RU alumni and students step the night away
Radford University students and alumni rocked Bondurant Auditorium on Saturday night in a dynamic, blast-from-the past performance.
A full house packed the Preston Hall venue to watch the campus' first full-scale step show in more than five years. Greek Life sponsored the high-energy spectacle, which featured half a dozen fraternity and sorority chapters of the National Pan-Hellenic Council in various stepping and chanting acts.
The show's title, "The Return of Stomp Fest: The Resurrection," paid homage to step shows of RU's past, said show coordinator Jackie Thomas. Greek Life records reveal that similar performances held in previous years were called "Stomp Fest."
The name is also "a nod" to the resurrection of the National Pan-Hellenic Council on RU's campus, Thomas added.
Over the past two years, campus representation of the council has more than doubled. Eight of the nine historically black Greek letter organizations are now chartered at RU.
"Performing at the step show was an exhilarating experience - especially knowing that we hadn't had one for seven years," said Teryca Edwards, president of the Tau Lambda chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. "It was enrapturing to be able to give the Radford community a little taste of the culture of the National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations."
Stepping is based on a long and rich tradition of African-based communities that use movement, words and sounds to communicate allegiance to a group or tell a story. The stepping tradition in the United States grew out of song and dance rituals practiced by historically African-American fraternities and sororities, beginning in the early 1900s. Today, stepping can be found in schools, churches and community organizations across the country.
Many of the groups who performed Saturday incorporated their Greek letters and mottos into their acts. Cheers of encouragement from the audience echoed throughout the night, supporting the solidarity of RU's Greek Life community.
"I loved the audience," said Jonathan Hunter, a member of the Eta Lambda chapter of Omega Psi Phi. "They really showed Omega love."
Students prepared for months for Saturday's show, which was a highlight of RU's Alumni Homecoming and Family Weekend.
Marvin Martin '00 joined his fellow Rho Theta chapter brothers on stage in a dynamic performance that earned the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. second place among fraternities.
"It was magnificent seeing a jam-packed house," Martin said. "It was just like the shows I stepped in at RU over 15 years ago."
Such memories resonated throughout the event and provided one sorority, in particular, a boost of motivation.
A loss at a competition last semester pushed Step Mistress Haja Kargbo and her Sigma Gamma Rho sisters to fight for first-place honors this go around.
"We worked so hard and practiced with so much focus and determination," Kargbo said.
Their efforts paid off – the chapter placed first among the sororities.
No matter the outcomes, the show was an enriching cultural experience for all involved.
"We hope it will be the beginning of bigger and even better events for the entire campus community," said Robert Marias, assistant director of Student Activities– Greek Life.
Step show results
First- Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. – Eta Lambda Chapter
Second- Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. – DVA Kane Steppers
First- Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. – NER Expansion/Kappa Psi Chapter (VT)
Second- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. – Theta Chi Chapter
Third- Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. – Tau Lambda Chapter