Brother Chastin Gammage, a 2013 initiate of the Delta Rho of Kappa Alpha Psi, is candidate for the highest undergraduate office in the fraternity, Junior Grand Vice Polemarch. Brother Gammage is a leader on the rise in and out of Kappa and he graciously took some time to answer some questions.
What is your background?
Chastin Lane Gammage is a third-year student at San Jose State University originally from Federal Way, Washington. In spring of 2017 he will be receiving his B.S. in Computer Engineering. During his time at San Jose State, Chastin has devoted the majority of his time to his community through his student involvement and volunteer work. Currently he is the Polemarch of the Delta Rho Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Director of Finance for the National Society of Black Engineers, Secretary for the Collegiate 100 Black Men of America, Student Ambassador for the African-American Community Service Agency and a member of the Western Province board of Undergraduate Directors. He has over three years of experience in fast paced retail environment. He currently resides in San Jose, CA and enjoys football, cinematography, video production, and reading.
He is a Spring 2013 initiate of the San Jose State University, the Delta Rho (W) of Kappa Alpha Psi, and currently serves as the chapter’s Polemarch. Additionally, he served as an undergraduate member of the Western Province Board of Directors. He is quite active in his campus community as well. He has served as Chaplain and vice-president for the San Jose State University NPHC, Director of Finance for National Society of Black Engineers, Secretary for Collegiate 100 Black Men, Inc., member of San Jose State Universities Black Student Union, and Student-Ambassador for the African American Community Service Agency. His passion for service and community is grounded in his foundation in Christ and commitment to the tenets of Phi Nu Pi.
What was your early exposure to Kappa?
I was exposed to Kappa from the time I was born. Growing up I was raised by a strong Kappa man, Chauncey Gammage (Gamma Iota) who was also a past Western Province Junior Vice Polemarch. Additionally, many of the men I now call ‘Uncle’ are Kappas who played a significant role in my upbringing. I was also exposed to Kappa at a young age as a member of the Kappa League in Seattle, Washington.
What life experiences have molded you into the leader you are today?
Along my journey I’ve found that the leader I am today and also the leader that I am becoming is significantly affected by my life experiences. A man once said“ you will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the books you read, the people you meet, the places you go and the things you memorize.” When I reflect on this quote I see it to be true in my own life. Five years ago I was a sixteen year old high school teenager. I am the leader I am today because of some pretty amazing people in my life. I’ve been blessed with abundance. I’ve had my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors, teachers, principals and even coaches whom have all contributed in their own way to the formation of my leadership style. Each of them helping me, to help myself and vice-versa. Since joining the bond at the age of 18, many people have made a significant impression on me. My chapter advisor, Bro. Milan Balinton, recognized my leadership potential far before I ever did and has always forced me outside of my comfort zone and pushed me beyond what I believed to be my limitations. Additionally, I’ve watched amazing young undergraduate leaders such as Louie Tran, Terry Allen and Brenton Owens dedicate themselves to Kappa with a passion that was almost contagious. I was quiet but always listening and certainly watching. I’ve been fortunate to watch learn and grow from men like these. In retrospect, I realize that all of these people and my life experiences are irreplaceable and more importantly have molded me into the servant, leader I am today.
Why do you want to be Junior Grand Vice Polemarch?
When I look at Kappa and more specifically my undergraduate brothers I see the future, I see promise, and in them I see myself. I see the efforts of the brothers who continually strive to uphold the tenets of Phi Nu Pi while achieving in their individual fields of endeavor. However, I also hear the calls of a group that is struggling for existence in the second century of Kappa. I’m a very active member of Kappa Alpha Psi, and I’m committed to its success, growth and sustainability. I am not afraid to make sacrifices and tough decisions for the greater good of the Bond. Perhaps most importantly, I am passionate about service and cannot turn a deaf ear to a “call to service” from my brothers who are demonstrably committed to Kappa’s success. I am a man of character and commitment, and I stand ready to join those who also share my commitment to leadership in this Fraternity. I came into the Bond of Kappa Alpha Psi inspired by the fearlessness and determination to succeed exhibited by our Founders. As undergraduates, the founders set lofty and seemingly impossible goals for themselves, in an effort to create our cherished organization today. I have high goals and expectations of today’s undergraduates and truly believe that we are the future of Kappa Alpha Psi. It would be my most humble and sincere honor to join and serve alongside the band of brothers whom are also charged to lead this Fraternity on a national scale.
How has Kappa enhanced and or improved your life since you have come into the bond?
Joining Kappa has enriched my life in ways that I could have never imagined. I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of something much bigger than myself, which is a very humbling experience. I’ve witnessed first-hand the importance of being a respectable leader, giving back to my community, and most importantly I’ve been given a second family to look after and grow with. The long legacy and rich culture of my chapter, Delta Rho, not only fills me with a sense of pride but has also given me the opportunity to meet a variety of new people who have challenged me to see the world around me in a new way. Not to mention, I’ve met countless brothers (both alumni and undergraduate) who would drop anything to make sure that I am well and I in turn would do the same. My experiences and brothers are invaluable to me and have helped me develop a love for a bond that will transcend my time at San Jose State.
How have you contributed to Kappa
As a proud member of that most Noble Clan of Achievers, none other than Kappa Alpha Psi, I’ve served in various capacities including Polemarch of the Delta Rho Chapter from 2013-2015. Also, I concurrently served on the western province board of undergraduate directors from 2014-2015. I served on various national and provincial committees including the elections committee and awards committee.
What are the most pressing issues in the fraternity, in America?
The most pressing issues in Kappa are currently the moratorium and hazing. Both are two issues, which need to be addressed immediately. Hazing was never a part of Elder Watson Diggs’ dream but has become an established and institutionalized ‘right of passage’ into Kappa Land for both undergraduates and alumni. Further avoiding the issue of hazing only brings about more conflicts and problems than resolutions. As men of Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc. we must deal with all difficult issues that impact our organization and confront these issues as soon as possible for our own well being. We can no longer be content with sweeping this issue under the rug, as we will inevitably be forced to deal with the ‘dust’ it leaves behind. The more we avoid this problem, the more ‘dust’ collects such as expensive lawsuits, increased insurance premiums, membership revocation, and the inability for individual chapters to meet statutory minimums.
How can Kappa improve the lives of Black men in America?
Kappa has and will continue to improve the lives of Black men in America. Many of our national programs are geared toward the success and well being of our community.
What is your future in Kappa?
I’m excited to see how my future in Kappa plays out. On a chapter level I would love to leave a lasting legacy for the Delta Rho chapter by winning Chapter of the year. Additionally I intend to remain active with an alumni chapter in order to continue giving back to our noble bond.
Where will you be in 5 years?
Within the next five years my first and most important goal is to graduate from San Jose State University with my B.S in Computer Engineering. My career goal is to find a position at a company where I can utilize my engineering background, continue to grow and most importantly take on new challenges over time. Ultimately, I’d like to assume more management responsibilities and get involved in engineering management. I want to work for an organization where I can build a career that I can be proud of.