It is that time of year again: Stroll season. Every year, the Undisputed Upsilon Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. puts on one of the biggest events of the year at Christopher Newport University. It is Stroll to the Polls.
“Stroll to the Polls is a dancing, strolling, stepping competition our chapter hosts on campus to promote voter awareness and advocate for people to ‘stroll to the polls’ come November fifth in our state election,” President of Alpha Phi Alpha, Jordan Taylor, said.
Every year, many different organizations compete. This year, there were six organizations that competed: Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Sigma Alpha, Gamma Phi Beta, Delta Gamma, Alpha Phi and Phi Mu. Aside from the competition, there were six showcase performances. Among those were the Beautiful Kids Organization, the Latin Student Association, Prxject Woah, KPC Constellation and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. .
Not only do the teams competing get scored on their dances, there are many other factors that go into their scores.
First is fundraising. Teams can add to their scores by fundraising money. This year, the total amount of money raised was $1,900. Alpha Phi won the fundraising competition by raising $1,200 of the total, and Gamma Phi Beta came in second, raising around $700. The money raised goes to support the March of the Dimes in efforts to prevent childhood defects.
Next is the social media competition. Each year there is a theme for Stroll to the Polls; this year it was Renaissance. Each organization competing submits a photo, typically relating to the theme. These photos are then posted to the Alpha Phi Alpha Instagram page and then, based on reach and engagement which is comprised of how many likes and comments each photo gets, points get added to each team’s overall scores.
Gamma Phi Beta won the social media competition with their popular photo dubbed the “Mona Keisha” which also appeared in their performance on Saturday night with 2,499 likes and 5,991 comments. Coming in second place for social media was Alpha Phi with 1,763 likes and 5,652 comments. And in third place was Phi Mu with 2,229 likes and 3,702 comments.
Each team worked extremely hard and it was another very successful year for Stroll to the Polls. This year, third place went to Delta Gamma, second place went to Alpha Phi and first place went to Gamma Phi Beta.
“We began preparing for Stroll during the second week of school, so two months before the event,” said Choreographer for Gamma Phi Beta, Keisha Dance. “Creating the choreography is the most difficult part in the preparation process.”
The Gamma Phi Beta team typically practices around two to three times a week to prepare for Stroll.
“It sounds stressful, but, in all actuality, my sisters make this experience enjoyable, and the time we spend together strengthens the bonds between us,” Dance said.
Though the competition is tough, as every organization puts in so much hard work and time, it is not all about winning.
“The goal of Gamma Phi Beta participating in Stroll is to raise money for a great cause and to have as much fun as possible,” Dance said.
The event is about bringing people together and trying to promote voting. It is to inform and encourage people to get out there and vote when the election comes around. It is also about bringing together the CNU community.
“My favorite part about Stroll is the engagement we get from the organizations on campus. An event of this magnitude and caliber is not possible with just our chapter of five,” Taylor said. “The hard work, dedication, promoting and fundraising that the teams do to put on this event means so much to us and helps us unite the Greek and CNU communities.”
Throughout the night there were also many speakers that helped to shed light on issues surrounding our community.
The keynote speaker was Nupol Kiazolu. At just 19 years old, she is an activist and organizer in the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as Miss Liberia USA 2019-2020. She spoke about how important voting is and how there must be change, specifically from the younger generations.
Other speakers included Angela Reason, currently running for the Newport News Clerk of Court; Derick Stephenson Jr., an alumni brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. who spoke about the Community Captains program and Cameron Bertrand who spoke about his Violence Intervention Program, better known as VIP.
Stroll to the Polls is an event that many students here at CNU look forward to every year. The Diamonstein theater is always packed with students cheering for their peers and helping to support a great cause.
“Stroll is an event that brings together the entire Greek and CNU communities. The support is endless, and the Greek love literally radiates throughout the entire audience. It allows for people to express themselves, and it underscores the significance of younger adult involvement in future elections,” Dance said.
Whether you attended Stroll to the Polls or not, this event is a tradition at CNU. Buy your tickets next year to support Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. in this extraordinary event and cause.
To check out each of the individual performances, go to The Captain’s Log Facebook page.
~Taryn Hannam-Zatz, News Editor~