Students at the University of Oklahoma have many avenues through which they can connect with peers and establish community.
One such path is Fraternity and Sorority Programs and Services, composed of 56 active chapters across five Greek councils. These councils include the Interfraternity Council, Independent Greek Council, Multicultural Greek Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, and Panhellenic Association.
The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) is the governing council and umbrella organization for the nine historically African American Greek letter chapters. NPHC "promotes excellence in academics, community and campus involvement, and brother and sisterhood," according to the organization's website.
Makya Stell, NPHC president, explained that each of these chapters has an individual mission statement and goals, and NPHC is the organization that brings together these chapters under a collective mission of serving the community.
Stell, a senior computer engineering major from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is a Fall 2020 initiate of the Kappa Alpha chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. In addition to NPHC involvement, Stell is also active with the Multicultural Engineering Program, Project Threshold, OU Data Analytics Lab, OK-LSAMP Scholars, OU Black Student Association Brigades, the McLaurin & Lewis Leadership Conference, and OU Army ROTC. She works with the Oklahoma National Guard’s 205th Signal Company and after graduation is going to be a second lieutenant commissioned officer in the U.S. Army.
“Community doesn’t just stop at OU while you’re in college. You can make connections all throughout Oklahoma and get different opportunities while you’re here.” - Makya Stell
NPHC hosts events to help educate students about the numerous resources OU has to offer and also to allow students to connect with each other. This includes Hump Days, a time of fellowship held one Wednesday a month. The organization also co-hosts Stompdown, OU's annual step show.
In addition to connecting students at OU, one of Stell’s goals is to partner with neighboring campuses in Oklahoma to build those relationships too, especially in terms of doing community service together.
“Community doesn’t just stop at OU while you’re in college,” Stell said. “You can make connections all throughout Oklahoma and get different opportunities while you’re here.”
For incoming students who are interested in joining a NPHC chapter, Stell recommends doing research to decide which group might be the best fit. She selected Delta Sigma Theta after learning more about the programs facilitated on the national level and the ways in which they focused on community as a whole and not just a specific piece of the community. In terms of OU’s chapter, Stell appreciated the programs designed to help with retention of minorities on campus like ones focused on diligent study time and financial aid support.
NPHC does not have a formal recruitment process. Instead, once on campus, students are encouraged to attend different events to show interest and then later go to informationals to learn more about each chapter.
Regardless of which NPHC chapter students join, Stell emphasized that community service is a key component for all of them.
“Whenever you’re joining an NPHC organization do it because it’s something that you’re passionate about and that you actually want to do and just make sure that your heart is in it,” Stell shared. “I always say community service never stops. Anyone who is looking to serve their community in general should consider joining one of the NPHC’s nine organizations. Joining a NPHC organization has helped me to not only spread socially but also in leadership. This is my first time serving in a president role for a Greek organization, and kind of throwing yourself out there definitely helps you make connections.”