Kappa Alpha Psi celebrates its history as Illinois’ oldest black fraternity

Normally when people think of the colors red and white they think of Valentine’s Day. Everywhere you go you see couples holding hands, smiling and doing too much of what we call ‘PDA.’ But in February, shades of red and white represent more than just a lone day of hearts and chocolate.

The men of the Greater Beta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi are celebrating their 99th Founders Week between February 5th and 12th.

The fraternity was founded on this campus on February 8, 1913 and has been growing ever since. With each member proudly wearing red and white around campus, the men can’t help but feel excitement about the up and coming week.

Their newest member Dennis Owusu, senior in LAS, said that the being a Kappa is important to him.

“(The best part is) being able to continue a legacy of the Kappas before me and having an impact on the black community.”

Kappa Alpha Psi men have committed themselves to serving the Champaign-Urbana community. They have volunteered at the Women in Transition Shelter, Habitat for Humanity Restore, raised money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and more.

“We are trying to educate and serve people,” said Stephen Edwards, senior in LAS. “At the end of the day it’s all about service.”

During their Founders Week, not only will they continue to serve the community through discussions, drives and raising money, but they have also included fun activities for students including “Pie the Nupes” and “Nupe Hoops.” But what really makes this week special?

President Rodney Simpson, senior in Engineering, explains how Founders Week is the time when all eyes are on them — not only because of the fraternity’s history, but because of the large impact they have on this campus. He emphasized that people get a chance to really interact with each member and have a closer connection to the fraternity.

Ivory Hill, senior in Engineering, explains that the fraternity truly lives up to what they stand for by going about different experiences in the right way.

“We have a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to everything,” Hill said.

Vice President Brandon Herring, senior in Media, believes this week is special because of the history behind the fraternity.

The Greater Beta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi was the the first black fraternity as well.

Among the week’s events Herring mentioned was the ‘Lunch & Learn: G.L.A.D. (Greeks Learning to Avoid Debt) Keeping the Dollar in the Black Community.’

“Everyone wants to be rich, but we want to teach them how to turn rich into wealth,” Herring said. “Being financially stable and independent is the goal.”

Other exciting events include ‘Border Challenge Blood Drive 2012’ with the American Red Cross at FAR, ‘KosmiK Bowling’ at the Illini Union Rec Room and ‘Krimson Lounge’ at the Highdive.

Even with all the events, the one that seems to catch everyone’s attention is the Annual Krimson and Kream Ball. The event will be held at the Holiday Inn in Urbana this Saturday night. Instead of dressing up for a regular party, students get the opportunity to dress in gowns and suits to celebrate this special occasion.

The Kappas have high expectations for this annual event because of it’s traditionally classy and elegant tone.

Michael Walker, senior in LAS, explains that the reason why this is the event he is looking forward to the most is because it allows everyone to socialize with the fraternity and each other.

“It’s an event the Kappas before me created so I’m carrying on the torch,” said Anthony Wilson, junior in Business.

Students who are not a part of the fraternity are also excited about the ball. Many students have already bought their tickets and have planned out their outfits.

“I expect class, a nice atmosphere and great people,” said Kyle Granger Jr., sophomore in ACES.

“I do expect people to learn more about Kappa Alpha Psi during their Founders Week and have a great time.”