Omega Psi Phi Fraternity inc. is coming to Charlotte this week for its 83rd conclave, but for Anthony Sterling Jones II, it will be his first.
Jones is a spring ’16 initiate of the Xi Psi chapter at South Carolina State University. He missed the last two in-person conventions (Las Vegas in 2016 and New Orleans in 2018), so he’s happy that his first conclave experience will be in his hometown.
The fraternity’s international convention is held every two years. After being virtual in 2020 due to Covid, the event returns to an in-person format in the Charlotte from July 21 through July 26.
Omega Psi Phi was founded in 1911 at Howard University, the first international fraternal organization established at a historically Black college.
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The fraternity has chartered more than 750 undergraduate and graduate chapters throughout the U.S. and across the globe, including in Africa, Asia and Europe.
Charlotte will host thousands of its members throughout the week to conduct business meetings and host a number of events, including step shows, career expos, community outreach and more.
QCity Metro spoke with Jones about why he joined the organization and what he looks forward to during his first conclave.
Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Why did you join Omega Psi Phi?
When I got to SCSU, I wanted to be involved on campus. The Omegas were really involved in on-campus activities. They held positions in organization like the student government association and student activities board. They were doing food drives, blood drives and events for the community. Everywhere you looked they were representing. I just gravitated to that. My great uncle crossed Xi Psi in spring ’73, so that played a factor.
How does it feel for your first conclave to be in your hometown?
The city is going to be flooded with purple and gold, from restaurants to barbershops to the street corners. You’re going to see purple and gold shirts everywhere. That’s going to be different. That’s going to be interesting, seeing so many bruhz here at one time in Charlotte.
What is the purpose of the conclave?
We are a fraternity, but we’re also a business. At the conference, we talk about old frat business and new frat business. We discuss new initiatives, programs and the work of each chapter. The main goal is to figure out where the frat is now and discuss how we want to do in the future. We have bruhz all across the globe, so its just one central place for us to come together as one.
With this being your first conclave, what are you looking forward to the most?
I just look forward to the fellowship. Brothers will congregate to talk business, but there’s also going to be parties, cookouts and tailgates throughout the week for us to just have fun. You’ll see people that you hadn’t seen in a really long time.
Why was Charlotte chosen as the host city?
The host city is usually chosen random. It just moves around to different states each year, and this year just happened to be Charlotte.
What is a common misconception about the fraternity that you think people should know?
We’re not just all about parties. We’re not all about just fun. At the end of the day, we do have cardinal principles (manhood, scholarship, perseverance and uplift) that we stand on. We do have goals and aspirations to grow as men.
A lot of people look at us as nasty or as dogs and say we like to party all the time. But one thing people have to understand is that we don’t breed frat boys, we breed men. Of course, when you come into the frat, it’s a lot of fun, but being an Omega is about building a better man.
What are some community-focused events the organization will host in Charlotte?
There is going to be all types of community initiative events next week, including a career fair, health and medical expo and financial literacy seminar. There will also be a panel discussion on institutional racism with D.L. Hugely and Anthony Anderson.
One event that I look forward to is the Youth Leadership Conference at Johnson C. Smith. We will get the chance to speak with local high school kids about college and furthering their education.
What are some fun events you plan to participate in?
My chapter is having a brotherhood brunch, so I get to catch up with all my chapter brothers. I’ll be at some of the parties and be at the step show. My chapter is actually in the step show and will represented for the sixth district, comprises of North Carolina and South Carolina undergraduate chapters. We’ve won the regional competition, so I look forward to seeing how we will do in the overall competition.
How do you think Charlotte will differ from previous conferences?
I was born and raised here, so I’ve seen how much the city has grown over the years as far as businesses and communities. Hosting something like this will definitely bring a lot of notoriety to the city.
Charlotte definitely has the amenities to host the brothers who are coming down. It’s going to be an outrageous number of Omegas flooding the city streets with purple and gold, but I think Charlotte is going to do just fine.
For tickets to events and more information on the conclave, visit the fraternity’s website.