In an effort to diversify the social club scene, four students have taken the initiative to recharter and revamp a seventh men’s social club on campus.
Chuck Oputa, Tryce Prince, Shakur Smith and Liam Flowers have formed Noble Kings, a student organization, in hopes of forming it into a social club by fall 2016.
Noble Kings started when Oputa, senior communications major from Dallas, approached Prentice Ashford, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, with the idea to create a different opportunity for students who feel like they don’t fit in. To fulfill this goal, the group will recharter Pi Delta Psi – a club that hasn’t been on campus since 1986 – and change the name.
“I approached Mark Jackson with the idea of starting a social club for the percentage of students on campus that didn’t fit the mold of all the other social clubs,” Oputa said. “I talked to a lot of students while I was in congress and made it my mission to learn about the students that don’t feel comfortable here. They really wanted to have something, so I approached Mark Jackson with an idea of starting a social club that fits their interests and what they want to see from a social club.”
To make his idea a reality, Oputa approached Prince, freshman political science major from Ada, Oklahoma, and convinced him to jump aboard, even though he had no previous desire to join a social club.
“Chuck explained that there was a need for this on campus, and I had to say, ‘yes’ because I wanted to see the people, that percentage on campus, have something they can fit into,” Prince said. “Yes, we figured a new social club would promote that diversity, but that really wasn’t our main goal. The diversity factor plays into it, but really we wanted to introduce a new social club on campus for anyone and everyone that didn’t feel interested in other social clubs.”
All in all, Oputa and Prince simply wanted to generate an opportunity for more men to get involved in community.
“We felt like there was something we could add to bring a different flavor, kind of a rejuvenation, to the social clubs on campus,” Prince said. “Not to outdo them or try to be better, but maybe bring a different approach to the table that they weren’t offering to some of the students in the different demographics. We want it to look exactly what Heaven is going to look like, and that is each and every race and different parts of our campus and different colors, different people; one of our seven pillars that we respect the individual and individuality.”
After conversations about different routes to take, Ashford and the four students decided it would be best to recharter a club and make it their own.
“With a little tweaking, we’re kind of recharting Phi Delta Psi, but that’s more for logistical reasons,” Ashford said. “Mark [Jackson], Chris Riley and Tom [Craig] gave the OK to essentially start from scratch.”
The group has been working since the end of the summer to form the club. For now, Noble Kings is a student organization, as they have to wait a year before becoming an official social club.
“Everything that you see a social club do, they’re in the process of seeing how they want to do it and how they want to approach it, from the name to the colors to the mascot to everything,” Ashford said. “That’s why it takes a whole year, because it really does take a year. It’s not something you can do in two weeks; it’s a long process.”
After talking with Ashford, they took the idea to Mark Jackson, associate director of student organizations and programs. To become a social club, Noble Kings must meet the criteria and generate enough interest to prove it will last beyond the first couple of years of being rechartered.
“Anytime we have rechartered a club, we make it a yearlong process,” Jackson said. “There’s a lot of work to be done. We want all of our organizations, all of our clubs, to be sustainable. We don’t want clubs to come on the campus, and in a year or two years, die off – that’s not doing anybody any good, so the process can be rather difficult.”
Noble King leadership is now working on rewriting Phi Delta Psi’s constitution, searching for sponsors and gathering interest. On Monday, about 30 men showed up to an interest meeting proving the endeavor is worthy of pursuing.
“I think we’re seeing an unprecedented move for so many students to genuinely get involved on campus,” Jackson said. “There’s a lot of different ways to do that, and one way is through social clubs. This is a unique opportunity for guys to get involved on campus and to help shape ACU into what we all want ACU to be.”
While the addition of another men’s social club will offer a different option, Jackson stresses that it has no reflection on the remaining six men’s clubs.
“Anytime there’s the thought of rechartering a new club or bringing a new club on campus, the existing clubs kind of have this thought – and maybe rightfully so – of ‘What’s up with that, why not be part of our club?’ Jackson said. “These four guys, just in looking at what we have on campus, didn’t see themselves in there.”
With the addition of Noble Kings in the future, Jackson and the group of men hope to contribute to the campus’ diversity.
“One of my goals when I took this job five years ago was to see ethnic diversity in our social clubs, and even beyond Noble Kings, we’re doing that,” Jackson said. “I’m excited to look at all our clubs, but especially a club like Tri Kappa Gamma, and I’m excited for the potential that Noble Kings can be.”