Our Cause Fall 2015

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Triumph Over Tragedy: Getting to know the resilient

Bro.William J. “TIP” Thomas

The College Admissions Process: Straight No Chaser Will Your Campus Survive The Changing Campus Culture?

FALL 2015

We Remember Bro. Terrance Barker A native of Jersey City, NJ, Bro. Terrance Barker became a member through the Xi Tau Chapter at Jersey City State College in the Spring of 1994. He served as Chapter President of his undergraduate chapter and later served the Eastern Region as Associate Regional Director from 1999-2000. Social Action and community service were always very important to Bro. Barker. The desire to serve his home town of Jersey City, NJ was the driving force behind his efforts to reactivate the Eta Phi Sigma Chapter in Jersey City. He would serve as the reactivated Chapter’s first President. The Chapter was a vehicle by which he could continue to reach back and support Jersey City and the Hudson County area. 9/30/74 - 1/8/2015 He also spearheaded the chartering of a chapter of the National PanHellenic Council (NPHC) in Hudson County, NJ. He believed it was important for all NPHC member organizations to work together to serve the communities of Hudson County. The Fraternity was not the only medium Bro. Barker used to serve the community. In 2010 Bro. Barker founded the Urban Networking Group to promote, encourage and stimulate professional, career and personal development. In 2011 he founded Social Action NOW, a non-profit organization created to combat the social ills affecting at-risk-youth and black men. And in 2012 he began coaching the Franklin Heat youth basketball team. Recognizing the need for these young boys to have positive male role models, this was a way for him to combine his love for kids and basketball while also making a positive impact. To honor Bro. Barker and the positive impact he had on the kids the Franklin Youth Basketball Association held the Terrance Barker Coaches Classic on February 25, 2015. The event consisted of a basketball game between the coaches and the kids to raise funds for the Terrance Barker Scholarship Fund. Bro. Barker touched many lives through his service and commitment to the community. He will be remembered for his tireless and unselfish service.

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Contents 2015 EASTERN REGIONAL BOARD Hon. Leonard Lockhart - Regional Director Devon Henry - Vice Regional Director Edwin Motton - Associate Regional Director Brad Leak - Treasurer Chris Wilson - Secretary J.R. Reeves - Director of Social Action Dr. Gerald Roberts Weatherspoon - Director of Education Dumisani Solwazi - Director of BBB Milton Savage - Legal Counsel Occasio Gee - Director of Publicity Hon. Darryl T. Williams - Immediate Past ERD

OUR CAUSE STAFF Todd D. Le Bon - Editor-In-Chief

5 My Son and Now My Brother By Bro. Brandon Brown

6 On The Road With Brother William J. “Tip” Thomas  By Bro. Kevin Christian

Craig Arthur

9 Sigmas Making Moves

Brandon Brown

12 The College Admissions Process:

Kevin Christian Willard Hutt

Straight No Chaser  By Bro. Kevin M. Holmes

16 Will Your Campus Survive The Changing

J. Artel Smith

Campus Culture?  By Bro. Brandon Brown and Bro. Todd Le Bon LAYOUT & DESIGN Bro. Ron Lewis Lewis Design Group www.ldgcreative.com

OUR CAUSE MAGAZINE is published by the Publicity Committee of the Eastern Region of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Any use of the stories, pictures or articles without the expressed or implied consent of the Publicity Committee and the Eastern Region of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. is strictly prohibited. © 2015

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Gr e e t i n g s, Brothers of the Eastern Region, I extend greetings on behalf of the Eastern Regional Board. Please join us as we extend congratulations to all of our Distinguished Service Chapter members and Alain L. Locke Chapter members selected at the 2015 Conclave in Little Rock, AR. These men represent some of the best Sigma has to offer. In 2014 the men of Sigma gathered in Washington, DC for the Centennial Celebration. It was great to witness a gathering of brothers from around the world celebrating our rich legacy and making a commitment to continue building on the vision of our Founders. One of the highlights of the celebration was the gathering at Howard University to unveil the Memorial Monument. It is an event that those in attendance will not soon forget. The Monument is a fitting tribute to those that made the sacrifices to deliver us to this point in our history. As we move forward in this new century of Sigma, let us not forget that there is still work to be done. Sigma will continue to be there to answer the call of the communities we serve. In this issue we introduce you to Bro. William “Tip” Thomas. His compelling story of perseverance will inspire you. The Sigmas on the Move section will introduce you to brothers making an impact in their careers and in the community. Bro. Kevin Holmes shares information on navigating the college admission process. We encourage you to share this information with your family and our Sigma Beta Clubs. The 2016 Eastern Regional Conference Committee is working hard preparing for your arrival in Boston. They share an update with us and a brief look at what to expect in the coming months. And finally, we begin a series discussing some of the important changes which have been implemented on campuses across the nation over the last several years. This series is designed to assist the Fraternity as we prepare our chapters for future success on campus. As we prepare to gather in Boston for the Eastern Regional Conference the region is strong and ready to handle the business of Sigma. We thank you for your continued support and service to your communities. We look forward to seeing you in Boston. Leonard O. Lockhart 25th Eastern Regional Director Brothers of the Eastern Region, I extend greetings on behalf of the OUR CAUSE Team. This year I have been fortunate to celebrate thirty years as a member of this wondrous band. Over the years I have had the opportunity to establish some lasting friendships and enjoy some unique experiences. Back in 1985, as I went through the pledge process, I would never have thought I would be in the place I am today in Sigma. Serving on the Eastern Regional Board, being involved in the production of the OUR CAUSE, and now The Crescent, was not part of the plan. However, part of being a member of the fold is stepping in when and where you can make a difference and contribute to future success. I have been fortunate to work with a great team to ensure the membership receives publications they deserve, and we are always working to improve on that task. It continues to be an honor and pleasure to serve the region in this capacity. Thank you for your continued support. Todd D. Le Bon Editor-in-Chief 4 | FALL 2015 O U R C A U S E M A G A Z I N E


ne can only imagine the plethora of feelings, emotions and memories that overcome a father watching his son about to make a pledge to Sigma. I mean...what is going through his mind as he witnesses his son participate in the initiation ritual or grip him for the first time. Recently two men of Sigma, Bros. Kenneth Gatson (Epsilon, Spring 1990) and Charles Webster (Xi Omicron, Spring 1983) watched their sons Bros. Khaliq Gatson (Kappa Eta) and Kyle Webster (Alpha Chi Alpha) become men of Sigma in the Spring of 2015. They both took a moment to share a few thoughts with us about that special moment.

