Four brothers continue mission of long-standing fraternity

The brothers of Phi Beta Sigma pose for a portrait on Fri., Nov. 19 by the Education and Human Services Building.

The only four student members of Phi Beta Sigma, an all-Black fraternity part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) at Central Michigan University, stand outside Kesseler Hall on a cold October night just before midnight.

The guys dance to music, tell jokes and hype each other up to keep spirits high in the dark. The event they organized, titled "Sleep Out for the Homeless," is one of many the Sigmas have held throughout the semester. 

That evening, the brothers gathered several different items for homeless people that they will eventually donate to the Cass Community Social Services in Southfield, an area that three of them are from. 

So far, the brothers have seen help from other organizations, friends and some passersby. Members of the CMU community drop nonperishable food and lightly used clothing in cardboard boxes. As the holidays approach, the four are ecstatic to make the donation and help a community in need.

Phi Beta Sigma President, Pontiac senior Travell Weatherby said that's what being a member is all about.

"Everything we do as far as volunteering goes, (is) to serve that area (in need)," Weatherby said. 

"Being a member of Phi Beta Sigma has taught me and shown me through it all, even in the roughest of moments, roughest of times, when you just don’t feel like you can do something just remember, just push through," said Detroit senior and Phi Beta Sigma member Montez Allen. "Being a member has shown me that I can get through anything – can’t nothing stop me.”

Weatherby and Allen both recall a time when the conference room they meet in had every single seat filled. Now, due to many brothers graduating, there are four men doing the work of an entire fraternity chapter.

However, with the help of their brothers who have graduated, they still get the work done. Phi Beta Sigma extends their events to members who joined all the way back to when the chapter first began in 1979.

Travell said the four members still talk to the founders on a weekly basis.

"We're spread out a little bit more thinly. But all of the brothers that have graduated, they're always here to help," Weatherby said. "If we need that extra hand, guess what, they have it. If we need that extra foot, guess what, they have it. We get things done because the brothers as a collective, we do it together."

Just like his brothers, treasurer and newest member Detroit junior Bryan Wyatt sees the service that he does in Phi Beta Sigma is something that he will continue even after he has graduated.

“I always carry Sigma with me, so any work that I do from this point on, whether it’s at the school or beyond, will be done in the work of Sigma,” Wyatt said.

Detroit graduate member Sam Rose lives and works in Mount Pleasant. He tries to show up to every event he can. 

"When we throw these events it's not just telling facts and then we stop," Rose said. "We are actually building a connection with the community."

Phi Beta Sigma highly encourages those who would like to learn more about their organization to reach out.

"We really work with a lot of discretion, so as far as rush week… we really try to shy away from that," Weatherby said. "We really work and grow a close bond with people before they even think about joining."

Weatherby said email if you're interested in joining.