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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

First multicultural fraternity comes to campus

Phi+Sigma+Chi+brothers+are+not+revealed+to+the+public+until+the+founding+line+ceremony+occurs.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Shahking+Gomez+25%29
Phi Sigma Chi brothers are not revealed to the public until the founding line ceremony occurs. (Photo courtesy of Shahking Gomez ’25)

Phi Sigma Chi’s Nu chapter was accredited last December, cementing its position as the college’s first multicultural fraternity.

The founding brothers, Shahking Gomez ’25, Jermaine Grant ’25, Ryan Rodriguez ’25 and JaJuan Hall ’25 held their founding line celebration, which revealed the members of the fraternity to the public, on March 7.

The event allowed the founders of the chapter to commemorate their Greek life introductions. Phi Sigma Chi joins the Huitaca chapter of the Mu Sigma Upsilon sorority as the only two multicultural Greek Life organizations among 13 fraternities and sororities.

“It was a huge full circle moment,” Grant said of the celebration. “It felt nice to present ourselves to the campus as fully fledged Phi men, but even more, it felt nice to see the support coming from the community.”

Gomez was inspired to bring a multicultural fraternity to campus after attending a regional Greek life event in the fall of 2022 at which multicultural organizations from the Lehigh Valley presented their chapters. Members of these organizations advised Gomez to contact Jake Bates, the director of fraternity and sorority life at Lafayette.

In early 2023, Gomez and Grant approached Bates, sharing their idea of starting a Phi Sigma Chi chapter at Lafayette.

“I was excited about the idea, as I knew this would enrich the fraternal experience at Lafayette College and provide a space for more students to be visible and heard,” Bates wrote in an email. “Culturally-based fraternal organizations (CBFOs) bring so much value and intentional cultural support to a fraternal community and to the students that are most often not represented within fraternal communities.”

After several conversations with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Gomez and Grant, who would later be joined by Rodriguez and Hall, presented their proposal in front of the college’s expansion committee in January 2023. Following two presentations, the committee unanimously voted in favor of moving forward and the chapter met accreditation standards with distinction last semester.

The brothers found a unique sense of belonging in the fraternity.

“Realistically, before Phi Sigma Chi, we were all very active on campus,” Rodriguez said. “At Phi Sigma Chi, we have this ability to be even more active on campus and bring an organization to the school that just serves the betterment of the whole community.”

For their official probate location, the spot where new members of a fraternity are revealed, Phi Sigma Chi chose the steps of Farinon College Center. It was chosen in recognition of the fact that Lafayette’s original Black cultural center, known as the Malcolm X Liberation Center, was demolished to make space for Farinon College Center in 1990.

“By tradition, [Lafayette] cannot change the probate spot for as long as Phi is on this campus,” said Gomez, who is serving as the fraternity’s president. “It felt like we were leaving a legacy greater than the four of us.”

In their short time on campus, the fraternity has already held various community engagement events including a Sickle Cell Awareness bake sale, a multicultural field day competition, career workshops and a sexual assault presentation titled “Walk in their Shoes.”

Phi Sigma Chi hopes to continue its mission of fostering multicultural awareness and education both inside and outside of the fraternity. Those interested in learning more about Phi Sigma Chi can attend an informational presentation at Portlock Black Cultural Center tomorrow night. 

“Phi Sigma Chi overall is a way where all men of all races, of all walks of life, can come together and win, and that’s to me what Phi Sigma Chi is: a brotherhood,” Hall said.

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Clara Witmer, Staff News Writer
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