My Son and Now My Brother Bro. Charles Webster My thoughts on my Sun, I spell it that way when referring to all my boys, because I tell them “they shine like one”. I am so proud that he viewed Sigma as a powerful organization for social change. During the ceremony I thought about the burning candle which created a reflective glow in his eyes that represented a long journey which lead him to that night! At first, I fought back tears and then a recognition that these tears came from joy, so it was Ok to let them flow. I couldn’t help but think that all men of Sigma should be able to experience the sheer joy of passing the light to their Sun! He knows that there is a tradition of social activism that he must continue and at times lead. I know that he has been born for his role in Sigma and he will represent the organization in this most honorable manner. I am a proud Dad!

Bro. Kenneth Gatson On March 21, 2015 I had the honor of joining my line brothers, undergraduate and graduate chapter brothers and many others as my first born son, Khaliq Gatson, became a Sigma Man. Words cannot express the pride and adulation I felt for him as he stood before us with his line brothers ready to start his own journey within our wondrous band that is Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. When I reached for his hand to give him the fraternity grip for the first time, of so many times to come, my eyes began to fill with tears. Before those tears of joy rolled down my face, I knew that after 25 years of being a Sigma there was no moment—today, tomorrow or even yesterday—that would be as majestic and awe inspiring as this one. My son was now my brother. As I watched him and his line brothers introduce themselves as Sigma men to the University of Delaware community, I was humbled, and my eyes again welled up with tears, as pride beamed from my soul. Once again, my son, my brother, a Sigma Man... Bro. Brandon R. Brown

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On the Road With Bro. William J. “TIP” Thomas Founder and CEO of the T.I.P.P.E.R FOUNDATION

Throughout my Sigma journey, I have been blessed to meet so many remarkable brothers that have changed the world. There are those who have served in wars, served as college presidents, protected and guarded the president and vice president of the United States, fought for Civil Rights, and lead Fortune 100 Companies. However, one brother who has influenced both inside and outside of Phi Beta Sigma is Bro. William J. Thomas, known to most as “TIP”.

In the fall of 2006, Bro. William Powell called me to tell me that his beloved Gamma Chapter had crossed a young brother in a wheelchair. Bro. Powell said, “Bro. Christian, this young brother is going to be a force in our fraternity, mark my word.” So in essence, I actually knew a little about Bro. Thomas before I actually met him. The first time that I met Bro. Thomas in person was at the 2007 Zeta Sigma Chapter (Baltimore) Annual Crabfeast. After witnessing Bro. Thomas in action, interacting with brothers and assisting with the event, I went over to him, introduced myself, and told him that he was simply an inspiration to me and to others the way he has embraced his circumstances and made his “disability” - his ability. It amazes me to see this young brother in action, and his journey and purpose, started me on my process of evaluating what we take for granted on a daily basis. Professionally, I analyze and follow national trends that affect African-American and Latino male student success in post-secondary education. I have met some of the most prominent scholars and thought leaders in this arena and I am fortunate that I have the opportunity to travel the continental United States where I meet young men of color in college who share with me their

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Bro. Thomas with his Line Brothers during their Probate Show shortly after becoming members. stories, trials, tribulations and all that goes with the daily pursuit of higher education. Stories of drug addiction, child abuse, child support, incarceration, homelessness, foster care, and lack of guidance and family support are reasons that I hear as primary obstacles that stand in the way of college completion. Hearing these stories while watching and mentoring a number of these young men, I decided to reach out to Bro. Thomas to see if he would

Tip returns to Randallstown High School, the place where the biggest test in his testimony began, to speak to students about life after high school be willing to assist me in my endeavors. Prior to that, I spoke to Bro. Darryl Richardson (Bro. Thomas’ Line Brother) who strongly encouraged me to engage Bro. Thomas in my dialogue. Bro. Richardson said, “Bro. Christian, he will help you, I know he will.” I reached out to Bro. Thomas and I learned something new about him that of which I was not aware of. He informed me that he is the founder and CEO of the T.I.P.P.E.R Foundation, a non-profit organization that assists families who face traumatic events. Bro. Thomas is also a philanthropist, speaker, humanitarian,

and advocate. Again, simply amazed at the work this brother is doing outside of his profession, where he is an electrical engineer with Northrup Grumman. For the past nine years, I have presented at the annual Black, Brown and College Bound Conference (BBCB), hosted by Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida. More than 1,000 educators, thought leaders, college presidents, politicians, and students convene to discuss issues that affect the post-secondary success of men of color. Originally, my thought was to have Bro. Thomas talk about being a person with a disability,

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due to all of the amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its impact on educational institutions. After a long and thoughtful discussion with Bro. Thomas we decided to submit a proposal to present at the 2015 BBCB Conference. Our session, “From Victim to Victor,” focused on Bro. Thomas’ story and how it has propelled him to be the outstanding brother and professional he is today. His story is quite compelling. A star athlete at Randallstown High School (Baltimore), his dream was to follow in the footsteps of his father and attend and play football at Morgan State University. One week before his prom, and three weeks before his high school graduation, Bro. Thomas was attending a high school fundraising basketball game where he was shot in a drive-by shooting. Shot twice, he is paralyzed from the waist down. Three weeks after the shooting, Bro. Thomas graduated with his high school class. He said “nothing was going to stop me that day, no doctors, no nurses, nothing, I was determined, that I was going to graduate with my high school class.” And he did.

