Groove Phi Groove, a fraternity founded on promoting leadership and unity in the African American community, is reactivating its chapter at Howard University. The chapter has been on a hiatus since May 1994, when most of its members graduated. Now, they are ready to be a presence on campus again.
Fourteen students at Morgan State University-then Morgan State College-started the fraternity in 1962 to preserve and pass on the messages of black men like Kwame Ture, and Malcom X.
”I joined this fraternity because it has a strong base, strong Afro-centric ideologies and it teaches us about our heritage,” said Jamille Jones, a member who pledged in 2003 at MorehouseCollege. ”We are not bound to any other messages or ideologies but our own. Our activities and everything we do is based around our people and our history.”
Inspired by black leaders, the founders tried to connect Groove Phi Groove with the original initiation societies in Egypt. The group also strives to alleviate social and economic problems. Groove Phi Groove has more than 30,000 members and more than 150 graduate and undergraduate chapters throughout the U.S.
”Grooves are active at every level– mentoring, teaching, and organizing with a variety of different grassroots organizations,” said Nate Mathews, a member of the Howard chapter since 2004.
Groove Phi Groove distinguishes themselves from other fraternities on campus by not conforming to the paradigms of a traditional black fraternity. “One of the hallmarks of being a Groove is…we don’t try and fit you into how we think you should be– there is room for your own individualism,” Matthews said.
Because we are a young organization, most of the founders are still alive, and there is an opportunity to be part of a living history. Grooves may not be the flashiest, biggest, or most publicized organization, but the Grooves that I have met took the responsibility of brotherhood very seriously. To be a Groove you have to be always looking out for your brother,” Mathews said.
To pledge, a man must be enrolled full-time at a four year college or university, junior or community college, and have a minimum 2.30 GPA. First semester sophomores or second semester freshmen must have at least a 2.50. Prospective pledges cannot belong to any other fraternities, except for academic or honorary organizations. Graduate students must have a degree from a four year college, junior or community college and cannot hold membership in any other fraternities.
Groove Phi Groove will host its Founders Day Celebration on Oct. 12 at Howard University.