Students begin initiative to create multicultural Greek organization

Walkway+in+front+of+Skillman+Library.+%28Photo+by+Lauren+Fox%29.

Walkway in front of Skillman Library. (Photo by Lauren Fox).

Jane Collins

Efforts are underway to found a multicultural sorority at Lafayette. At least 25 students have demonstrated interest in joining should a chapter be formed at Lafayette, according to Nina Milligan ’20, a student leader of the efforts.

The idea for this organization originated from the list of concerns for marginalized students last year, which eventually led to the creation of The Equity, Transformation and Accountability Board. The board is now compiling student statements supporting the creation of this organization that will be presented to the Student Life Faculty Committee. 

While Dean of Equity and Inclusion Chris Hunt and Advisor to Fraternities and Sororities Daniel Ayala have been supportive, Milligan said, eliciting a positive response from one of the national multicultural sororities has proven more difficult. Milligan, who sits on the Equity, Transformation and Accountability Board, said that she already received a no from one organization.

“One of the problems we’re going to run into is [that] it’s the creation of a new chapter. For some of the organizations they don’t have chapters in the Lehigh Valley so it’s unknown territory. There’s a lot of risks and liability that go into starting a new chapter, it’s expensive,” Milligan said.

“A lot of multicultural organizations worry that when they’re on predominately white campuses whether they’re going to spend all this money on creating a new chapter and then they won’t have numbers to sustain it,” she added.

Milligan, who sits on the board, said she feels that Lafayette’s social scene is dependent on Greek life, and if you’re a student of color who is not on a sports team or already affiliated with a Greek organization, social opportunities are limited.

“I know Lafayette tries to brand itself as a school where Greek life isn’t as big of an influence as it is but we all know that it is [a big influence],” she said. “So we just want to bring a more inclusive social scene for students of color on campus.”

While the vision for the new organization isn’t finalized, Milligan feels it would likely differ from the current six chapters. Many national multicultural sororities look to recruit potential new members who have actively expressed interest in joining, Milligan said. As a result, the new organization may not participate in formal recruitment, since sororities are prohibited from recruiting before the formal process.

Like the formal recruiting process, selection and exclusivity would be involved. However, Milligan said, the new organization will consider any student who expressed interest in joining.

“Obviously these organizations wouldn’t be only for students of color. They were founded on the fact that people were excluded from organizations so we…ourselves wouldn’t be exclusive,” Milligan said.

Milligan said she is interested in allowing women from surrounding colleges and universities to join, thereby growing the pool for membership.

There will be an event Nov. 8 in the Marlo Room where representatives from several Greek organizations including a few multicultural organizations will present to discuss possibilities at Lafayette.