Omega Psi Phi impacts community, membersBy Christian Elliott | 10/21/2015 7:07pm
The members of Omega Psi Phi strike a pose for the camera. Courtesy of Jay Beaman
Throughout Derek Lee Biddings II’s youth, he witnessed an older cousin never give up regardless of the constant struggles he faced. His cousin was put through the difficulties of an illness to his wife, but he would not slow down. He never stopped working hard in order to provide for his daughters and his family. His cousin said he learned these qualities from his collegiate fraternity Omega Psi Phi, and that has had an impact on Biddings.
From the individual accolades to the collective accomplishments of the organization, the Omega Psi Phi chapter at The University of Alabama has been able to create a story that reads of honor and success. The 17 current student members and the alumni emanate brotherhood. The impacts of the tight-knit family can be found from the Black Belt region that they constantly aid to the classrooms of Tuscaloosa schools to local charities and events.
According to the official website of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, “Omega Psi Phi does not seek members; quality men seek Omega Psi Phi.”
Former Chapter President Jaylan Fields is a legacy member of the organization. Current Chapter President Jeromey Beaman saw the qualities and attributes that were embedded into his mentor by the fraternity. Beaman wanted to seek what made his mentor this way.
“We say we want the best of the best,” Beaman said. “We are an open enterprise, but we want the best we can get.”
Member Ian Williams is a first generation member and was attracted by the tight-knit relationship between members.
While most organizations require 12 credit hours, The University of Alabama’s Omega Psi Phi requires individuals to have a minimum of 36 hours before candidates are eligible for membership.
The Beta Eta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, which is specific to The University of Alabama, was founded on April 20, 1974. There are currently 17 active student members in Beta Eta, which is the UA undergraduate chapter, and over 70 Alabama graduates in Alpha Tau. They still play a major role in the fraternity.
Football standouts Ozzie Newsome, Jeoffrey Pagan, Wallace Gilberry, Freddie Robinson, John Mitchell and Johnny Davis, as well as Artis Brown, the Exxon junior-executive, are all members of The University of Alabama’s Omega Psi Phi fraternity.
One of the main philanthropies that Beta Eta is associated with is the Black Belt Community Foundation out of Selma, Alabama. The fraternity donates a large sum of money and is actively involved with the foundation each year in order to help the impoverished area. The Black Belt region is one of the poorest regions in all of the United States, and all new members give a donation to the foundation when they first enter the fraternity.
This year the brothers of Omega Psi Phi will be actively engaged in the Young Men Leadership Program. Following a training period designed to prepare them for all they may encounter, the fraternity members will go to local Tuscaloosa schools to mentor at-risk children.
“We mentor kids who may not have father figures in their lives and guide them into the right direction,” said Benjamin Smith, former chapter secretary.
Throughout the year, Omega Psi Phi stays active within the community, visiting and helping with local organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, Tuscaloosa Housing Authority and Race For the Cure. The Fraternity also hosts a scholarship pageant where all earnings go on to assist three undergraduate women with the cost of their education.
At the 2015 Annual Greek Excellence Scholarship Banquet at The University of Alabama, the Beta Eta Chapter won the most awards of the both the IFC and NPHC fraternities. The chapter was honored with the Scholarship Award, Risk Management Award and Best Fraternity Award. Omega Psi Phi also won the Homecoming Step Show for the NPHC fraternities.