University of Southern Indiana

A New Era

By Khiry Cousert ’18

Growing up, the thought of joining a fraternity never crossed my mind due to lack of knowledge and/or lack of interest. But as I got older I found out how complicated life really is, and realized that I couldn’t do it all own my own.

By definition, a fraternity is a group of people sharing a common profession or interests. My fraternity—Alpha Phi Alpha (AΦA) and its campus chapter Phi Epsilon—means more than that to both me and the University. AΦA was the first intercollegiate African American Greek lettered organization to bring a large sense of diversity to predominantly white campuses. In a time where ill-equipped political officials discourage diversity and inclusion, it’s now that much more important to push for equal opportunity across all platforms.

three USI Alpha Phi Alpha members laughing

Joining Alpha has changed my life. It’s prepared me as a professional by providing me with opportunities to serve and lead on a broad scale, instilled in me the confidence to address and advocate for issues that have troubled our people and nation for centuries, and granted me a platform to represent something bigger than myself. Although USI is little more than 50 years old, it’s come a long way in a substantially short time.

Being a charter member of the Phi Epsilon chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. has allowed me to participate in improving and evolving this campus. The fraternity has a long history of great men who’ve paved the way for generations and being in the same class as these extraordinary men spoke volumes to me in terms of who I aspired to be.

This organization emphasizes the importance of selflessness and sacrifice, traits that I’ve carried with me my entire life. Some might consider an African-American fraternity as tomfoolery or insane, but the founding brothers understood the differences that could be made to many lives. 

AΦA has inspired me to achieve and excel, in addition to leaving a legacy for those who come after me. Thanks to the valiant acts of a few, countless lives have been impacted, and I’m beyond proud to say that I belong to an organization that’s truly for the people. We offer community outreach through several initiatives—some in collaboration with other organizations—to aid downtrodden humanity to achieve higher social, economic and intellectual status.

For instance, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation collaboratively executed Project Alpha in 1980 to give instruction, inspiration and expertise on responsibilities, relationships, adolescent pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases for young males ages 12-16 years, providing young men with current and exact information to avoid teen pregnancies. That is just one of our four advantageous national programs, each promoting betterment to uplift all individuals.

All 6 Alpha Phi Alpha members

Laconically, I am grateful for the opportunity to be one of the six founding members of USI’s new chapter. I can confidently say we look forward to doing the work of Alpha by serving the Evansville and USI communities.

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