Bro. Thomas shown here at the 2015 Black, Brown and College Bound Conference with Bro. Kevin Christian (left) and comedian, actor, and author Steve Harvey (right). Our proposal was accepted and Bro. Thomas and I discussed our travel arrangements. He asked that I travel with him so that I can witness first hand his day-today journey and just some of the elements that he deals with. His independence and ability to see things before

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Bro. Thomas, Bro. Darryl Richardson, and Bro. Maynard Minor they happen is uncanny. He wants to be treated just like everyone else and wants nothing special, nothing at all. We were invited by Dr. Ken Atwater, the president of Hillsborough Community College, to attend the president’s reception with special guest, Steve Harvey. Yes, the Steve Harvey. Bro. Thomas said to me, “Brother Christian, if you get me in front of Steve Harvey, I promise you; I will meet him and get a picture with him. Needless to say, Bro. Thomas did exactly what he told me he was going to do. The session was a tremendous success and his life story touched many who were in attensdance. I am still receiving calls and emails asking me how they may contact Bro. Thomas. We all face obstacles and challenges every day, but when I see how Bro. Thomas faces his, and how his easygoing resolve, demeanor, and willingness to help anyone, while uplifting Black, and Brown, young brothers, it does my heart good that he and I stand on the same shield. I promise you, you will be hearing about Bro. William J. Thomas, III in the very near future….. Mark my word. If you are interested in reaching Bro. Thomas, please visit his website at www.tipperfoundation.org.

Bro. K evin Christian


Bro. Jenabu Williams Appointed to East Orange Board of Education

Bro. Willie Worley promoted to Principal of Plainfield High School

On May 16, 2015 Bro. Jenabu C. Williams was sworn in by the Honorable Mayor Lester Taylor III of East Orange, NJ to serve a three year term on the East Orange Board of Education (EOBE). Bro. Williams is a product of the East Orange Public School system. He attended Columbian Elementary School, Sojourner Truth Middle School and he graduated from Clifford J. Scott High School in 1992. Bro. Williams went on to attend Montclair State University (MSU) and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, and later earned a Masters in Public Administration/ Public Policy from Rutgers University. While at Montclair State he became a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity through the Kappa Epsilon Chapter in the Spring of 1994.

In September 2015 Bro. Willie Worley assumed leadership as Principal of the second oldest high school in the state of New Jersey, Plainfield High School. Bro. Worley was born in Newark, NJ and educated in the Newark Public School system through grade six. For seventh grade he attended middle school in East Orange, NJ before his family relocated permanently to Penns Grove, NJ. Bro. Worley completed middle school in Penns Grove and graduated from high school in 1988. Bro. Worley went on to attend Montclair State University (MSU) and earned a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Master’s Degree in Teaching. While at Montclair State he became a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity through the Kappa Epsilon Chapter in the Spring of 1989. This affiliation has afforded Willie the opportunity to positively impact the lives of young people since.

Bro. Williams brings a wealth of experience in the education field to the EOBE. He was a Crisis Intervention Teacher in the Newark Public School system and an Elementary School - Special Education Teacher in the Plainfield Public Schools system for a combined eight years. Bro. Williams also has extensive leadership and management experience. He is the former Director of Residential Services for Youth Consultation Service of Newark, former Program Director - Interim Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Newark, and the former Associate Executive Director of the YMCA of Eastern Union County. Brother Williams is currently the Executive Director of Sigma Community Enrichment Initiative (SCEI). SCEI is a 501(C)(3) NonProfit organization that was founded in 1997 by seven visionary members of Chi Sigma Chapter. Their mission is to provide youth and young adults facing adversity with strong, enduring, professional services and mentoring services that will change their lives for the better.

Bro. Worley has been a professional educator for nearly twenty years. He began his teaching career at Clifford J. Scott High School (now East Orange Campus) in East Orange, NJ. Bro. Worley taught courses in American History, World History, African American History and Psychology. In 2001, he was recognized by the faculty and students as the Teacher of the Year. In 2004, he accepted an administrator’s position at West Side High School in Newark, NJ as the Department Chairperson for Business and Social Studies. In 2010, Bro. Worley became Vice-Principal at Weequahic High School, also in Newark, NJ. During his career as an educator Bro. Worley has been instrumental in helping these institutions achieve success and meet required benchmarks for growth and graduation. Bro. Worley is an avid reader and life-long learner and has a desire to help others; especially, young people reach their fullest potential. Bro. Worley is great communicator of ideas and as such facilitates workshops with parents, teachers and students on increasing their level of effectiveness.

Bro. Orlando Lilly promoted to Captain in the Baltimore County Police Department Bro. Orlando Lilly was recently promoted to the rank of captain in the Baltimore County Police Department (BCPD). Bro. Lilly has served with the BCPD for over twenty years. While with the department Bro. Lilly has been assigned to several departments. He was the first AfricanAmerican supervisor to be assigned to the Police Athletic League at the rank of corporal. He was also the first African-American to be the supervisor in the Employment Section at the rank of sergeant. Prior to his most recent promotion he was assigned to the Baltimore County Police Training Academy and is the first African-American to have a position in the academy. “Achieving the rank of captain is a significant milestone that requires hundreds of hours of study and sacrifice. These experienced men and women have earned the privilege of serving in positions of great responsibility. I'm proud of what they've achieved and I look forward to working with this new team," stated Police Chief Jim Johnson upon announcing the promotions. Bro. Lilly is also a professor at the University of Baltimore in the Forensic Science Department where he teaches math application in law enforcement. He is the fifth African-American to achieve the rank of captain in the BCPD. Captain Lilly is the Commander at Precinct 12 / North Point. We join the BCPD in wishing Bro. Lilly and all the newly promoted captains all the best as they continue to serve the community in their new positions.

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Epsilon Sigma Chapter’s Sigma Beta Club

Sigma Beta Club fundraiser Sigma Betas, club advisors, brothers, family and friends gathered in Harlem, NY to enjoy brunch and raise funds for the Epsilon Sigma Chapter Sigma Beta Club (SBC). The event helped fund the expenses for some of the members to attend the National Sigma Beta Club Leadership Conference in Little Rock, AR. The conference took place during the 2015 Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Conclave. Bro. Malik Yoba (back row with sunglasses) came by to support the event and stayed the entire time. SBC members and their parents had the chance to meet and take pictures with Bro. Yoba. 10 | FALL 2015 O U R C A U S E M A G A Z I N E

Bro Yoba has been supporting the Epsilon Sigma Chapter’s Sigma Beta Club for many years. He sponsored all the SBC T-Shirts that were given away to SBC members during the 2014 Eastern Regional Conference in Brooklyn. Bro. Yoba also gave thirty discounted tickets for the Epsilon Sigma Chapter’s SBC to attend one of his Off Broadway shows. We can’t thank him enough for all the time and support he continues to give to these young men. You can follow the Epsilon Sigma Chapter’s SBC on Twitter @HarlemSBC

Epsilon Sigma Chapter 2015 U.S. Navy SeaPerch Program The Epsilon Sigma Chapter’s Sigma Beta Club (Harlem, NY) competed in the 2015 U. S. Navy SeaPerch Program at Flushing Meadow/Corona Park Aquatic Center. The U. S. Navy SeaPerch Program is an underwater robotics program that provides teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). Students build the ROV from a kit comprised of low-cost, easily accessible parts. The SeaPerch Program provides students with the opportunity to learn about robotics, engineering, science, and mathematics (STEM) while building an underwater ROV as part of a science and engineering technology curriculum. Throughout the project, students will learn engineering concepts, problem solving, teamwork, and technical applications.

