Omega Psi Phi Fraternity
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (ΩΨΦ) is a historically African-American fraternity. The fraternity was founded on November 17, 1911, the first at a historically black university, by three Howard University students, Edgar Amos Love, Oscar James Cooper and Frank Coleman, and their faculty adviser, Dr. Ernest Everett Just. Since its founding the organization has chartered over 750 undergraduate and graduate chapters.
Motto: “Friendship is Essential to the Soul”
Headquarters: Decatur, GA
Colors: Royal purple; Old gold
Member number: 250,000+ members
Affiliation: In 1930, Omega Psi Phi became one of 5 founding members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council(NPHC). Today, the NPHC is composed of nine international black Greek-letter sororities and fraternities and promotes interaction through forums, meetings, and other mediums for the exchange of information, and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions.
Since its founding in 1911, Omega Psi Phi’s stated purpose has been “to attract and build a strong and effective force of handsome men dedicated to its Cardinal Principles of manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift”.
In 1924, at the urging of fraternity member Carter G. Woodson, the fraternity launched Negro History and Literature Week in an effort to publicize the growing body of scholarship on African-American history. Encouraged by public interest, the event was renamed “Negro Achievement Week” in 1925 and expanded to the full month of February from 1976, this event continues today as Black History Month.
Omega Psi Phi is a founding member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council(NPHC), which is composed of nine historically African-American Greek-letter sororities and fraternities that promote interaction through forums, meetings, and other media for the exchange of information, and engage in cooperative programming and initiatives throughout the world. The National Pan-Hellenic Council(NPHC) currently represents over 2.5 million members.
Achievement Week – A week in November that seeks to recognize individuals who have made notable contributions to society. During the Achievement Week, a High School Essay Contest is held and the winner usually receives a scholarship award.
Scholarship – The Charles R. Drew Scholarship Program encourages academic progress among the organization’s undergraduate members. A portion of the fraternity’s budget is designated for the Charles R. Drew Scholarship Commission, which awards scholarships to members and non-members.
Social Action Programs – All chapters are required to participate in programs that uplift their society. Many participate in activities like: voter registration, illiteracy programs, mentoring programs, fundraisers, and charitable organizations such as American Diabetes Association, United Way, and the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation.
Talent Hunt Program – Each chapter is required to hold a yearly talent contest, to encourage young people to expose themselves to the Performing Arts. Individuals who win these talent contests receive an award, such as a scholarship.
Memorial Service – March 12 is Omega Psi Phi Memorial Day. Every chapter of the fraternity performs a ritualistic memorial service to remember members who have died.
Reclamation and Retention – This program is an effort to encourage inactive members to become fully active and participate in the fraternity’s programs.
College Endowment Funds – The fraternity donates thousands of dollars to Historically Black Colleges and Universities each year.
Health Initiatives – Chapters are required to coordinate programs that will encourage good health practices. Programs that members involve themselves in include HIV/AIDS awareness, blood drives, prostate cancer awareness, and sickle cell anemia awareness programs.
Voter Registration, Education and Motivation – Coordination activities that promote voter registration and mobilization.
NAACP – A Life Membership at Large in the NAACP is required by all chapters and districts.
Omega Psi Phi recognizes undergraduate and graduate membership. College students must be working toward a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution, have at least 31 semester credits, and maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average. For the graduate chapter, an applicant must already possess a bachelor’s degree
Like many fraternal organizations, Omega Psi Phi has a rich tradition of practices. While some traditions are naturally secret, many are freely expressed in public. A popular one is referring to members as “Que Dogs” or “Ques” (pronounced /ˈkjuː/, like the letter Q). Another is the practice of members voluntarily undergoing branding of the letters, or variations and designs based on them (such as two linked Omega symbols), on their skin. The brands often are displayed in public as a matter of pride; some prospects first learn of the fraternity by seeing members bearing brands
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