As the president of Iota Phi, Fairmont State University’s Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, senior Aaliyah Williams has dedicated herself to a mission of service and philanthropy. And for Williams, a Fairmont native, that service is extended to not only her Falcon Family, but also the very city she calls home.
“Making an impact in the city that I’m from has been exciting and it warms my heart,” she said.
Williams, a member of Fairmont State’s Black Student Union who will be graduating this weekend with a major in criminal justice and a minor in sociology, initially chose to pursue her education at her hometown institution in part because it provided a sense of comfort.
“I came to Fairmont State because it was just right down the street from my old home,” said Williams. “Most of my friends from high school were coming, too, and I thought it would be fun to start a new chapter in my life with people that I know.”
Since then, Williams has not only strengthened her lifelong relationships, but she has also taken advantage of opportunities to come out of her shell and meet other individuals who share her common values.
“I was a shy girl before coming to college,” said Williams. “Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and the Black Student Union taught me to just get out there and network. Getting to know people and building bonds helped my personal life and is beneficial for when I may need them in the future.”
Williams’ organizational involvement has enabled her to flourish, creating a space for her to actively engage in her philanthropic pursuits. Just last month, Iota Phi was recognized during Zeta Phi Beta’s 76th Annual Eastern Regional Leadership Conference for its embodiment of the organization’s community service ideals. Iota Phi placed third among all chapters in the Eastern Region in the Z-HOPE Award category. Z-HOPE, which stands for Zetas Helping Other People Excel, is Zeta Phi Beta’s service and outreach program.
“It’s a big moment because we’re just a small chapter here in West Virginia,” said Williams. “I’m very proud of my chapter members and our sorority sisters. If not for them and our founders, we wouldn’t be here today.”
Iota Phi is comprised of juniors Peyton Barnes and Vetra Foster and seniors Erica Lawrence and Williams. Under Williams’ leadership, Iota Phi has participated in campus clean-ups, organized a hygiene drive for a local women’s shelter, collected donations to support victims of domestic violence, offered monetary support to the Bartlett House, a homeless shelter in Morgantown, and donated to the March of Dimes.
“We’re all about trying to help others get back on their feet,” said Williams.
Though her time at Fairmont State is coming to a close, Williams has plans to continue to make a difference wherever she goes. And as she looks forward to entering the job market and beginning her professional career, Williams offered a valuable piece of advice to her fellow Falcons:
“Don’t be scared,” she said. “Go out and just do it.”