Under the guidance of Bro. Kenneth Abrantes, with assistance from Bros. Kevin Bracey, Ralph Davis and Tyrone Waiters, the Sigma Beta Club Team (SBC) built two ROV’s from a kit supplied by the U. S. Navy’s SeaPerch Program. Bro. Abrantes attended an eight hour training class to learn how to build an ROV and to be able to teach the SBC members. Over the course of two months the Team built the two ROV’s for the competition. They were able to use the Harlem YMCA’s pool to practice and to make sure the ROV’s worked. During the competition, the ROV’s had to maneuver through an obstacle course, move rings, and slide pegs. They also had to create a “Poster Board” presentation and speak about their experiences on putting the ROV’s together and changing the design. Although they didn’t win, the experience was amazing for SBC members and chapter brothers alike! Bro. K evin Bracey

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The College Admissions Process: Straight No Chaser As an enrollment professional with over a decade of college admissions experience, I’m an advocate Bro. K evin M. Holmes of higher education. I believe education provides all people who are persistent, dedicated, and passionate the platform to learn how to appreciate diversity, think critically, and solve the problems of today’s society. Whether a student has interest in attending a public flagship, elite private, regionally focused, minority serving, affordable community, or accessible corporate institution, it will be the student’s commitment and excellence that earns the degree. Since I’m writing this article for my Sigma brothers, our Sigma Beta Club members and their families, I also want to give you the facts straight with no chaser! There is no such thing as a perfect school, and because the perfect school doesn’t exist, I want you all to understand that

the college admissions system in the United States is even far less perfect. There are thousands of schools in the United States, all of them are equally special, and provide special experiences for the students they serve. I

more options you will have in the college admissions process. All scholarships awarded at four year institutions will require you to be competitive; the competition will involve most importantly your academic performance and at times your extra-curricular

The present state of the economic climate of higher education forces schools to maximize potential revenue earnings in a volatile declining consumer market for traditional age college students. don’t care where you decide to attend, just have a plan on how to gain admission, understand the experience you want to have, accept the cost you are willing to pay (financially and socially), and most importantly define your path to graduation. The admissions process is different for every school. Some schools have open access; an example may be a community college or for-profit institution. Other schools are moderately selective to selective, and many are highly selective. Is there a secret formula you ask? Absolutely not! The better your grades, the better your test scores, the more talent you have, the

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excellence. The process requires the student to be disciplined and work hard. A 3.0 grade point average will gain you admission to some schools, yet other schools will want a 4.0 grade point average. SAT and ACT exams will be required for most schools, and each school has specific requirements that may require scores in Math and Critical Reading, others will strongly consider the Writing component. The college essay is equally important, write an essay that conveys passion, addresses the topic, utilizes appropriate syntax, and is free from grammatical errors. Finally, choose your letters

of reference wisely, ensure they are written by people who know your interest, can speak to your goals, and know your strengths, and can understand your areas of improvement. Start the search process early, and remember all four years of high school count. Be curious and explore all possibilities. Narrow your focus based on the degree program offered, the environment that will make you happy, and the campus which will give you the best value. Go on tours to learn more about the college. Seek guidance from schools counselors and alumni of the institution. Utilize websites, social media, and literature available to make the best decision possible for yourself and your family. I must warn you however, nothing comes in life free of cost. The harsh reality of this experience is that there are over 4,000 colleges and universities within the United States, higher education’s elite four year institutions have a long standing history of catering to the nation’s top student talent in order to create a society of great thinkers, astute innovators, creative artist,

and prolific explorers. Harvard University was founded in 1636 and 379 years after it was founded it consistently remains one of the top universities in the world. Many four year public and private colleges and universities that have opened post Harvard’s founding have also adopted a student recruitment plan in the likeness of Harvard’s recruitment strategy that caters to the wealthy, denying more students than they accept, and creating a gate to keep out students that cannot immediately contribute to the fame and fortune of the institution. These strategies adopted by our nation’s four year public and private institutions have become more focused and competitive in the attempt to attract the best and brightest in recent years. The present state of the economic climate of higher education forces schools to maximize potential revenue earnings in a volatile declining consumer market for traditional age college students. As a result, resources are dedicated to the privileged with hopes of marketing and recruiting an affluent body of students. In the

case of the U.S. higher education system, institutions that were founded by the privileged have continued to execute business models to attract the privileged. I have been a higher education professional serving in an enrollment management capacity for 12 years, often involved in dialogue with former supervisors, executive cabinet members, and colleagues expressing aspirations for their institutions to become more competitive, better funded, and more attractive to top tier students and the families they come from. Those lofty aspirations often come at the expense of shutting out college access for the poor, disenfranchised minorities that may not have exposure to quality K-12 education, adequate standardized test preparation, and financial means to cover the full cost of attending top tier institutions. What makes this business model more alarming is that according to the Prescott and Bransberger (2012) Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Knocking at the College Door report, nonwhite minorities will make up 45% of all high school graduates

