July 20, 2021
21-66

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Continues to Celebrate Diversity, Inclusion with NPHC Plaza

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Fundraising Campaign Runs July 20 Through Aug. 20

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University will soon break ground on NPHC Plaza, a visual tribute to Blazer Nation’s commitment to educate on diversity, enhance equity, and embrace inclusivity. An online fundraising campaign to support the development of this project kicks off at 6 p.m. tonight and runs through Aug. 20.

The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Inc., an organization composed of nine historically African American fraternities and sororities, was founded in May 1930 at Howard University in Washington D.C. According to council history, the nine organizations “evolved during a period when African Americans were being denied essential rights and privileges afforded others. Racial isolation on predominantly white campuses and social barriers of class on all campuses created a need for African Americans to align themselves with other individuals sharing common goals and ideals.”

The NPHC became active at VSU in May 1971 with the chartering of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.’s Theta Tau Chapter less than eight years after the university admitted its first two African American students. Over the next 12 years these women were joined by the Kappa Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., the Mu Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the Kappa Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., the Lambda Phi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., the Lambda Beta Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., the Alpha Theta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and the Tau Delta Delta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. VSU’s NPHC was completed in 2001 with the chartering of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc.’s Delta Phi Chapter. 

“The plaza idea has been discussed among students for several years, but until recently we did not have the joint coordination with local alumni representatives to help initiate the fundraising process,” shared Dr. Vince Miller, vice president for the Division of Student Affairs. “It's the generosity of our NPHC alumni that will make this project happen.

“During the pandemic many of the traditional activities that our NPHC organizations host could not take place, but it provided the time to bring everyone together to plan out this project. As we celebrate 50 years of NPHC contribution to our campus experience, I am hopeful the plaza will become an active space for our students and alumni.”

VSU’s NPHC chapters have had and continue to have an enormous impact on campus and in the community. These students have contributed countless volunteer hours and donations to support efforts to make the university and surrounding community an ideal place to live, learn, work, and play. They consistently maintain higher grade point averages than unaffiliated students and celebrate their academic achievements on graduation day.

VSU’s NPHC chapters are the cornerstone of social engagement on campus and drive the social calendar by providing engaging and educational programing for the campus community. Through their commitment to leadership development, these organizations have produced Student Government Association presidents and senators, university ambassadors, orientation leaders, and student representatives on various university task forces.

NPHC Plaza will ensure that past, present, and future generations of the Blazer Nation family understand and appreciate the impact and positive legacy that each of these organizations continues to have on campus.

“As the president of the NPHC, I am overjoyed that all nine of our organizations will be showcased on campus,” said Nfiniti Pierce, who also serves as sisterhood chair of the Lambda Beta chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. “It will be a common place on campus for us to unify and come together. As a member of my respective organization, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., it will be monumental to have such a significant piece of history permanently placed to gather around and bring family and friends to see for generations to come.”

Throughout the planning and development stage of this project, Pierce has served as liaison between the NPHC student members and Valdosta Alumni Chapter. She anticipates graduating in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Education, with a major in Elementary Education and a minor in Psychology.

VSU hopes to break ground on NPHC Plaza on Sept. 18 and host a ribbon-cutting celebration during Homecoming 2021 in early November. It will be located near the intersection of Patterson Street and Brookwood Drive.

Donations of any amount are welcome.

For those who wish to commemorate their support of this project, the NPHC has established a commemorative brick paver program. NPHC alumni who make a donation of $200 or more will be given the opportunity to personalize a paver in a premium location within their organization’s section of the plaza. Friends of VSU who donate at least $100 will be given the opportunity to personalize a paver in the pathway approaching the plaza.

“NPHC alumni and friends, this is our time to shine,” said Ronald Skrine, president of the Valdosta Alumni Chapter of the NPHC who joined the Kappa Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. as a student at VSU. He now serves as battalion chief in charge of professional standards and qualifications with the Valdosta Fire Department.

“This is a very special place for thousands of NPCH alumni, many of whom played basketball on the old courts that were there for so many years. We ask you to join us in honoring our proud NPHC history by helping us build this incredible plaza. I have purchased my brick. I hope you purchase one, too.”

The NPHC at VSU hopes to raise $110,000 to develop NPHC Plaza. Any funds raised beyond that amount will support scholarships for NPHC students.

Visit https://www.givecampus.com/schools/ValdostaStateUniversity/nphc-plaza to support NPHC Plaza.

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