Alpha Phi Alpha: A fraternity of firsts

The Tau Xi chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity is an organization of firsts as the first African-American fraternity on campus throwing its first Miss Black and Gold Scholarship Pageant in its first year.

With only four members, president and senior biology and pre-med major Roderick Hunter says the organization of the pageant speaks to the kind of “men of distinction” in his chapter, which was chartered in May 2003. In only two months, they managed to put together the Feb. 6 event attended by approximately 200 people, he said.

“(The chapter) is not even a year old, so to pull off something like that is a great testament,” Hunter said.

UTD women’s basketball star Kia Jones won the pageant and the $300 scholarship provided by the chapter. Arthur Gregg, Director of Multicultural Services, alumnus member of the fraternity and advisor to the Tau Xi chapter, said choosing between Jones and the other contestants was a tough choice.

Jones continued on to the statewide pageant in Beaumont on Feb. 20 where she won first prize and the opportunity to compete in the regional pageant on March 19 in Fort Worth. Jones said she decided to participate only two weeks before the local pageant and was surprised she won.

“All the girls in the pageant, both local and state, were very talented,” Jones said. “Since I won, I felt like I really accomplished something.”

Other participants in the UTD pageant were first runner-up Ashley Anderson, second runner up Mecca Green, Miss Congeniality recipient Jessica Goffrey, Jessica Johnson and Nkechi Orabuchi, all UTD students. The judges’ panel was made up of UTD faculty, staff and students as well as members of the community and fraternity members from other chapters.

The Tau Xi chapter also participates in numerous fund raising and community service activities such as the Adopt-A-Highway program and working with young people at the Martin Luther King Community Center in South Dallas. Hunter said he and the other members socialize with the kids at the center and talk about their lives and futures.

“It’s a very under-served community,” Hunter said. “(We tell them) maybe school isn’t so bad and that college is an option. You just have to work hard.”

Unlike most Greek organizations, the Tau Xi chapter doesn’t recruit through rush activities, but by conducting interest sessions where young men of all races are welcome. “This is a fraternity for all men who believe in its ideal – manly deeds, scholarship and love for all mankind,” Gregg said.

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