The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) at Mississippi State University is seeking support from the community to fundraise for a designated garden plaza to represent the organization and allow space for NPHC events on campus.
The NPHC represents the nine Black Greek Letter Organizations, or the Divine Nine, at MSU. The plaza will serve as a gathering area for the organizations. The project is currently being designed. Construction will begin after enough funds are raised for the materials.
Jackie Mullen, director of fraternity and sorority life on campus, explained her the purpose of the project.
"We have been working on the NPHC Plaza Project for the past four years as we have been working our way through the process of wanting our NPHC organizations to be physically represented on our campus in some way," Mullen said.
While the design is underway, the NPHC is asking members of the community to donate funds to the construction of the garden. The space is meant to function as a symbol of representation for this organization as well as a place to gather for events and meetings.
Dell Ivy, initiate of the Kappa Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and 2021 president of the NPHC, described what the plaza will represent to him.
"The plaza project will symbolically and physically represent each organization's presence on campus. They will give alumni and current members recognition for their organization and, more specifically, highlight the longevity and success of their chapter of initiation," Ivy said.
The plaza is a symbol of inclusivity on campus and is a way of honoring a historical organization in a special way, Ivy said. Black organizations such as the nine chapters of the NPHC have had no space on campus, and the construction of the NPHC Plaza is a step to promoting equality and diversity for those organizations.
Mullen explained her interpretation of the meaning and functionality behind the project.
"Our NPHC community decided that an NPHC plaza would be the best way to display the history, traditions and general information on the Divine Nine chapters represented by the NPHC Council. Many of our Greek organizations at MSU have houses that display their history, traditions and representation on campus, and we wanted a unique way for our NPHC organizations to also be represented," Mullen said.
Jana Berkery, Director of Development for MSU Foundation, oversees fundraising efforts for the organization. She encouraged students and other community members to donate to the project.
"No matter the size of your gift, you are helping create a very special place on campus. When everyone gives— students, alumni, family, friends—the dollars add up; each and every gift is important. In years to come, while enjoying time at the plaza, you can think to yourself, 'I helped make this happen' and be proud that you did," Berkery said.
The plaza will hold a place of importance for members of the Divine Nine chapters composed in the NPHC as well as a physical expression of their experience. Ivy described the intended outcome of the project.
"It is a reward that most of our alumni have been looking to see for many years. The intended outcome for the plaza is simple, showing each organization that they matter and their place on this campus can be seen and cherished for years to come," Ivy said.