Collegiate members to be part of Alphas' conference in Orangeburg

Oct 01, 2017
SUN Alpha-Phi-Alpha-Flag

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. will hold its 57th annual district conference in Orangeburg.

From 200 to 300 members from 17 graduate and 15 college chapters in South Carolina are expected for the event, Don Weston said. The district director of the fraternity held a telephone news conference with The Panther on Sept. 26.

The conference will be Oct. 13-14 on the campuses of Claflin and South Carolina State universities.

“It is like a homecoming to be in an area where three of our historically black colleges and universities are located,” Weston said. With 40 members coming from Claflin, S.C. State and Voorhees College of Denmark, they are another reason for the conference being held in Orangeburg. 

The district conference is returning to Orangeburg as part of a rotation between five areas of the state. Its theme is “The Urgency of Now: Community Impact and Brotherhood Unity!”

The two days will include events to which the public is invited and encouraged to attend.

The Oct. 13 public program from 6-7:30 p.m. at Claflin’s W.V. Middleton Fine Arts Center will feature presentation of awards to citizens embodying the spirit and service of the Emanuel Nine, the church members slain in Charleston in 2015, Weston said. Honors will be presented in five categories: political action, safety, faith, volunteerism, educational support.

Living Legends awards will go to two Alpha fraternity members from chapters in the Orangeburg area, Weston said. A reception is planned afterward to further recognize the honorees. This event is free and open to the public.

Weston said the conference includes community outreach and mentoring initiatives. Conference attendees will participate in two projects on Oct. 13 at Brookdale Elementary School and Howard Middle School in Orangeburg.

At Brookdale, fraternity brothers will serve elementary students with the “Alpha Men Do Read” initiative. The project promotes literacy development with a book drive and dedicated reading time.

Alpha men will read to the elementary school students, after which students will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the books, Weston said.  “This is a part of the district’s initiative on improving reading literacy.”

At Howard, brothers will serve middle school students through the "Let’s Tie Things Up" initiative by conducting interactive workshops regarding the importance of a positive and professional male image and career readiness. Students will also receive and learn how to tie neckties and bow ties.

Friday evening the Alphas will hold their public program on the Claflin campus in the W.V. Middleton Fine Arts Building. Awards will be presented in memory of the Emanuel Nine in five categories; political activism, safety, faith, volunteerism and educational support in the community. 

“Those who are selected embody the spirits of those who were killed in that massacre at Mother Emanuel Church,” Weston said.

Living Legend awards will be given to two outstanding Alphas.

Other public events include:

  • Step Show Competition, Oct. 13, 8-11 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium, S.C. State. The competition highlights chapters in the art of stepping and creativity by allowing each team to showcase its individual style and talents. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.  
  • Belford V. Lawson Oratorical Competition Luncheon, Oct. 14, S.C. State Bulldog Lounge (student center). College brothers get the opportunity to enhance and display their communication skills through oration. Tickets are $30.
  • Dr. John Hope Franklin Collegiate Scholars' Bowl, Oct. 14, 3-4:30 p.m., Belcher Hall at S.C. State. A public forum through which undergraduate collegiate scholars demonstrate academic and intellectual knowledge and skills. Free and open to the public.
  • Dr. Hobart S. Jarrett Debate Competition, Oct. 14, 3-4:30 p.m., Belcher Hall at S.C. State. Develops the skills of fraternity members in argumentation and research, persuasion, oral and written communication, and critical thinking. This event is free and open to the public.
  • Miss Black and Gold Pageant, Oct. 14, 8-10:30 p.m., W.V. Middleton Fine Arts Center at Claflin. The pageant spotlights young women's poise, self-confidence, communication skills, intelligence, and beauty. Contestants are provided scholarships to assist with the financial obligations associated with post-secondary studies. Tickets are $15.

For more information about the convention and for tickets, visit

Founded on Dec. 4, 1906, at Cornell University, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity has supplied voice and vision to the struggle of African Americans and people of color around the world. The fraternity initially served as a study and support group for minority students who faced racial prejudice, both educationally and socially.

Famous fraternity members who have been in the forefront of civil rights include W.E.B. DuBois, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Edward Brooke, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Andrew Young, William Gray, and Paul Robeson.

Today Alpha Phi Alpha is comprised of 686 active chapters located in the United States, Germany, Bermuda, Korea, the Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, and Canada. There are 32 local chapters in South Carolina, including Orangeburg and Denmark, and on the three local HBCU campuses.

Weston said the Alpha organization is strong. He has not seen a big decline in membership for those aspiring to become men of Alpha.

“Fall is typically not as busy for membership intake, but I see a lot of traffic this fall, Weston said. 

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