Four members of NCCU'S Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma sorority pose holding up their signature hand sign in NCCU's greek bowl. Photo courtesy of Tenay Harrell.

NCCU’s Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma adjusts to COVID-19 restrictions

November 11, 2020

N.C. Central University’s chapter of Tau Beta Sigma has had an effective semester despite the complications of COVID-19,  according to the chapter president Tenay Harrell. 

The band sorority began to feel the effects of COVID-19 last semester because of the cancellation of the new membership presentation that’s normally held in April for all the greek organizations on campus, Harrell said.

“It made me feel like I’d have to work harder in order for me and my sisters to be seen as something ‘special,’” Baker said while using air quotes.

“Probates (new membership presentations) are the first impression, and with things being virtual, we didn’t get to give that in-person energy that we have. But, we have adjusted and are showing what we learned through the service we do.”

With some students returning to campus this fall, the organization has worked to adapt to the new regulations and conditions that NCCU has set out for the year, including a ban on visitation and in-person events, Harrell said. 

“We have had to do everything virtually, which is forcing us to really be on top of our game because you have to make sure more things are in order before the event is started. This includes the link working, being able to show our presentations, and more,” Harrell said. 

The sorority held a virtual event on Aug. 28 with NCCU’s Chapter of Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Incorporated,  on the virtual platform, Zoom.

In this event, the two organizations competed in the online quizzing game, Kahoot, answering questions on the history of NCCU.

The prizes for the winners were two $25 Visa gift cards according to Harrell.

The “Meet the RAHs” event earlier this semester allowed participants to meet the members of the chapter as well as find out what Tau Beta Sigma was all about, Harrell said. The event was named after the nicknames for Tau Beta Sigma members.

The organization also had a movie night that took place on Sept. 25 as apart of Anti-Hazing Awareness week at NCCU.  

“Even though we are still having events, we are still missing our main purpose,” Harrell said. “Our main purpose is to serve the band.”

The first chapter of Tau Beta Sigma was chartered in 1946 on the campus of Texas Technical College by a student named Wava Banes Turner Henry, Harrell said. 

The sorority was chartered at NCCU on Feb. 9, 1974, becoming the 131st chapter to be chartered and the first Black chapter in North Carolina, Harrell said. 

The sorority stands on the principles of leadership, educational achievement, music appreciation and community development.  The organization’s motto is “Tau Beta Sigma for Greater Bands.”

“I joined because I loved what this organization stood for, which was the betterment of the band, ” Spring 2020 initiate Kiara Burnett said.

“I always knew that I was gonna have a role where I was doing something to help my band program grow. I also joined to find a group of sisters who I could connect with and learn from.”

Harrel added that the whole purpose of joining something bigger than yourself is to make you a better person.

She said it teaches you how to be a team player and how to lead when it’s time for you to lead. These values go beyond the sorority and into the member’s everyday lives.

“I am in the process of learning to be an effective leader,” Spring 2020 initiate Destiny Baker said.

“An aspect of that is holding myself and my sisters accountable and using each other’s talents to make something meaningful.”  

There are a couple of programs that the sorority does to help the NCCU Sound Machine operate.

These programs include Turtle Taxi, named after the sorority’s mascot, in which the members of the chapter provide rides to band members to buy essentials. The program also includes music workshops, which help band members improve their skills.

The chapter also performs tasks for the band program such as helping keep the band room neat, printing and organizing sheet music for the band to play, and anything else the band director needs them to do according to Harrell. 

“We don’t plan on letting COVID stop us from doing what we (have) to do for the organization and the band program,” Harrell said.

“We will just have to keep adjusting as things progress.” 


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Four members of NCCU'S Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma sorority pose holding up their signature hand sign in NCCU's greek bowl. Photo courtesy of Tenay Harrell.
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Four members of NCCU'S Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma sorority pose holding up their signature hand sign in NCCU's greek bowl. Photo courtesy of Tenay Harrell.
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