(Center left) Devery Patterson has been trying to start a Phi Beta Sigma chapter on campus with the support of Zeta Phi Beta sisters like Gabrielle Pringle (center right). Photo by Jasmyne Ray for The Alabamian.
There could soon be another addition to the five National Panhellenic Council (NPHC) Greek organizations on campus.
Devery Patterson, a senior sociology major, has plans to start a Phi Beta Sigma colony on campus. Patterson is currently the only Sigma on campus having “crossed,” or joined, the organization through an alumni chapter in the spring of 2015.
“I wanted to start a chapter here because it was an opportunity to increase our NPHC organizations,” said Patterson. “Also it was the opportunity to not only grow my organization but a way to show the great works of Sigma.”
In order to begin a new NPHC organization on campus, a student first has to go through the Campus Life Advisory Committee (CLAC). The CLAC gets together at the beginning of every year to determine if there are enough students on campus for a new organization to be needed.
If there are, the NPHC advisor, Cedric Norman, “will present applications from interested groups to the NPHC council for approval.” If it is approved by the NPHC council, the advisor contacts “local alumni representatives of the interested NPHC group to determine if alumni support is available.”
If it is, the interested NPHC group has to submit a request to the CLAC and present information about their organization per the criteria and guidelines for forming an organization or club. From there, the CLAC will approve or deny their request.
Since trying to start a chapter, Patterson has had help from the ladies of Zeta Phi Beta, a fellow NPHC organization.
“Even though we are constitutionally bound, we are still separate organizations,” said Briana Brown, president of Zeta Phi Beta. “We never are involved with each other’s MIP [membership intake process] or chartering process nor do we get involved with chapter business.
Cedric Norman, the assistant director of student life, said the new organization is a good thing and is hopeful for its success.
“Hopefully we can have enough young men to support a colony and ultimately have it turn into a chapter,” Norman said. “I think it’s good for Greek life because it gives guys more options as far as fraternities, and Phi Beta Sigma is especially attractive because of how diverse they are nationally.”
Patterson is also hopeful for not only Phi Beta Sigma’s success, but the growth of the NPHC as a whole.
“We are a small group compared to the other organizations on campus, but I think that we do well with what we have,” Patterson said. “Every year or even semester we do look forward to growth, and since I’ve been a member, I can honestly say I have seen that growth.”