Pictured above are Phi Beta Sigma member, Macario James, and Hofstra students at the Sigma Event Sigmabucks.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., has made a return to Hofstra University Campus.
Previous Members of the Alpha Alpha Iota Chapter, of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity along with other members of Phi Beta Sigma who are living in the area, are leading a movement for the permanent return of the fraternity to Hofstra’s campus.
The fraternity’s last line crossed in Spring 2004, and the last member of the fraternity graduated from Hofstra in May 2008. The fraternity however, was not banned or kicked off campus, but went through a gradual process of declination of members.
“I don’t like to say faded it out, the focus of the brothers that were on campus turned more towards graduation and their career paths. Unfortunately Sigma took a back burner thus us loosing membership at Hofstra,” Brandon Marinia, Hofstra Alum and member of the Alpha Alpha Iota Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma.
According to “Constitutionally Bound: The Founders of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority” written by Matthew W. Hughey, Phi Beta Sigma, as it is informally called, also known simply as “Sigmas” are a Black Greek-Letter Organization (BGLOs), and a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). The Sigmas can trace their roots to 1914, when three African-American students founded the organization on the campus of Howard University, in Washington, D.C. The students, Abram Langston Taylor, Charles Ignatius Brown and Leonard Francis Moore, founded the fraternity on the basis that they wanted an organization that would truly exemplify the high ideals of Brotherhood, Scholarship, and Service.
“The founders deeply wished to create an organization that viewed itself as “a part of” the general community. They believed that each potential member should be judged on his own merits rather than his family background or affluence, without regard of race, nationality, color, skin tone or texture of hair. They wished and wanted their fraternity to exist as a part of an even greater brotherhood-sisterhood which would be devoted to the “inclusive we” rather than the “exclusive we,” said Marinia.
Marinia was one of the spearheads in the process of returning Phi Beta Sigma to Hofstra’s campus, along with fellow Phi Beta Sigma member Macario James. However, the process of returning to Hofstra’s campus wasn’t easy.
“The campus had a freeze and was not allowing any new or returning Greek lettered organizations to come back on campus. Once the brothers of the Grad Chapter were made aware of the band being lifted; it was decided it was time to reactivate the chapter,” said Marinia.
The process involved a lot of paperwork and communication between the Office of Student Leadership and Activities, Marinia and James, and the Regional and National Headquarters of Phi Beta Sigma. The Sigmas also had to make presentations, and be voted upon by the School and by the African Latino Fraternal Sororal Alliance (ALFSA) to return.
The Sigmas however, are making the best of their return by already participating in the Unity Jam, which was held at Hofstra USA on September 7th, and Sigmabucks, which was held on September 21st. The fraternity is also in the process of planning events with the Black Student Union, and Phi Iota Fraternity post Debate.
“We want to bring back that down south feel of fraternity and Greek life as a whole. We are trying to bring new ideas and enjoyable programs, bring that new breath of fresh air to Hofstra. We want to show the students at Hofstra how and why Sigmas are the sum of it all,” said Marinia.
-Tatiana M. Brown