Music and dancing filled the hall of the Sharon Kay Dean Recital Hall in McCray Hall as “KLASH: Shimmy like a Kappa & Stroll like an Alpha”, an event hosted by the Gamma Chi Chapter of fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha (ΑΦΑ) and the Black Student Association (BSA) took place. The event was from 7 to 9 p.m, Friday, April 26.
“The purpose of the event was to mix two different historically black Greek organizations together, and we taught women to do our moves which is strolling (and) stepping,” said Nathaniel Simmons, senior in construction engineering technology and president of PSU’s chapter of ΑΦΑ. “Then, they competed against each other doing each organization’s moves.”
The dance-off was the first event of its kind at Pitt State since the fraternity reactivated in 2018.
“This has been new to campus,” Simmons said. “…but the event itself has been around for more than 30 years.”
The dancers that participated were primarily students from campus organizations such as the Black Student Association (BSA) and Hispanics of Today. They were divided into two groups, and each troupe performed two dances one inspired by Kappa Alpha Psi (ΚΑΨ), the “Kappas,” and one by the “Alphas.”
DaTasha Carlock, freshman in interior design, participated in the event as a dancer.
“I’m part of BSA, so I like to get involved and I’m also a dancer,” Carlock said. “The comradery and being able to build bonds with fellow BSA members (were my favorite parts).”
According to Carlock, the dancers trained extensively to prepare for the performances, practicing “every day for about an hour and a half” for six to seven weeks.
The dances were choreographed, and the songs were picked by her group leader and an Alpha.
The night was emceed by Harold Wallace III, assistant director of student diversity programs and advisor of BSA, and cohosted by Samantha Ruvalcaba, sophomore in Spanish and recreational management, who conducted Greek ‘role calls’ and introduced the acts and fraternities.
During an intermission, the Alpha’s had an opportunity to perform a neo-fight presentation.
“A neo-fight presentation is a new member show, (where) we basically revealed our new member to campus,” Simmons said. “As he became an Alpha, no one knew he was becoming an Alpha, and so the neo-fight presentation is the opportunity for him to reveal himself to the campus and show everybody he is now a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity...”
I Neoline, sophomore in exercise science, attended the event after hearing about it through a friend.
“It was really nice, it was fun,” she said. ‘The reveal was my favorite part.”
Dennis Gettis, a community member, attended the event as the Alpha being revealed was his great nephew, and said watching him “do his thing was cool.”
“It was different than I was expecting, but it was good,” Gettis said. “There was lots of energy (and) I was entertained.”
At the event, Kappa’s and Alpha’s were able to visit from other cities and universities such as Wichita State and Kansas City. Wallace is a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and was able to use his connections to get them involved in the event, and Simmons said the Alphas are “very connected” so he was able to reach out to other brothers in various chapters.
According to Simmons, the night’s purpose compliments what the historically black fraternity is trying to achieve, which is to “change the culture at Pittsburg State University.”
“Being on a predominately white campus, it is very hard and even though we (Alpha Phi Alpha) are historically black, we have been interracial since 1945,” Simmons said. “As you can see, one of my brothers is Caucasian, and so we just want to show them we’re trying to bring a new culture to Pittsburg State University. The Greeks that have been here… we see ourselves as the next level and we want to show everybody that, so we try to put on events like this that the campus has ever seen before.”