Life in the historic Omega Psi Phi at UTEP


Jasmin Campoya

Member of Omega Psi Phi, Cedric Napoleon Shamley Jr. takes part in the community within his fraternity.

Nicholas Maes, Contributor

Historically fraternities and sororities have been a part of colleges across the nation for years and UTEP is no stranger to that history. As part of Miner Welcome, UTEP’s fraternities and sororities presented themselves for students to approach and inquire about what it means to be a Greek. One of the many fraternities was Omega Psi Phi.  

A historically black fraternity, Omega Psi Phi is currently getting themselves reestablished at UTEP, was originally founded on Nov. 17, 1911, “By men whose steps were ordered by the Lord because ‘Omega’ is the conclusion and culmination of a successful journey that many men chose as a way of life.” 

Consisting of the Pi Lambda Undergraduate Chapter and the Sigma Tau Graduate Chapter, Omega Psi Phi welcomes members who exhibit the qualities of the fraternity’s Four Cardinal Principles: Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance, and Uplift.  

 “Being a member of Omega Psi Phi means serving the community in each other by maintaining and upholding our four cardinal principles of Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance, and Uplift.” said graduate member Cedric Napoleon Shamley Jr. 

Originally joining Omega Psi Phi at South Carolina State University in Spring 2009, Shamley, who is continuing his graduate years at UTEP, chose the university for its “great graduate programs, research facilities, and faculty advisors.” 

For Shamley, the most rewarding part of being a part of Omega Psi Phi has been “networking education, professional, and community outreach opportunities that allow us to uplift each other and to ensure the success of the members of our fraternities and the communities that we serve.” 

Omega Psi Phi has had its share of famous members, people from all walks of life, from clergymen to athletes to comedians. 

Some notable members of the fraternity include comedian Steve Harvey, sports journalist Stephen A. Smith and famous basketball players like Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan. 

Lucian Sweetenberg Jr. is the Texas Membership Selection Process Chairman in El Paso; he is currently in the process of bringing the undergrad chapters of Omega Psi Phi to college campuses across the state of Texas, including the cities of El Paso and Lubbock. 

According to Sweetenbert, it matters to be a prominent man. Through Omega Psi Phi, members will gain lifelong membership, and opportunities for networking across the country and the world. 

The fraternity is heavy on mentorship and preparing young men for making an impact everywhere. 

Once students become members of Omega Psi Phi, they are required to take part in community, particularly through service. Members have taken part in activities such as blood drives, and highway cleanups, all which have a positive impact on the communities. 

One of nine mandated programs, voter registration also plays an important role in Omega Psi Phi. Not only are all members required to be registered voters, but the fraternity helps at voter registration sites across the city, because according to Sweetenberg, voting is important. 

Through Omega Psi Phi, Sweetenberg emphasized that the fraternity is heavily involved with education, stating that “C’s get degrees” does not work; it is about going above and beyond to exceed the expectations. Similarly, helping others must come from the heart. 

Supporting local programs through health initiatives and social actions is just one of the many ways Omega Psi Phi continues to pay it forward to the community. 

Through the brotherhood that has been achieved through the fraternity, Omega Psi Phi lives out its motto, “Friendship is essential to the soul.” 

If you are interested in joining you can contact Omega Psi Phi at [email protected]

Nicholas Maes may be reached [email protected]