Tyron Waiters serves the community through his fraternity. He is the current president of Harlem’s Phi Beta Sigma Inc., Epsilon Sigma chapter. The historically Black fraternity, recognized best by the colors royal blue and pure white, is marking its centennial this year.
The Epsilon Sigma chapter of Phi Beta Sigma is one of five graduate chapters in the New York metro area. The chapter has over 100 members and helps the community in several ways year-round.
In his second term as chapter president, Waiters is a legal billing consultant, taking care of more than 13 partners. In the fraternity, he oversees five committees, operations of the chapter and serves as an adviser at four local collegiate chapters of Phi Beta Sigma.
A Harlem native, he joined Phi Beta Sigma at SUNY New Paltz in the spring of 1986. He said he joined the fraternity because it was offering something different.
Founded in 1914 at Howard University, Phi Beta Sigma is one of the nine Black Greek-letter organizations that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council. There are nearly 300,000 members of the fraternity around the world. The fraternity is constitutionally bonded with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.
“They were mainly into community, and they were the fraternity that fit my personality, which was community service-orientated. When I was in college [and] I was the president of the chapter, I implemented our first blood drive on campus. We also helped with migrant workers,” he said.
Continuing in his commitment to the fraternity after college, Waiters joined the graduate chapter, Epsilon Sigma, in Harlem. There, he took on several leadership roles before being elected president.
The chapter does several community service projects, including work with the American Cancer Society, AIDS Walk, March of Dimes, New York Cares and the Common Pantry. Working with local youth, the chapter mentors young men through its Sigma Beta program.
Waiters’ position as president is volunteer, but he said that he takes the time out of his schedule to work on these projects because he enjoys the work and enjoys improving the community.
“It’s like second nature to me to take this on. I’ve always been a busy person, even when I wasn’t president of the chapter. It’s part of my nature to be a giver.”
During Phi Beta Sigma’s centennial celebration, Waiters said several things are already planned for the upcoming year. Earlier this month, the chapter held a rededication ceremony at its house in Harlem on the fraternity’s Founders Day. The organization also inducted Harry Belafonte as an honorary member.
In March, Waiters will be helping put together Phi Beta Sigma’s Eastern Region Conference, which is being held in Brooklyn, and in July, members are heading to Washington, D.C., for a five-day centennial celebration.
“There is a certain type of fulfillment you get from doing this type of service,” he said. “The theme for our centennial is ‘There is something special going on in Phi Beta Sigma.’”
Waiters is married to his wife of two years, Jacqueline, who is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority’s chapter in the Bronx.