It’s not uncommon to see structures on college campuses recognizing student organizations. From fraternity and sorority houses to special monuments or gardens, these student groups leave their mark on campus.
This fall Georgia College breaks ground on a new project honoring a group of student organizations with strong ties to campus. The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Historical Preservation Plaza will not only celebrate the heritage of these organizations at Georgia College, but also promote a vibrant future.
“We’ve always had the benches, but we’ve always wanted something to really make us feel like we were part of the campus,” said Director of the Cultural Center Stacey Milner, ’11, ’15. ”It was something that even in the early 2000s it was proposed, but there was never the finances or there was never the right space, and so we’ve kept the benches. Then this year, Dr. Dorman was very passionate about giving students something they wanted.”
Representatives from Campus Life presented an idea to students—a unique place on campus to called their own. Students immediately jumped on board. Many had visited other campuses with similar “plots” or distinctive ways to pay tribute to NPHC organizations on campus and were excited to bring something similar to their university.
“We hope it’s going to be well represented, and it’s going to be respected the way it should.” said senior Fidelis Folifac, a biology major and member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. “Our organizations mean a lot to us, and the fact that the university is willing to do this for us, means a lot too.”
The plaza is a symbolic way to acknowledge the historical and cultural significance of the NPHC organizations at Georgia College. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors can visit the site to reflect and learn about the struggles of educated people of color who fought for their right to associate on college campuses during the time of racial segregation and disenfranchisement.
“It will be great because we can now have functions there, and we can bond there,” said junior Jazmin Hunt, a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and music education major. “It will be great to see all the fellowship that will happen.”
Georgia College holds the charter to eight of the “Divine 9” historically African- American fraternities and sororities—unique for a university our size.
“To be a predominately white institution in the south and to be able to say that we hold the charter to eight of the historically African-American fraternities and sororities is phenomenal,” said Milner, a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
Several of these organizations have roots dating back to 70s and 80s at Georgia College.
“We do really feel like, as far as the history of the college goes, NPHC has had a lot to do with the growth of the college,” said Folifac. “We have a lot of NPHC members that serve on boards at the college, and so we really feel like the plaza is a way to leave a legacy here to remind people that we have been very active and very important in the history of the college.”
The Georgia College & State University Foundation is assisting with the funding of the project. The NPHC organizations are also charged with raising a portion of the money for the plaza.
“The students are responsible for raising $9,000. It pays for their NPHC seal. It pays for their flags, and it also pays for the plaques that go on the stone for each organization,” said Milner.
You too can be a part of history and help make this project a reality. To learn more about the National Pan- Hellenic Council (NPHC) Historical Preservation Plaza or to contribute, visit https://alumni.gcsu.edu/nphcplaza.