A Nupestory: Kappa Alpha Psi Brothers Celebrate Renewed Tree Plot

Current members and Alums of AU’s Kappa Alpha Psi chapter pose for a photo during Saturday’s ceremony | ( Image provided by the Kappa Chi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.)

Current members and Alums of AU’s Kappa Alpha Psi chapter pose for a photo during Saturday’s ceremony | (Image provided by the Kappa Chi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.)

The brothers of the Kappa Chi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. celebrated their 38th anniversary with a tree plotting ceremony on Sept.14. Brothers from across the mid-Atlantic and current chapter members came together to reveal the tree plot, located next to Hurst Hall.

The commemoration ceremony took place 32 years after the first tree plotting ceremony. According to a letter drafted by the chapter, the purpose of the memorial would commemorate the fortitude and achievement of the founding brothers of the chapter-- Phoenix 11.

The red oak tree was carefully chosen by Andre Johnson, Polemarch of the Chapter at the time. “The red oak tree is often tied with longevity,” said Ian Burrows, a junior at American University studying Business Administration. “That's the same idea we wanted to bring on our campus because we want to make sure that not only our presence was going to be here for generations to come.”

Kappa Alpha Psi brothers gather around a plot during a previous commemoration ceremony | ( Image provided by the Kappa Chi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.)

Kappa Alpha Psi brothers gather around a plot during a previous commemoration ceremony | (Image provided by the Kappa Chi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.)

The initiative to bring back the plot was spearheaded by Georgetown University senior Dashawn Cribbs, current Strategus of the Kappa Chi Chapter. “This is the home of my chapter,” said Cribbs. “It’s important for us to have a presence here, as this is our home. It’s also important that we all treat this place like a home, even though we do not go here.”

Kappa Chi was chartered at American University, on September 12th, 1981. The chapter currently consists of students from Georgetown University, George Washington University, and Catholic University Plotting the tree at AU is symbolic of going back to their roots, as well as providing service, said current Chapter Polemarch Naseem Hamed. 

“One of our objectives is going to be to provide service in the public interest,” said Hamed, a junior at George Washington University. “We wanted to bring that same service and inclusivity to American University.”

The designation of land plots for black fraternities and sororities is not unique to American University. National Pan-Hellenic organizations construct plots to represent their group’s presence on campus and to create a space where past and present members can reflect and celebrate.

The brothers of the Kappa Chi Chapter say the tree plot has given them hope for unity on campus, a trait that they believe needs to be strengthened. 

“I remember when I crossed in 2003 at American University, and I remember the culture that was on the campus at that time. It was very much unified,” said Gordon Andrew Fletcher, an American University alumni and adjunct professor teaching Criminal Justice and Public Policy at AU.   

In recent years, Fletcher said there's been some division and tension among the people of color on campus. “This plot is symbolic of unity and of a safe space for students of color and for all students of AU.”

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Images provided by the Kappa Chi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.