Members of the Alpha Beta Nu chapter of Phi Beta Sigma prove that two heads are always better than none while trying to keep their chapter afloat.
Although Phi Beta Sigma has over 150,000 men in over 650 chapters in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Caribbean, President Arion Duncan and member Niyaa Daniels are trying to stay focused on increasing their membership on campus
Phi Beta Sigma adviser Ronald Cohen wanted to reactivate the Alpha Beta Nu chapter because he felt there was a need for students to have more opportunities on campus.
“I have a passion for student success, most specifically students of color and their advancement,” Cohen said. “I know a lot of times that students of color on this campus don’t get presented with a lot of opportunities, so they don’t take them. For me that was really important to get more people involved in Greek life.”
Phi Beta Sigma is among the few black Greek letter fraternities and sororities who are struggling on the Missouri Western campus to increase their membership. For any organization to be recognized on campus, they have to have at least five members, where as Phi Beta Sigma only has two.
Phi Beta Sigma member Daniels is staying optimistic and believes they can use what they were taught to keep their chapter alive.
“Seeing that we just crossed, it’s only us two,” Daniels said. “It’s tough because we don’t have any experience in running an organization, and we’re basically going off what we were taught.”
Duncan said that they are getting a lot of support from different institutions such as University of Missouri-Kansas City, Northwest Missouri State University and Kansas University to help them run their organization.
Duncan and Daniels aren’t taking the opportunity they were giving lightly, because they know that they must increase in number by next fall or their chapter will be deactivated.
Phi Beta Sigma is planning new programs to get their name out on campus. They participated in Pink Week and have upcoming events such as PBS Jeopardy and a panel discussion on issues students often face the most in college.
Duncan thought a program that went really well was the Sigma trash pickup.
“We thought it would be a good idea to take out the residence trash because they get to see us, and we are also doing service, which is very important,” Duncan said.
Cohen encourages any student that is interested in any Greek fraternity to know that they’re always being observed once they show that they may be interested.
“It’s always important that you can present a strong forefront to make people interested in you,” Cohen said. “One of my favorite quotes is ‘character is doing the right thing when no one is watching you’.”
Cohen said the most important thing is making sure that they are academically ready to become a part of an organization.
Nationally, Phi Beta Sigma requires its members to be men who attend a four year college or university on a semester system, have a minimum of 12 credit hours and a minimum GPA of 2.5.
Duncan knew Phi Beta was something he wanted to be a part of after doing his research.
“I chose Phi Beta Sigma because I did my research on the rest of the fraternities of the Divine Nine,” Duncan said. “They somehow had a stereotype, and you had to change your personality to fit theirs, and that’s not what I was all about.”
Duncan valued this aspect of Phi Beta Sigma because he knew he could be himself.
“Phi Beta Sigma is willing to accept anyone who is willing to do the work,” Duncan said. “You have to be able to bring something to Phi Beta Sigma; they’re not here to change you whatever qualities you have. They’re there to enhance them, not change them.”