This fraternity’s foundation was built on five objectives, “to promote the spiritual, social, intellectual, and moral welfare of the members.” Historically an African American organization, it was created with the goal of defying the social normalities of the time and pursuing of a healthy collegiate career.
The organization’s desires stemmed from stimulation of African American youth and creating structure for challenging normalized social roles prescribed to the young African American community.
Today, Kappa Alpha Psi still lives in the name of racial justice and brotherhood. While historically African American, the organization has always taken on a welcoming role to men everywhere despite their color, religion or origin. It is the physical embodiment of hard work, dedication and the founders’ dream. To this day, Kappa Alpha Psi continues to be one of the only historically African American fraternities – also known as part of the Divine Nine.
The Divine Nine is made up of nine fraternities and sororities. These nine Greek organizations are the only historically African American fraternities and sororities in the world. An article published by the organization explains that “Kappa Alpha Psi is the 2nd oldest existing collegiate historically Black Greek Letter Fraternity and the 1st intercollegiate Fraternity incorporated as a national body.”
Kappa Alpha Psi is more than just a fraternity, it’s a community. It not only impacts campuses but also the surrounding factions. Chapters play a vital role in community outreach programs such as feeding the homeless, providing scholarships and hosting blood drives.
Kappa Alpha Psi has had an impact across the globe and even on Washburn’s campus. Globally, the organization follows a line of achievement and service. They are located all over the world and take a special role in natural disaster aide.
Locally, a specific campus member has taken on a important role in the organization’s welcoming to campus. Cedrick Henderson-Smith, the President of Kappa Alpha Psi, has been working on it’s incorporation for three years.
Henderson-Smith was attracted to the history behind the organization. He saw value in the motives behind the fraternity. He felt strongly that it would be a great addition to Washburn’s campus.
After becoming aware that the fraternity had a history on campus, but was no longer here, Henderson-Smith did some research and found that becoming a member was going to be a strong feat.
People who were interested in the fraternity were originally forced to partake in intake through K-State in Manhattan, KS. After a year of attempting to bring the fraternity back to Washburn, the process was complete.
“It was a lot of hardwork,” Henderson-Smith said, “but with a lot of hard work, it paid off.”
In Spring of 2018, Kappa Alpha Psi was officially back on campus. Now, according to Henderson-Smith, the biggest obstacle is letting people know of its existence here at Washburn.
Henderson-Smith is the only full member of the fraternity here at Washburn. Approximately six people have expressed interest in joining, leaving Henderson-Smith to face the challenge of recruiting.
In an effort to get the word out about the fraternity, he participated in welcome week and will be hosting a Step Show in February. His priority, before graduating, is to make sure he has active members of the fraternity so that Kappa Alpha Psi remains prevalent at Washburn.
Henderson-Smith hopes to remain connected to the fraternity post graduation. He realizes that having a house on campus is not a realistic goal at the moment, but aspires to some day help and be a part of that process, even if he no longer attends Washburn as a student.
Henderson-Smith would like to give a huge thank you to Danielle Dempsey-Swopes. Dempsey-Swopes, the director of University Diversity and Inclusion, has been Henderson-Smith’s advisor and mentor throughout the entire process.
“It’s not what the fraternity or sorority can do for you, but it’s what you can do for the fraternity or sorority,” Henderson-Smith said.
With the essence of leadership at heart, there’s no doubt that Kappa Alpha Psi is an excellent addition to our campus.