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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Fraternity and Sorority Affairs looks to revive dormant multicultural Greek organizations

 

Jumbos' familiarity with fraternities and sororities on campus is usually limited to the major landmarks on Professors Row. Little-known by most, though, is that a group of lesser-known Greek organizations have existed in the past and depending on interest, they are to be reinstated on campus by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs.

These organizations, distinctive for being multicultural fraternities and sororities, are distinguishable by their historic cultural associations.

Though no current Tufts student is a member of any of these groups, Fraternity and Sorority Affairs will gauge interest for reviving the organizations at an informal information session later this semester.

The movement for multicultural sororities and fraternities, which emerged in the '80s and '90s, was defined by an inclusion of all races, cultures and religions.

"There are women's organizations and men's organizations, and there are some organizations that are based in religion, so there [are] organizations based in race as well," Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Su McGlone said.

While a number of fraternities at Tufts associate with a religious tradition, their ties are not as prominent as those of multicultural organizations.

"ZBT [Zeta Beta Tau] and AEPi [Alpha Epsilon Pi] are both historically Jewish organizations. It doesn't mean you have to be Jewish to join, but that's part of their history," McGlone said. "Anyone can join any organization, [but] the historically culturally-based organizations do still exist and they're very strong on some campuses."

At Tufts, all sororities and fraternities fall under the governance of the Inter-Greek Council, but there are separate governing bodies for the multicultural, all-male and all-female Greek organizations.

While the Panhellenic Council (PhC) oversees Tufts' three sororities and the Interfraternity Council (IFC) oversees its 10 fraternities and the co-edATO of Massachusetts, the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) is specifically directed toward the multicultural organizations.

Often, though, these groups are in chapters comprised of students across several schools and are therefore governed by a citywide council.

"They would have members from Tufts, but then they would also have members from other universities in Boston, and they would be city-wide chapters," PhC President Carolyn Pruitt said.

According to McGlone, the MGC is currently dormant. In the case that these chapters become active, though, there would be a restored MGC in addition to the citywide council.

"To be a member of the Multicultural Greek Council or to have recognition on Tufts University ... [entails] having one member from the citywide chapter who is a student at Tufts basically come to us ... and they will be a recognized chapter on campus," Graduate Assistant at Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Hayley Keene said.

In addition, the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) would govern any fraternities or sororities that are historically African-American and the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO) would govern groups that are historically Latino.

Organizations that were previously active at Tufts that fall under NPHC include Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Previously active organizations under NALFO include Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Sigma Lambda Upsilon Sorority, Alpha Rho Lambda Sorority and Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity.

Though there are no current members of any citywide multicultural chapters, the chapters are still recognized by the university.

"The organization exists. The national organization knows that there could be a chapter here ... it would just be dormant," McGlone said.

Whether or not these dormant chapters will be revived, however, remains unclear. Keene suggested that a possible factor might be the decisions of students as to which organization fits them best.

"I think it's important for students to have the choice of what organizations they want to join," Keene said. "I think it's important for them to find an organization where they know they're going to be at peace with their decision and that they're just going to be happy about it."

Keene ultimately hopes to offer students more options for joining Greek life.

"Once you decide to make that commitment,
[you] will forever be a member of that organization," she said.  "And that's something that you take great pride in, because it's a lifelong sisterhood or brotherhood."

According to Keene, the advantages of joining a citywide chapter extend beyond those of joining one of the more well-known chapters on campus.

"To allow the Greek community to have a greater impact from a Boston-wide stance is very large ... You never know what's going on at some other collegiate institution that you could go and participate in because your fraternity brothers or sorority sisters are over there," she said.

Multicultural Greek organizations have existed on the Tufts campus before. According to Keene, a member of Delta Sigma Theta just graduated last year. 

However, Keene explained, it is difficult for citywide chapters to maintain a large number of members on campus, and not just because they're not well-known.

"Because they're citywide chapters, there's no executive board for those chapters," Keene said. "Over time, people have graduated out. There hasn't been that continuous year-to-year awareness to allow more people to become a member of those organizations."

The informational meeting in December will feature a panel of representatives from select citywide chapters that Fraternity and Sorority Affairs has contacted. 

Following the panel discussion, students will have the opportunity to ask the representatives questions or attend a private, individual-chapter session where they may field more specific questions.

Keene encourages students to maintain an open mind and consider the benefits of joining a multicultural Greek chapter.

"It makes the connection larger, which I think is amazing because you have those [connections] built in across the city," she said. "You never know who you may meet."