In an effort to become more involved at Webster University, Alyssa Hegwood forced herself to attend the Delta Phi Epsilon philanthropy night her freshman year. The event featured discussion on various organizations the sorority supports.
“I’m not really the type of person to … hang out with a bunch of girls and stuff like that,” said Hegwood, sophomore music major. “So, I was already super nervous like, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to like this.’”
On Sunday, Dec. 2, Hegwood will be initiated as the sorority’s president. She will be the first African-American to hold the position since the Gamma Zeta chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon has been at Webster.
The Gamma Zeta chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon was chartered on Webster’s campus in 2009. Hegwood will be the sorority’s fourth president. Although she is the first African-American to hold the position on Webster’s campus, she said the entire chapter has cultural awareness and diversity.
“Me being the first black president is great and fantastic in a broad-spectrum view,” Hegwood said. “But if you look at the type of chapter that Gamma Zeta is, it’s not like it’s something that would never happen. … Because of the environment we are in and type of girls in our organization, it was bound to happen soon. But it just happened to land on me first.”
“ I have really encouraged her to lead our sorority by our principles of justice, sisterhood and love,” said current president Nicole King, a senior education major.
Hegwood assumed leadership roles early on in Delta Phi Epsilon. She took on the role of sisterhood coordinator her freshman year. The position holds the responsibility of planning events amongst its members in order to remain coherent as a chapter. One of the bonding events she planned was called “Teach Me How to Dougie.” She said this was a way to get the members of the sorority to interact with one another.
Hegwood said she has become emotionally invested in Delta Phi Epsilon. She also said she devotes the majority of her time to the sorority.
When she first joined the sorority, Hegwood thought she was too shy, but she also wanted the chance to get to know people better in the sorority.
“I felt passionate about it. I know if it was in my hands that I could do it,” Hegwood said. “So that’s the reason why I decided to go ahead and run, so I could continue to take us further, take us to an even higher platform level than we were before.”
Hegwood said it is important for the chapter to continue moving forward as the current president, Nicole King, envisioned.
According to the organization’s national website, Delta Phi Epsilon was founded by five women at the New York University Law School on March 17, 1917. Delta Phi Epsilon was one of the first sororities that did not restrict those interested because of religion or background. Delta Phi Epsilon also has more than 55,000 members in the U.S. and Canada.
Hegwood plans to begin more co-programming with other organizations on Webster’s campus. She wants to collaborate with organizations such as Campus Crusade for Christ, Association for African American Collegians and Webster LGBTQ Alliance. She also wants to begin recruiting more members on campus in order for Delta Phi Epsilon to have a stronger presence at Webster.