigeon said. “They’re building those bonds.”
In terms of what’s next, stay tuned for a Historically Black sorority, as some female African-American students are beginning to work hard to make that a reality.