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in the United States by the year 2019. The student population landscape that universities will have to serve will drastically change, yet colleges and universities have outdated admissions minority recruitment practices that have not kept up with the culture shift in the United States. The shear nature of the history of higher education in the United States has created a system of catering to the affluent and marginalizing minority segments of the population. The current state of higher education limits access to minorities of lower socio-economic status, yet also profits from various groups of minorities in the process. I am an African-American, first-generation, male college graduate, and it bothers me that many individuals like myself don’t have equal access to our nation’s elite institutions. It infuriates me more that between the years 2007 and 2010 NCAA Division 1A football programs were comprised of more than 57% African-American men, yet African-American men only made up about 3% of the full-time degree seeking undergraduate population on those institution’s college campuses (Harper, Williams, Blackman, 2013). In college athletics, top NCAA football and basketball programs recruit the most talented black athletes, in order to win the most games, to play for the grand championship prize, to attract loyal fans, with the hope that those fans will become generous donors that will contribute to the coffers of the university. The media coverage and publicity that comes with this winning contributes hundreds of millions of dollars annually to top college programs. The conundrum is that millions of dollars are

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earned at the top colleges and universities in the country as a result of the athletic contributions of African-American men playing intercollegiate sports; however, those same college campuses only enroll a small portion of African-American male students. As an African-American admissions professional, I have witnessed countless institutions advocate for access only to fail in putting transformational actions behind empty words. I have experienced the hardships of most AfricanAmerican males that are trying to prepare to gain admission to top schools, only to be marginalized by lack of academic, financial, and social guidance. In conclusion, I hope that you are aware of the college admissions process, and many of the pitfalls we face. The process is not impossible, but will require hard-work and dedication. Most importantly there will be a cost involved regardless if it is time or finances. Just make sure you put your best foot forward, formulate your plan, and embark on the journey with confidence, competence, and compassion. I hope that you receive admission to every school you apply to, receive every scholarship you apply for, and whatever your cause may be, let it swiftly speed on its way! Harper, S.R., Williams, C.D., & Blackman, H.W. (2013). Black male student-athletes and racial inequities in NCAA Division 1 college sports. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, Center of the Study of Race and Equity in Education. Retrieved from: www.gse.upenn.edu/equity/sports Prescot, B.T., Bransberger. P. (2012). Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates. Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Retrieved from: http://www.wiche.edu/pub/knocking-8th-and-supplements

Bro. K evin M. Holmes

Assistant Vice President University of Maryland University College Quantico Corporate Center

Lambda Lambda Sigma Chapter TRENTON, NJ

2015 Gospel Brunch The brothers of Lambda Lambda Sigma (Trenton, NJ) hosted their 11th Annual Gospel Brunch at the Rho Ristorante located on Trenton’s waterfront. This year’s theme was “Let Go and Let God”. The Gospel Brunch is the Chapter’s signature fundraising event for the Bro. Andrew Maddox Scholarship Fund. Among the distinguished guests at this year’s packed event were; Bros. Leonard Lockhart (25th Eastern Regional Director), Jean Lamothe (International Director of Education), Chris Wilson (Eastern Regional Secretary), and Nigel Coehlo (NJ State Director). Over the years the guests have come to expect and enjoy a bountiful spread and spirit moving message, and this year’s event did not disappoint! The Shiloh Baptist Church Choir of Trenton NJ performed a number of soul stirring songs and Bro. Dr. Roderick Merritt (Beta Psi Sigma Chapter / Westchester County, NY) delivered a powerful message that filled the room with positive energy. The Brothers of Lambda Lambda Sigma Chapter wish to thank all of our guests for joining us this year, and we look forward to seeing you next year! Bro. Carthell Myers

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Will Your Campus Survive

Changing Campus Culture? The

Bro. K enneth L. Jones, Ph.D

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In the 1960s and 1970s National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) organizations enjoyed sizeable expansion with the chartering of new chapters across the country on non-HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) campuses. NPHC organizations were the new kid on the block on these campuses. During that period we enjoyed much of the same expansion the Latino fraternities and sororities have enjoyed over the last twenty to twenty five years. This expansion would spill over into the 1980’s, and with it came a certain freedom to grow as these campuses attempted to understand this new entity known as BGLOs (Black GreekLettered Organizations). On these campuses we were an experiment of sorts and were allowed to establish certain traditions and a culture that was our own. As long as we were not causing any major problems and “stayed in our lane”, so to speak, we were allowed to exist without too much interference.

Ask any graduate brother who was on campus during that time to reflect on his undergraduate days and you will get a host of stories about “the good old days”. Some of those stories would result in raised eyebrows from today’s undergraduate brothers as they listen to the stories of how we did things back then. Included in those stories would be some activities that would not be tolerated on any campus today. The activities I speak of have nothing to do with hazing or anything illegal, but are no longer considered an accepted part of the campus culture. For anyone twenty years or more removed from the undergraduate experience, today’s campus is a whole new world. A visit back to your campus would be like stepping on foreign soil. Not only would you not recognize much of the physical campus, as institutions are constantly evolving, but you would also not be familiar with the changes to the campus environment.

On today’s campus it is not enough just to exist, it is important to contribute and be an asset to the campus community. Practicing some of the traditions our chapters have held dear for years would result in Sigma not lasting a week on most campuses today. Recently the news has been filled with stories of fraternity chapters engaging in questionable activities that have resulted in lengthy suspensions. Social media has helped to exposed some of those questionable activities organizations have been engaging in for years in private. As institutions move to change the culture campuses are not only monitoring the activities of their organizations, they are also holding them to a higher standard of conduct. The time of the “boys will be boys” culture is long gone. Institutions are requiring all campus organizations to start holding themselves, and their members, accountable if they want to remain a part of the campus community. We have to always remember that we are guests at these institutions and must abide by the rules and regulations if we are to survive. Recently some institutions have gone a step further by choosing to ban Greek Life from their campuses all together. They have decided the risk that goes along with having these organizations on campus is not worth the trouble. The headaches associated with having them on campus far outweigh any positive programming they might contribute to the campus community. In short, as far as these institutions are concerned, collectively we have outworn our welcome. As these bans on Greek Life take shape other institutions will be monitoring the issue and deciding if they too should take the same step. While initially they may not go as far as banning Greek Life, mandating sweeping changes to Greek Life might be part of the plan going forward. Several institutions have already begun the process of raising the standards, under which students and organizations must live. It is crucial that we gain an understanding of these standards

