During the semester’s final meeting on Monday, the Student Government Association Senate unanimously approved a bill supporting the campaign for a National Pan-Hellenic Council Legacy Plaza to be constructed on Auburn’s campus.
“This will allow us to work together as a community and promote these organizations and push them to the forefront of our campus and show not only students on our campus but the community that we care about these organizations, we care about these students and we care about a whole inclusive Auburn community,” said Julius Hammond, president of NPHC.
The NPHC Legacy Plaza would be the first architectural indication of NPHC’s presence on campus, and it would join the University of Mississippi as the only other university in the 14 SEC schools with a plaza of its kind.
“The concern right now is that the National Pan-Hellenic Council doesn’t get the same respect and treatment and representation as the panhellenic and the interfraternity council,” said Annie Ozment, College of Science and Mathematics senator, who presented the bill to Senate.
NPHC consists of nine historically African-American Greek-letter sororities and fraternities, commonly referred to as the “divine nine.” Auburn University has three fraternities and two sororities currently active, with members significantly involved with the University through academia, community service, campus involvement and student life.
However, according to Ozment, NPHC organizations don’t have their own chapter rooms like the National Panhellenic organizations do, nor are they able to accept every one without compromising their true essence and meaning and the principles of their beliefs.
“Representation truly does matter,” said Bri Thomas, executive director of elections and a member of NPHC. “We so often hear on Auburn’s campus that people come to campus and don’t see anyone who looks like them and are not able to connect with anything that they feel comfortable with. This is a way for not only our African-American students but students interested in Greek Life as a whole and to highlight a community of people that have achieved so much.”
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Ada Ruth Huntley, College of Human Sciences senator, presented the bill with Matthew Carroll, College of Business senator, at the Nov. 26 senate meeting.
The bill’s passing places SGA among the many other student organizations in support of the building project, including but not limited to the Black Student Union, Harold A. Franklin Society, Office of Inclusion and Diversity’s Student Excellence Team, Ladies Society of Collegiate Success and 25 other Greek organizations.
The plaza will potentially be placed behind Dudley Hall, and it would include nine spots for the divine nine to be represented on campus, regardless of their current active state.
According to Huntley, NPHC is currently in reactivation mode and striving to have all nine organizations return to campus in the next 10-15 years.
To Alexander Hicks of the Sigma Delta chapter of the Omega Si Phi, not providing a spot for all nine would be a disservice.
“This is a legacy plaza," he said. "We’re trying to bring legacy. The whole nine were initially here. We’re still here, some aren’t because they can’t, but to show that they were never here is not what this is about. It’s to show that they have been here, and they will be here again. It’s perseverance.”
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