Georgia Southern University held a “soft” ribbon-cutting event in August marking the establishment of a new park dedicated to the fraternities and sororities who make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) on the Statesboro Campus and recognizing the rich history and traditions they have brought to the University.
The NPHC Park plots symbolically and physically represent each organization’s presence on campus and give alumni and current members a location for reflection and celebration. The park unites all Georgia Southern stakeholders through mutual respect, education and celebration. Additionally, installation of these plots upholds the institutional values of openness and inclusion by physically embedding a diverse cultural presence into the institution’s aesthetic and history.
NPHC affiliate organizations are historically Black fraternities and sororities founded to address societal challenges including racism, exclusions, and educational and socioeconomic disparities. These organizations have enhanced a sense of camaraderie and cooperation of underrepresented college students who also formed these groups to build community.
“I am deeply honored to be part of our community that recognizes the long tradition of student leadership and engagement from our NPHC organizations,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Shay Little, Ph.D. “My hope is that these plots will serve as a reminder of this history while also propel the engagement of these student leaders and these organizations forward for years to come.”
The park will be situated next to the Carruth Building in front of Lake Wells on the Statesboro Campus.
“It makes me feel proud that we now have this new space on campus. This process has been years in the making and it’s not only an achievement for the NPHC, but for all of the Black students here at Georgia Southern University,” said National Pan-Hellenic Council President Tyree Pryor. “On a national level, historically our fraternities and sororities fought for equality and recognition in a collegiate space such as this one. This project shows that those efforts were not in vain.”
Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting event took place during the first NHPC mass meeting and a full dedication for the park is planned for Georgia Southern’s homecoming week in October so that the entire NPHC community can celebrate the park’s opening.
Individual chapter members of each of the NPHC organizations chartered on the Statesboro Campus will have the opportunity to become a part of Georgia Southern history through personalized brick or benches at the park, creating a permanent and lasting legacy. Funds raised from the sale of the bricks and benches will be designated to the NPHC Scholarship Fund, which funds scholarships for active undergraduate members of the NPHC Council on the Statesboro Campus.
Community members may contribute to the NPHC Scholarship fund; however, bricks and benches are reserved for recognition of individual chapter members of the NPHC organizations on the Statesboro Campus.