The Divine Nine
MSU’s campus represents many different races, ethnicities, religions and beliefs. The Divine Nine plays a big role in giving campus minorities a voice. The unique organization includes nine different African-American fraternities and sororities in the National Pan-Hallenic Council that each focus on bringing a voice to black students.
The nine historically black greek letter organizations include: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity.
The Divine Nine was founded in 1930 at Howard University and has historically played a role in major civil rights events.
Marketing senior D.J. Strong joined Omega Psi Phi in the spring of 2016.
“I feel The Divine Nine is a way for the African-American population on many different campuses to actually have some kind of representation,” Strong said. “Here, being a part of The Divine Nine is a big thing … because there’s not many African-American students or minorities, for that matter.”
Strong is the Peacekeeper for his fraternity. He said Omega Psi Phi’s motto is, “Friendship is essential to the soul.” Strong said the motto represents coming together.
“We really value the relationships and the networks that we build within the fraternity,” Strong said. “It really comes in handy a lot when you’re graduating and you are not sure what you want to do with your life. There will always be somebody in the fraternity that had your job, or that had your career pathway ... everybody goes through these struggles, but if we can communicate and work together, then we can all be successful.”
Strong said that being a part of The Divine Nine has been rewarding. He said the nine organizations are all different, but all value a common goal.
“Each fraternity and each organization has their own different codes and different views on things, but we all basically strive for the same goal, which is equality and uplifting our communities,” Strong said.
Cognitive neuroscience senior Mianna Webber is a member of Delta Sigma Theta. Webber said during the civil rights movement, people had to work extra hard.
“There was a lot of separation and segregation going on," Webber said. "For them to be bold enough in what they were going through as African-Americans back in the 1900s, and to step outside of what they were going through and come together and create these organizations geared towards education, bettering the community, and community service, to be able to come here after all these great people that came before me is very humbling.”
Webber said her sorority focuses on three main points: scholarship, sisterhood and service.
“That is a sorority that … people in my life that are influences are a part of, so it just felt right,” Webber said. “It felt like I didn't have to change who I was to be a part of it. It was meant for me.”
Media and information senior Socrates Montero joined Alpha Phi Alpha in fall 2016. Montero is the treasurer of the chapter.
“One thing I can say is that representation matters at the end of the day, whether we like it or not,” Montero said. “This is something we have to realize as a whole collective, that we don’t see that many upperclassmen who are the same color as you, same ethnicity as you, same language as you or come from the same background as you ... diversity matters, because at the end of the day, this is the future.”
Montero said he wants to use the fraternity to give back to students who might be struggling to succeed.
“(The most rewarding part is) the opportunity to give back," Montero said. "Granted, you can do that without the fraternity, but just being able to show the development that the fraternity gave me before I became a part of it, it just opened up the door for me to spread the same wealth, same wisdom and same knowledge that was given to me upon others who don’t know what they need in life.”