|Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity to convene in Charlotte|
|Business and service from Aug. 5-8|
|Published Saturday, August 1, 2015 9:37 am|
Members of the first black Greek-letter organization will converge on Charlotte for their 93rd general convention.
Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity will gather next week to conduct business, honor members and contributors of the organization and serve the Charlotte community. The conference is Aug. 5-9 at the Charlotte Convention Center.
Alpha Phi Alpha was founded in 1906 at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. The organization has over 700 chapters worldwide and has more than 290,000 members.
Thomas Turner, vice president of the Beta Nu Lambda Chapter in Charlotte, said the convention is over a year in the making and with an expected 8,000 guests should have a multi-million dollar economic impact on the city.
“It’s been a year-plus effort. We’ve had meetings with our national staff and they have been down three or four times to visit the city and facilities, meet with the convention and business bureau as well as meeting with our chapter.” Turner said. “I believe the expected economic impact is somewhere around $5 million.”
The convention, which takes place every two years, is bid on by cities across the country.
Turner says he believes Charlotte’s success in hosting other big events was the reason it was selected as the host city as well as its location and affordability.
“I think people are realizing that Charlotte is a great city, and they’ve seen that we’ve been able to host the Democratic National Convention, the NBA All-Star game is coming and we host the CIAA (basketball tournament) annually and how Charlotte handles those larger events made it an easy sell,” he said.
While registration for members has passed, the fraternity will have events that are free to the public, beginning with the opening ceremony on Aug. 5 at the Charlotte Convention Center from 6-8 p.m.
The Alphas are organizing a backpack and school supplies drive with proceeds presented to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Ann Clark on Aug. 8. The fraternity will have bins placed around the convention center for donations.
There will also be a health fair, blood drive and a panel discussion on school choice in the African American community. They are all open to the general public and free admission.
Turner said collegiate chapters in the area played a role in meetings leading up to the convention.
“College chapters register delegates in the same way the alumni chapters do and the chapters at Johnson C. Smith (University), UNC Charlotte and Davidson College are also hosts for the convention this year,” he said.
Turner said the conference is a time to conduct business, serve and have the opportunity to connect with one another.
“This convention brings in members from around the world and is a good time to conduct business, come together and socialize, serve, discuss events and programs we want to have and celebrate awards of merit to members who go above and beyond,” Turner said.
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