From the founding of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., on Dec. 4, 1906, the majority of the work and service to community that is the fraternity’s mission has been performed at the chapter level, college and alumni. The Pi Upsilon Lambda Chapter, an alumni chapter based in Prince George’s County, Maryland, has been an integral part of carrying out that mission since its chartering on August 1, 1993 at the New Orleans Convention. The official chartering ceremony (Key 652) was held at the Non-commissioned Officers Club at Andrews Air Force Base on Sunday, December 12, 1993 with then Executive Director, Darryl R. Matthews (now, former General President Matthews).
Pi Upsilon Lambda has focused steadfastly on service to the Prince George’s County community through a wide variety of programs aimed at providing outreach and care for the residents of the county, educational initiatives that assist students in county schools, and informing residents about the positions of candidates for public office and the important role that voting plays in the betterment of the community. These efforts have resulted in the chapter twice being named the Eastern Region Chapter of the Year.
The chapter’s work has continually evolved over 30 years to assure that it is providing an optimal level of service to the community.
For instance, upon its chartering, Pi Upsilon Lambda’s educational initiatives focused on tutoring county students from the elementary through high school levels. The chapter for several years also conducted a college financial aid workshop attended by parents and students across the county. Soon thereafter, the chapter’s efforts evolved into a tutoring/mentoring program at various high schools, with an emphasis on mentoring young men. Some of these mentees, along with other county high school students, participated in a college tour of HBCUs.
The mentoring program evolved into the Youth Leadership Development Institute (YLDI), supporting the fraternity’s Leadership Development Institute Special Initiative.
Through its partnership with the Pi Upsilon Lambda Charitable Foundation, the chapter also assisted with the development of a beautillion program, a rights of passage initiative that helped to prepare high school students for college, a general introduction to society, and the beginnings of college and adulthood. In fact, the Chapter serves all age brackets of the community: babies, elementary, middle school, high school, young adults in shelters, adults and seniors.
The chapter participates in programs to provide backpacks with school supplies to county elementary school students, as well as coats for students in need. In addition, Pi Upsilon Lambda formed a partnership titled “Jingle-Mingle” that has collected and distributed over 2,000 toys to county children during the Christmas holiday.
Pi Upsilon Lambda chapter routinely is among the top fundraisers in the county in support of the March for Babies initiative.
A recent project saw brothers of Pi Upsilon Lambda partner with other organizations to build a play space in an “underserved community” in Prince George’s County.
Further, Pi Upsilon Lambda since its founding has sponsored programs in support of Project Alpha that instruct pre-teens and younger teenagers on sexual responsibility and the importance of respect for womanhood in relationships.
Pi Upsilon Lambda’s early efforts with voter initiatives primarily consisted of voter registration drives throughout the county, usually at county malls. Understanding that students who reached age 18 before an election would be eligible to vote, Pi Upsilon Lambda expanded its voter registration initiatives to include registration drives at county high schools.
Recognizing that all politics is local, in the early 2000’s Pi Upsilon Lambda began to sponsor or co-sponsor (with other members of the Divine Nine) voter education forums where local candidates for public office shared their platforms with county residents. Eventually, Pi Upsilon Lambda sponsored its own candidate forums, focused specifically on candidates for election to county council offices.
There have been numerous other efforts that the Pi Upsilon Lambda chapter has undertaken to directly serve the residents of the county. The chapter at its outset began with an initiative to support seven families in need with the distribution of holiday baskets every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. That program has since expanded, with brothers working with a local organization to distribute baskets monthly to families in need.
The chapter has established a partnership with the Villa Rosa Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in the county. Brothers visit the center during the holidays to spend time talking with the senior residents and to sing Christmas carols.
Two Pi Upsilon Lambda signature programs are its annual Men’s Health Forum and its Father’s Day Breakfast.
The Men’s Health Forum, now in its fifth year, supports Men’s Health Month every June by inviting residents of Prince George’s County to attend an array of informative workshops. The workshops include informative discussions on topics such as preventative medicine, health disparities in minority communities, and mental health.
The Father’s Day Breakfast, now in its 15th year provides an opportunity to celebrate dads and those who are father figures to our youth. But it also includes an annual contest for our youth to write essays about what their fathers mean to them and the importance of fatherhood. The chapter provides prizes to the top three essay writers.
Pi Upsilon Lambda also participates in the Adopt-A-Highway program and is responsible for routinely cleaning a stretch of rMartin Luther King Highway in the county.
From its membership, Pi Upsilon Lambda has provided leaders at the National, Regional and District levels of Alpha including an Executive Director of the Fraternity, an Administrative Director, a Director of Communications/Editor to the Sphinx, a Director of Membership Services, a Director of Educational Activities and an Executive Director of the National Education Foundation, Brothers of Pi Upsilon Lambda have also served as Regional Director of Educational Activities, and General Counsel. Four brothers have served as Associate Area Directors for the District, three have served as Area Directors, and two have served as District Directorfor the District. Members of PUL have served as the MAAC Alumni Vice President, and Treasurer, A PUL brother serves as the primary architect of the Martin Luther King Memorial which now sits on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
Pi Upsilon Lambda Chapter was chartered with sixty-one members, believed to still be the largest chartering chapter in the history of the Fraternity to date.
The past Presidents of Pi Upsilon Lambda Chapter were, in order of service, Brothers
Brother Kevin Stewart currently serves as the fifteenth President of PUL.