and ensure our undergraduate chapters are doing what is necessary to meet those standards. Graduate chapters need to be aware of all the requirements and rules on those campuses where they have chapters they advise. It is not only important to be familiar with those standards, but we must also maintain a working relationship with the Greek Life staff on those campuses. To assist our chapters in navigating through the current standards and rules on campus we will kick of a new series, “Changing the Campus Culture: Will Your Chapter Survive?” These articles will contain insight from our own brothers working at institutions across the nation. Many of these brothers also volunteer their time working on committees the fraternity has created in an effort to open the channels of communication between Sigma and the institutions we serve. They will provide information from the institution’s perspective and share best practices designed to assist us moving forward. We will also shed some light on those topics which are being discussed with the students on campus today. We encourage you to share these articles with your chapters and make the information a topic of discussion during chapter meetings and with the undergraduate chapter you advise. We will open the series addressing an issue often considered taboo in many circles, but ties right into the culture on campus today. As stated previously, on today’s campus there is a heightened awareness of individual conduct and tolerance. Institutions want to create an environment in which everyone can co-exist and contribute to the overall campus community. Discrimination against or the mistreatment of any group or individual will not be tolerated and will be addressed accordingly. Bro. Kenneth L. Jones, Ph.D. is the Associate Director of Community Development in the Office of Student Affairs/Fraternity and Sorority Life at the University of Pennsylvania. He also serves on the Sigma Professional Advisory

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Committee. The committee was developed to help bridge the gap between the fraternity and the institutions we serve. One of his responsibilities is to work with fraternities and sororities to increase awareness on important issues and help change the culture on campus. For example, one issue which has been associated with fraternities on campus is sexual assault. Fraternities have long had a reputation of victimizing women at parties and events on campus. Recently, institutions have joined forces with fraternities, athletics, and other organizations on campus to try to combat this long-standing issue. On some campuses fraternities have pledged to conduct new training for all their members on stopping sexual assault. However, with those willing to work towards change there are also those organizations that choose to resist. It is an

black fraternities. However, for the purposes of this article we will focus on black fraternities. The issue has been addressed in two books by Dr. Gregory S. Parks, “Black Greek Letter Organization in the 21st Century: Our Fight Has Just Began” and “Brothers and Sisters: Diversity in College Fraternities and Sororities”, which he edited with Dr. Craig L. Torbenson. Dr. Parks shared this in 2012, “I’ve researched and written about BGLOs for almost 10 years. Therefore, I can say that there is a range of internal issues and dynamics that these organizations either ignore or engage in ways that skirt the data and facts. Chief among these issues is the place of gay members in black fraternities”. In this age of social media most of us have either participated in and/or come across discussions about gay members in black fraternities. More

The pool of potential members on campus to assist in growing and maintaining our chapters on campus seems to be decreasing as the cost of higher education steadily increases. ongoing struggle and part of the old school culture institutions are working to change. Bro. Jones addresses many issues both on his campus and on campuses across the nation. He has been invited to speak at other institutions on sexual assault and various topics related to fraternities, sororities and other groups on campus. He conducts lectures and workshops designed to create a dialog on these important topics and encourage campus organizations to work with the institution to create a culture of tolerance. One of the topics he is often asked to speak about is sexuality, more specifically homophobia in fraternity life. The topic of gay men in fraternities, while not new, remains taboo to many. It is the elephant in the room, but not solely an issue with

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often than not as the discussion progresses, it starts to deviate from the initial topic and often becomes ugly. What is it about the topic that generates such anger? As we recruit new members to join our organizations we seek out qualities which will be an asset to the organization. These members are expected to bring their talents and experiences to the organization and assist us as we continue to build on the vision of our founders. However, for many black fraternity members, when it comes to gay black men no level of professional success, academic achievement, experience or community accomplishments can trump the “gay” issue. A gay black man interested in becoming a member of a black fraternity must alter his life. They often

feel they must exaggerate many of the stereotypes associated with masculinity in order to be accepted by the brotherhood. In short, they must live a lie to “fit in”. It would be safe to say there is no other issue within the black fraternity system which is more polarizing as the existence of gay members within the ranks. “Some members believe that the presence of gay members can damage the organizations' brand. However, these same individuals fail to consider how a whole range of black fraternity members' behaviors damage the organizations' brand and how the "brand" argument may simply pander to the attitudes of homophobes”, Dr. Parks asserts. We all can identify questionable behaviors which are prevalent within fraternities that are not only tolerated, but often either encouraged or overlooked. If we are going to exist on today’s college campus we must address this and all issues. As black males we are all too familiar with the necessity to go above and beyond when our academic achievements, skills and talents are not enough to overcome stereotypes and discrimination. This need to be better than the best has unfortunately become the norm in the lives of many black males. The pool of potential members on campus to assist in growing and maintaining our chapters on campus seems to be decreasing as the cost of higher education steadily increases. How will we maintain our chapters under these conditions if we choose to reject potential members based on stereotypes? It is important that we see the big picture and judge all potential members based on the same criteria, and offer membership to those that will help move the chapter and fraternity forward. We can’t afford to become what we despise and discriminate against our own based on stereotypes. OUR CAUSE had a chance to sit down with Bro. Dr. Jones and discuss his dissertation and his experiences addressing this issue with students across the nation in his position as a Greek life professional. It gives us a glimpse of the efforts institutions are placing on this and other issues to improve the campus environment.

1) What

inspired you to pursue your


centered on this issue? Why was this issue important to you?

When I first entered the Ph.D. program I knew that I wanted to work in higher education. Having a Ph.D. would gain me a seat at the table for silent voices to be heard. Since the first day of class I had been thinking about what I wanted to write my dissertation on. While I was sitting in a quantitative research class I would hear the words that would change my life. The professor told the class, "Your dissertation should be something that you are passionate about and would want to see through to the end." I began to recall the many conversations on social media and other platforms that turned into arguments about gay men in National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) fraternities. Personally I have experienced brotherhood not being extended to me because of my sexuality. I can remember feeling like no one wanted to hear how that impacted me. I was expected to deal with it and move on. For as long as I can remember I have read articles and seen news reports about people being rejected because of their sexuality. As part of my research I combed through articles and other scholarly material to find something that would help explain why this was happening. While I had anecdotal and empirical evidence, I didn't have any research to help answer those questions. Then it hit me. I would be the one to open the door for the voiceless; the people who are told not to talk about the topic for fear it would bring reproach upon the Fraternity’s brand. I chose a dissertation topic that was personal to me and would allow some real discussion to take place. 2) How has your work been received by Black Greek-lettered Organizations (BLGOs)? In the higher education arena other professionals, especially Greek Life professionals, feel the work is way overdue. While BGLO members on the campuses respect the work, many are still not comfortable talking about it. Funny story: I was presenting an unrelated topic at a conference where I met an

