OHIO unveils new National Pan-Hellenic Council Plaza
Ohio University unveiled the new National Pan-Hellenic Council Plaza on Friday, April 21 with a gathering of University and student leaders and students who make up the multiple National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) organizations at OHIO.
“With this plot dedication, I think it represents more exposure on our campus to the diverse identities and organizations we have available at OHIO,” Roosevelt Boone, a junior studying sociology and criminology who is part of Phi Beta Sigma, said. “With the National Pan-Hellenic Council Plaza, we want to pay homage to our organizations and their founders and give the community a brief synopsis of the founding principles we have been exemplifying around campus.”
The NPHC Plaza honors historically African American fraternities and sororities, which have had a presence on OHIO’s campus for more than 100 years. The goal of the plaza, which is located near Scripps Amphitheater on College Green, is to increase visibility of the NPHC organizations on campus and show the University's dedication and continued support of the NPHC organizations that have been a fixture at OHIO for over 100 years. It provides not only a public representation of NPHC organizations, but also a "home" for students and alumni to gather.
“Our organizations have a long and proud history of service, leadership, and scholarship and we are excited to have the opportunity to share our message with the broader campus community,” Tenia Robson, current president of the NPHC and applied nutrition and dietetics and public health double major, said during the event. “As we celebrate this moment, it is important to reflect on the significance of this unveiling. For too long, our voices have been marginalized and overlooked but today we are taking a bold step forward. We still have much work to do to ensure that organizations are fully recognized and valued not just on this campus but in society at large and we must continue to advocate for equity, justice, and inclusion. Let us continue to work to uplift and empower our community.”
In addition to uplifting the organizations and students that make up the NPHC, the NPHC Plaza will also provide an opportunity for the community to learn more about these important organizations.
During the ceremony, which concluded National Pan-Hellenic Week, several student leaders, as well as Vice President for Student Affairs Lyn Redington and Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Salome Nnoromele spoke on the importance of the Plaza and on the work the students’ part of these organization do on campus.
“This incredibly beautiful NPHC Plaza is a visual representation of our commitment to the students who have come before us, the students who are here today, and the students that will be here tomorrow. This Plaza is a place to gather and honor the generations of alumni who have served OHIO and our community, near and far,” Redington said.
The plaza includes nine individual pillars that represent and celebrate each of the Divine 9 – the nine organizations that comprise the National Pan-Hellenic Council. With its circular design, the intent of the plaza is to show the solidarity and strength of all nine organizations uniting as one, yet how each individual organization still rises individually to share their specific values. From an aerial perspective it also depicts the formation of the National Pan-Hellenic Council Crest.
“This plaza showcases the diligence and standards that need to be set in terms of expectations, command, and leadership,” Michael Sweeney, a graduate student studying educational leadership who is also part of Phi Beta Sigma, said. “That is the real testament of all NPHC organizations, showcasing what manhood, womanhood, and more importantly, unity can really do in terms of guidance and achievements in and after college. This showcases our commitment toward our values and life after our amazing four years here.”
To create the plaza, the University worked closely with all the NPHC organizations both at the University and national level to ensure the content including letters, artwork, information and colors best represented each of the organizations.
The National Pan-Hellenic Council Plaza was first discussed in the summer of 2016 under the leadership of Sorority and Fraternity Life Assistant Director, Kristen Kardas. It picked up steam with the arrival of the first Director of Sorority and Fraternity Life, Ariel Tarosky. Tarosky and former NPHC/Multicultural Greek Council Advisor Stephen Black, and the NPHC board worked with University leaders to make the project a reality. Funding for the Plaza was a united effort between the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of the President, and the Division of Student Affairs.
A soft opening of the plaza was held during OHIO’s Black Alumni Reunion in September 2022 where current students and alumni were able to connect and view the progress of the plaza together.