The Zeta Pi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. will be celebrating its 45th anniversary with a weekend of brotherhood and networking.
“We have a whole weekend lined up,” said Dervin Cunningham, a senior biological sciences major from Albany. “It’s a lot of different events going on. I think roughly 130 brothers will be in attendance and our chapter is made up of almost 300 [brothers].”
The anniversary weekend will run from April 4-April 6. Cunningham said they will host a golf tournament on April 4, they will open the Zeta Pi Chapter Archives in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Library on April 5 and there will be a post-reunion concert by Branford Marsalis at the UGA Performing Arts Center on April 6.
Andre Sutton, a senior marketing major from Decatur and the president of the chapter, said six out of the seven local founders will be at the anniversary weekend.
Alpha Phi Alpha was nationally founded in 1906 at Cornell University in Ithica, N.Y. It was the first black Greek letter organization.
The Zeta Pi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha was founded in 1969 and was also the first black fraternity at UGA.
The chapter won multiple awards at the 58th annual Georgia District Conference in Savannah. Some of the awards won included Chapter of the Year and Outstanding Brother of the Year, which was individually awarded to Cunningham.
Zeta Pi alumni include Walter Kimbrough, the president of Dillard University in New Orleans and one of the youngest college presidents in the nation, Hamilton Holmes, one of UGA’s first black students and his son Hamilton Holmes, Jr.
Kimbrough attended UGA from 1985 to 1989. His father was in the fraternity at Morehouse College in Atlanta, and Kimbrough said he thought Alpha Phi Alpha was the perfect fit for him when we came to UGA. He said that was a time when there was a lot of push from students to have a more inclusive community.
“It was a period where black students were trying to establish a more firm place,” Kimbrough said. “That was the time we first started having conversations about having some kind of cultural center. It was an interesting time. Georgia was really going through some growing pains.”
Kimbrough said he continues to be an active member in the graduate chapter of the fraternity in New Orleans.
Following the anniversary this weekend, the Zeta Pi chapter will host Alpha Phi Alpha Week, Sutton said.
“It will be a week of events and the events will be catered to different people on campus,” Sutton said.
The week will include Women’s Appreciation Day on April 7, where the Alphas will pass out flowers and cookies by Tate Student Center to the women on campus. Later that day they will have Barbershop Talk, where the men on campus can get a free haircut and talk to the Alphas.
On April 8 there will be a forum at the Zell B. Miller Learning Center. April 9 is Stroll like an Alpha, a team competition for the women on campus. April 10 is the NPHC Art Show. April 11 the Alphas will do community service. April 12 the Alphas will have a cook-out in the morning and the 29th annual Pajama Jam at night. Pajama Jam is a party hosted that brings an attendance of more than 3,000 people. A portion of the ticket sales from the event goes toward its national philanthropy, which is the March of Dimes.
“Alpha Week is basically a celebration of the people,” Sutton said. “School is stressful. Our week is basically a time to relieve the people. We’ll give flowers to the girls to let you know you’re appreciated. We’ll give haircuts to the guys so they don’t have to spend any more money. Stroll like an Alpha is so we can have a little fun. The art show is the same thing about fun. Community service is just to give back to the people. The cookout is to feed the people and Pajama Jam is just to have more fun. So basically, we like to use Alpha Week as a stress reliever for the campus.”
Sutton said the Zeta Pi chapter is a group of men who want to do good for the campus, the community and themselves.
“It’s a group of men who push each other through accomplishments, through striving to be better than normal,” Sutton said. “It’s a group of men who fuel and use each other as resources so that we can help the campus and help our community. That’s basically what it’s like to be a Zeta Pi.”