O U R C A U S E M A G A Z I N E FALL 2015 | 19

employee of Rochester Institute of Technology. She wanted to bring me to her campus to speak about my research and partner with some other institutions in the area. Much of the push back she received wasn't from the students, but older NPHC members who had concerns that the topic would shine a negative light on the NPHC. I chuckled because they have no idea that I use the research to underpin the fact that I love NPHC Greek Life! I am not approaching from the popular "Greek Life is going to be non-existent...and woe is me for being a victim" standpoint. There are opportunities to begin to change the conversation in an effort to demonstrate why BGLOs have been and continue to be at the forefront of pioneering the way people think about Greek Life and about students. 3) How do you believe your work will impact BLGOs? BGLOs have been reflected negatively in the media on an even larger scale over the past 10 years. More often than not the headlines we see are related to a hazing case or someone and/or one of the NPHC organizations being sued. Our organizations must begin to understand that we have to stop being hypocritical. In one breath we are saying things like #BlackLivesMatter and #BoycottSororityGirlsShow, but can't give that same support to the brothers and sisters within our own organizations. It is fascinating how we can rally together as one when our organizations are being attacked from outside sources, but we can’t do the same to support our own. Why does the topic conjure up so much anger in some? What is actually happening to our undergraduate members on campus as they seek solace in the support of BGLOs, but then are going through mental turmoil because they have to “fit in”? As a Greek Life professional, I know that values based leadership and leading from the creed is an approach that most of us want to champion. Right now I think we are at a fork in the road and have two choices: Either reflect the real world or set our members and chapters up for failure. Regardless of whether the issue is hazing, hyper-masculinity, bulling, homophobia or any of

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the various issues of the day, our organizations need someone to actually see them as student learners on the campus and empower them to think differently about what they are actually doing. With that, I think our BGLOs will be empowered to evoke change in a way that makes sense and is paramount for the survival of the organizations on today’s campus. 4) Share learned

with our readers a few things from






Writing that 218 page document was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. The process of it forced me to deal with some of my own experiences and feelings about being discriminated against as a gay man. I was forced to revisit death threats and reading about people who were beaten or killed because of their want to be themselves. The first thing I learned from this work is that our organizations are not aware that we are making students separate from themselves. We (BGLOs) are entrenched into the "traditions" of who is accepted in our organizations and who isn't . . . recognizing that there is a difference of approach between HBCUs and Non HBCUs, but by in large the conversations are the same. We are communicating to aspirants, how we expect them to be, feel, act, look, and interact on campus. This culture forces some students who really want to be in the organization to lie about their sexuality, distance themselves from friends, craft dishonest answers, all to please the world you create within your chapter. Secondly, I realized that there is so much work to be done. My research included the experiences of five men...one from each NPHC fraternity, but I know of countless stories of homophobia in NPHC fraternities. I am not naivé to the fact that people have their personal beliefs about sexuality, but it is a problem when they choose to hide behind the letters and say the entire organization feels this way. While you are of course entitled to your opinion, there is nothing in any document for any organization that states the organization stands against gay people. Lastly, and most importantly, it became clear to me that our

organizations are destroying each other from within based on personal beliefs. Some of us are frustrated with certain aspects of our organizational structure and are trying to build, pick, and choose our own version of the “perfect” fraternity or sorority. The men in my study all have had to re-structure their own lives to gain acceptance in order to participate in intake and become members. This is not what our founders envisioned. We somehow believe we know what is best for the fraternity/sorority, when everything we need to know about what the founders wanted is right in front of us...in our official documents, creed, motto and history. 5) Which Sigmas

would you like to thank

for supporting you through this journey?

So many brothers have been instrumental in the writing of my dissertation. So many of the students and chapters I have advised and worked with have been beyond supportive. I have been beyond blessed to come across Sigma men who KNOW our creed, our history and what our Founders expected of us and how we should regard each other. Some of these men, chapters, and groups I will name here. Firstly, the brothers on the Sigma Professional Advisory Committee, led by Bros. Michael Cristal (1st Vice President) and Hon. Daryl Anderson (Executive Director), on which I serve. Through this committee we are able to give Sigma the university perspective on the expectations of Sigma on campus. The Committee has been instrumental in supporting me during the research and writing of my dissertation. Nu Sigma Chapter (Philadelphia, PA), namely Bros. Brandon Brown, Angelo Saxon, and Curtis Word who supported me as I missed meetings to work on my dissertation, and checked on my progress in a brotherly way. They were also very supportive of my topic and recognized its importance. My doctoral mentor Dr. Zach Shirley, Greek mentor Rafael Matos, and three respected scholars Drs. Antwoine Haywood, Lamar Hylton, and Brian McGowan. I thank Bros. William Powell, Maynard Minor, and Darryl Richardson for standing up for me as

a brother without a voice. Sincere thanks to Bros. Colin Washington, Jordan Reid, Erick Bey, DeSean Fennell, and the entire Mu Upsilon Chapter (Lasalle University). A special thanks to my New Jersey brothers, especially Bros. Shawn Smith, Jacqueem Winston and Owen Washington who were brotherly when I was homeless during this process. I have to express gratitude to the brothers of Gamma Chapter (Morgan State University) who were my students and the chapter I advised as I wrote this work. To the No Mercy Step Company and the Gamma Step Tour who I traveled and competed with, laptop at my side, and never made me feel less than, because of my sexuality! And lastly all the brothers who empowered my voice through thought and opinion I appreciate you! As we enter a new century of Sigma we must understand the changing culture on campus and do what is necessary to operate within that environment. Changing with the times is necessary if we want to maintain our presence on campus. Phi Beta Sigma is committed to assisting our chapters as they navigate through these changes. It is important that we build and maintain open communication with the Greek Like professionals on campus. Bro. Dr. Jones is part of a group of brothers who are working to ensure Sigma is taking the lead in this effort. The goal is to prepare our chapters and set them up for success. In the coming months you will receive more information concerning the Sigma Professional Advisory Committee, and several other committees, created to provide much needed resources for your chapter. We encourage all chapters to use the tools and resources, both internal and on the campus, at your disposal. If we do our part it will ensure our chapters are thriving and continue to make a positive contribution to the campus community. Keep an eye out for additional articles in this series in future publications. Bro. Brandon Brown Bro. Todd D. Le Bon

O U R C A U S E M A G A Z I N E FALL 2015 | 21

Beta Beta Lambda Chapter NASSAU, BAHAMAS Entrepreneurship Seminar The brothers of Beta Beta Lambda Chapter (College of the Bahamas) organized and hosted an entrepreneurship seminar as a part of Sigma Week at the country’s largest tertiary institution. The seminar explored the possibility of entrepreneurship as a viable career path and entrepreneurship

… to not only promote entrepreneurship but also develop small businesses in our community.” Jermaine Knowles, a business major, said “The seminar was eye-opening. I always wanted to open my own consulting firm one day,” he said. “I didn’t think it would be that hard but listening to the panelists they made it sound like the most rewarding experience of their lives. This experience has certainly made me more excited about opening my own business.” Bro. Christopher Saunders, Beta Beta Lambda

Brothers of Beta Beta Lambda Chapter and Delta Epsilon Sigma Chapter at the Entrepreneurship Seminar. (LtoR) Derek Smith (President Delta Epsilon Sigma Chapter), Oriel Sampson, Javon Rolle, Kenyawn Caroll, opportunities in the Bahamas. Christopher Saunders (2nd Vice President Delta Epsilon Sigma & Graduate “This seminar has become a signature event for Chapter Advisor to Beta Beta Lambda), and Jon Montpetitt. the chapter and students say they get a great deal out of it,” said chapter president Bro. Mick Massaar. Chapter graduate advisor, commented on the Four local entrepreneurs interacted with the chapter’s ability to not only mobilize the campus students during a panel discussion on how to start a community but to also make an impact on students’ business, the joys of running your own business and lives. “The promotion of entrepreneurship is a the challenges of getting a business up and running. part of the fraternity’s global initiative of Bigger Panelists included Randia Coakley (creative and Better Business and seeks to transform our consultant), Jaime Lewis (owner of Islandz and Islandz Tours), Yohancy Kemp (business consultant), communities through promoting and supporting and Bro. Derek W. Smith Jr. (owner DWS Partners small business,” Saunders said. “The fact that Beta Ltd. and Impact Images & Designs). The panelists Beta Lambda has decided to embrace this aspect gave the student body a real look into what goes speaks volumes for the long-term vision not only into running a small business in the country. for the chapter, but also the campus community and “These business owners showed students that the community at large. They are truly embracing running a business isn’t only about running your own the fraternity’s motto of ‘Culture for Service and show,” stated seminar organizer Bro. Javon Rolle. Service for Humanity.” “Students left here saying they had a clearer picture about everything that goes into building a business. Bro. Christopher Saunders This is the real thrust of Bigger and Better Business Beta Beta Lambda Chapter President, Bro. Mick Massaar addresses the almost capacity crowd at the Entrepreneurship Seminar.

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Gr e e t i n gs Bro t h e r s, On April 21-24, 2016 the host chapters, Beta Alpha, Gamma Alpha Xi and Omicron Chi Sigma, will host the Eastern Region for the 2016 Eastern Regional Conference (ERC). The Conference will take place in historic Boston, Massachusetts. “Beantown” is the city where Crispus Attucks, a black man, became the first casualty of the American Revolution when he was shot and killed in what became known as the Boston Massacre. Not only is Boston famous for its rich history and culture, but it is also a huge sports town with a number of successful sports franchises. Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity has served the communities of Boston for 81 years. Massachusetts is also the birthplace of our beloved Founder Leonard F. Morse. The host chapters are excited and we are preparing for your arrival. Our conference theme is: “Honoring the Past, Treasuring the Present, Shaping the Future”, which will allow our fraternity to shine a light on our Sigma Beta Clubs and our I Am My Brother’s Keeper initiative. The host chapters are working diligently with the Eastern Regional Planning Team to present a conference where “The Bond of Brotherhood” reigns supreme. Our conference schedule will include activities and events to ensure the brothers of the Mighty Eastern Region, and all guests, have a great time while in Boston. The Boston Sheraton Hotel will serve as our base of operations for the Conference. We ask that you visit the conference website (http://erc16.pbseast.org/) to review the registration and hotel information. The 2016 Eastern Regional Conference will also have a presence on social media to assist in disseminating information to the membership. The 2016 Eastern Regional Conference Facebook page will allow the Conference Committee to share and receive information, as well as gather feedback from the Brotherhood. We encourage you to visit the website and Facebook page often for conference information and updates. At the upcoming Regional Conference we will conduct the business of the Fraternity, engage our youth and impact the local community. The focus of the conference will be to train our membership to be efficient leaders, informed advocates and mentors to young men in their communities. We will also renew the bonds of brotherhood and have a fraternal good time. Fraternally, Bro. Marcus Daly 2016 Eastern Regional Conference Chair 2016ercchair@pbseast.org

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Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Eastern Region Publicity Committee 200 Nutmeg Lane #219 East Hartford, CT 06118


EASTERN REGIONAL CONFERENCE http://erc16.pbseast.org

The brothers of Omicron Chi Sigma Chapter are excited to host the brothers of the Eastern Region and we are preparing for your arrival. The conference theme is: “Honoring the Past, Treasuring the Present, Shaping the Future”, which will allow the Fraternity to shine a light on our Sigma Beta Clubs and our I Am


My Brother’s Keeper initiative. The Host

Honoring the Past, Treasuring the Present, Shaping the Future

conference where “The Bond of Brotherhood”

April 21-24, 2016 Boston Sheraton Hotel 24 |39 FALL 2015 O U R CAUSE M A G A Z I N E MA Dalton Street, Boston,

brothers of the Mighty Eastern Region, and all

Chapters are working diligently with the Eastern Regional Planning Team to present a reigns supreme. Included in the conference schedule are activities and events to ensure the guests, will have a great time while in Boston.

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