A new garden on campus pays tribute to nine historically African-American fraternities and sororities and their impact on Wake Forest and the larger community.
The National Pan-Hellenic Council Garden, located on Manchester Plaza near the Benson University Center, is a sign of the University’s “commitment to inclusion and diversity,” said President Nathan O. Hatch at the formal dedication of the garden on Oct. 1.
The garden has nine brick and granite podiums — one for each of the fraternities and sororities that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) — arranged in a circle around a larger podium with a plaque describing the history of the NPHC.
Senior Christina Sandidge, president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, said she hopes the garden will bring about an awareness of the NPHC groups and provide a space that will bring all students together. “The garden brings to the attention of many here the existence of these organizations within the community, what they mean to each of us who belong to them, and what it is that we can bring to the University through our role as members,” she said.
Fraternities and sororities in the NPHC include Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity.
Several of them — Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Delta Sigma Theta and Phi Beta Sigma — are active at Wake Forest. Two others — Alpha Phi Alpha and Omega Psi Phi — have been active at Wake Forest in the past.
“This garden is a tribute to the generations of alumni who have served Wake Forest and the broader community as part of National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations,” said Provost Jill Tiefenthaler. “I am pleased to see this tangible part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion — a special place in the center of our campus to serve as a gathering place for organizations that are at the center of our community.”
Many historically African-American colleges and universities have similar gardens, and the idea has spread to other schools in recent years, said Alta Mauro, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. The NPHC organizations were founded during a time of racial segregation and discrimination and were — and are — important parts of the African-American community, she said.
The organizations and its members played important roles in the civil rights movement, women’s suffrage and in other areas, she said. “This should raise awareness of the diversity that exists in Greek life and the contributions that these organizations have made at Wake Forest and in U.S. and international history,” she said.
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