For hundreds of years, the National Panhellenic Council (NPHC), consisting of nine fraternities and sororities nationwide, have seen plots of land dedicated to their organizations, but the process can be summarized as an uphill battle on college campuses.
In recent years, colleges like Indiana University and Appalachian State University have began to see plots of their NPHC fraternities and sororities, which are historically African-American, to promote inclusion, and Ball State may be joining them.
Plots of land dedicated to African-Americans can be traced back to slavery beginning with Thaddeus Stevens, a U.S. representative that declared a plot of land, commonly known as 40 acres and a mule, be given to freed slaves.
With this idea in mind, the first plots of land dedicated to historically African-Americans sororities and fraternities at historically black colleges and universities, like Howard University, Morehouse College and Spelman College.
Plots of land for NPHC fraternities and sororities — 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 Sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity — are considered a sacred tradition for chapter members and alumni.
NPHC President and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Michaela McCulley said past NPHC presidents have worked every year hoping to see a plot at Ball State.
“There are a lot of legalities that goes into having that kind of branding on Ball State’s campus, so although it is a slow process we make more and more progress each year,” McCulley said.
Plots of land can be plaques inscribed on a bench, tree, wall or pillar, etched with the organization’s crest and colors following the year they were established.
With Ball State celebrating its centennial, organizations within the NPHC relate to celebrating its growth.
“Each organization of NPHC that is here on Ball State’s campus was chartered here which is a rich part of our history," McCulley said. "We would like to show that pride and history to our members and to the campus.”
As the university has received recognition and celebrates its centennial, McCulley said the NPHC would be enthusiastic about receiving land to commemorate its legacy.
“To me, it would mean that this institution is allowing the history of our organizations to be incorporated with the history of the school,” McCulley said.
The Daily News reached out to the Office of Greek Life and received no response.
Kenneth Cohen, member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., said plots are essential to the campus because it symbolizes representation.
“I think it will help solidify [that] Ball State believes in us as a council by allowing us to have that symbolic sound [of] constant representation that will be seen,” Cohen said.
Cohen admits while the plot is in the early stages, financing and finding a location for them are two challenges that will determine the project.
A task force of NPHC members will begin working with the Office of Greek Life to push this project forward.