In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the brothers of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.’s Omicron Beta Sigma Chapter in Baton Rouge, LA and did an interview with Terrell A. Carter Sr. the President of the chapter.
The position of president of a Black fraternity chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Carter, who is a Cyber Security Engineer, is a newly elected president of his chapter.
We interviewed Carter, who is a Spring 2005 initiate of the Iota Tau Chapter at LSU and talked to him about his position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What does it mean to be a chapter president to you?
To be a chapter president is a tremendous honor. Specifically, being a leader in a Greek organization speaks volumes to the dedication, compassion, and forward thinking abilities one must have. It represents the truest form of how your chapter regards your ability to lead. As president, I have the reasonability to help maximize the potential of every member regardless of initiation or age according to the principles of Brotherhood, Scholarship, and Service.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the surrounding community?
As a chapter, we are preparing to launch several new initiatives as well as revamp a few that are already in place. Each initiative can be categorized under our 3 National Programs – Bigger and Better Business, Education, Social Action and our mentoring program – the Sigma Beta Club.
Bigger and Better Business – Through initiatives such as Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (V.I.T.A.), we provide the community with resources and expertise to help them better understand how to file their yearly Income Taxes. Additionally, we participate in an initiative we call “Adopt A Business” where we select a minority owned business within the community to highlight and recognize.
Education – One of our biggest annual initiatives is sponsoring a scholarship program. This program recognizes the academic excellence of graduating young men in the Baton Rouge area. Each senior participating in the program receives a certificate of achievement as well as an opportunity to apply for our chapter scholarship. Last year we were able to award $6,000 in scholarships.
Social Action – Through Social Action we are able to service the community in a multitude of ways. As we navigate the new normal, there are several opportunities that we can invest our time and talents in. We participate in several community rallies, marches, serving meals to those in need, and more. One organization in particular we frequently work with is called The BR Walls Project. Their mission is to build a vibrant creative economy through public art, workforce training, and blight remediation.Their involvement with the community aligns directly with one of our founding principles of the “inclusive we” rather than the “exclusive we”.
Sigma Beta – Our mentoring program is designed to develop wholesome values, leadership skills, as well as social and cultural awareness for youth at a critical stage in a young person’s personal development. Using their nationally mandated curriculum titled “Rising Thunder”, Sigma Betas engage in bi-weekly activities and multiple service projects throughout the year. We strongly believe that our youth hold the keys to our future so investing invaluable time is of the utmost importance.
What made you want to pledge Phi Beta Sigma?
Growing up I had several Greek influences, from teachers to coaches to family members. One of my high school coaches in particular was a Sigma that challenged me to be the best version of myself on and off the field. He was one of the most influential people in my life at that time. Not only was he active in his fraternity but he managed being a passionate coach, influential teacher, a great Father, and a caring Husband.. That along with my own research showed me everything I needed to know to make the best decision for me in choosing Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Omicron Beta Sigma chapter is entering our 90th year of existence. In those 90 years, our chapter has cultivated leadership on various levels including a former International President, 2 members of the Distinguished Service Chapter – which is the highest honor in the Fraternity – as well as a host of past and current local, state, regional and national level positions. In addition to those accolades, we also have an added perspective in advising both collegiate chapters in Baton Rouge at Louisiana State University and Southern University.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think alumni chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2021?
To represent ourselves in an ever changing world we must be able to adapt to the new normal while continuing to focus on service in our local communities. Using a digital platform can allow us to reach audiences that were previously inaccessible due to geographical constraints. This is our chance to be true innovators and find creative ways to leverage every digital platform that we are a part of. We will need to work together in promoting each other’s virtual programs and activities in addition to being a part of a collaborative learning effort to increase our digital skill-set.
How is your chapter adapting to navigate the pandemic?
Navigating through a pandemic has definitely presented some challenges. Our chapter has had to deconstruct everything we’ve grown to know and change our usual routine. This includes virtual meetings, events, and programs. Under my leadership, adjusting to the virtual aspect of managing a chapter and its operations is a priority. We are striving to make progress in the right direction while learning new technology, exercising patience, and extending grace understanding that “Murphy’s Law” will come into play.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is about pushing individuals beyond what they think is their comfort zone but also understanding that everyone has their own special talents and gifts. For me, it’s my job to find creative ways to push the chapter to new heights. Leading means making sure each brother is put in position not only to excel but inspire the brothers around them to be great.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
What you do at Watch The Yard is outstanding and the way you highlight each organizations’ principles is truly unmatched. There’s plenty of hard work being done across the National Pan-Hellenic Council and your team continuously provides a great source of information that all Greeks can be proud of . Watch The Yard plays a vital role documenting our past and solidifying our legacy to ensure our impact on generations to come.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
In my experience, there isn’t a word or situation that can properly describe brotherhood; it is simply a feeling. Brotherhood is the feeling that overcomes you when you see another brother giving as much as you are to represent your letters. It is the sense of pride when your big brothers push you to do better and be better and at the same time a young brother thanks you for your insight and support. Brotherhood is the cornerstone of a fraternity. It is built on blood, sweat, and tears nurtured through support, guidance, and trust. Nothing you want to last can be built on a foundation that is not solid. Thus brotherhood is the principle that has helped us achieve over 100 years of progress and will continue to guide us on that path of greatness.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
Aside from supporting both collegiate chapters monetarily, we offer guidance and support on how these collegiate chapters can impact their campuses through meaningful programs. community outreach, and continuing their own learning. Building relationships between collegiates and alumni chapters helps foster a relationship to address the generational gaps between the chapters. Guiding collegiates in carrying out the business of Sigma helps them transition into alumni chapter smoother.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Terrell A. Carter Sr. for his work as the President of the Omicron Beta Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma.