Construction begins on UW-Madison Divine Nine Garden Plaza after successful fundraiser
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Teams at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Fraternity and Sorority Office of Student Affairs have surpassed their fundraising goal for a project that will honor the nine National Panhellenic Council organizations on campus.
Just over a year after the launch of the Divine Nine Garden Plaza Fund, the campaign surpassed its goal of raising $250,000 by raising $275,000 for the project.
Student Affairs is moving forward with construction in the plaza this spring and plans an unveiling in May 2022.
The idea of a permanent marker on campus to honor the National Panhellenic Council and its nine historically black fraternities and sororities was prioritized in 2019 by the Student Inclusion Coalition.
“This project is important because representation matters,” said Israel Obey, class of 2021 and member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.. “There are too many students of color, especially black students, who feel like imposters on their own campus, unsure if they should even call themselves Badgers. This project will remind every student of color who walks past the square on a daily basis that they not only belong on this campus, but are honored and recognized by the University.
The first NPHC chapter was established at UW-Madison in 1946, and many on-campus chapters were the state’s first undergraduate chapters.
“Having the Divine Nine Garden Plaza is a reminder of our importance to campus,” said Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. member Noah Cotton. “Our organizations have existed on the campus of UW-Madison since the 1940s, and for me, personally, being a member of Omega Psi Phi has helped me grow as a person in so many ways.”
Fundraising included 259 individual donors from various NPHC organizations, faculty and staff, alumni, and the Office of the Chancellor and Student Affairs.
“Divine Nine Garden Plaza celebrates all NPHC organizations in the light they deserve as influential student leaders on campus for decades,” said Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Lori Reesor. “This space will be a visual representation of the community our students have built here, and I am grateful to everyone who has supported them to make this possible.”
The official unveiling of the Divine Nine Garden Plaza in the Vilas Green at 333 East Campus Mall will take place on May 7, 2022, in a celebration open to the public.
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