Student Looks to Open Latino Fraternity at Iowa State University

AMES, Iowa

Is there enough interest at Iowa State University to support a multicultural fraternity aimed at Latino students?

That’s the question facing Juan Guardia, a graduate student who held a
recent meeting about opening a chapter of Phi Iota Alpha, the oldest
Latino fraternity in the United States.

The fraternity has gotten approval to become a part of the ISU Greek
Community by the University Committee on Fraternities and Sororities
and the Multicultural Greek Council.

However, no prospective members attended Guardia’s meeting. That doesn’t appear to have stopped his enthusiasm.

“It’s great to give Latino students options,” said Guardia, who
studies educational leadership and policy studies. “Each organization
is unique in its own specific facet.”

So far, Guardia said three men have contacted him to join the fraternity. He said he hopes more will be interested.

The fraternity is open to any male undergraduate, graduate or alumnus,
although it is historically Latino. Division of race is not the basis
of the fraternity, Guardia said.

“It is a way to embrace the tradition and culture,” he said. “It is
great to be around members of our community as well as members of other
communities.”

According to the fraternity’s Web site, its purpose is to promote
personal growth and development nurtured in a group environment by
focusing on members’ academic, professional and social lives.

The Interfraternity Council supports expansion of the Greek community,
including non-traditional chapters, said JD Greiner, president of the
council.

“If they can find the men they need to start their chapter, then they
have the approval to do so,” said Greiner, senior in agricultural
engineering. “This is definitely one of the areas we’ve wanted to
expand.”

Greiner said the fraternity can eventually become a colony and then an
official part of the Multicultural Greek Council and the Greek
Community.

Guardia, who joined the fraternity last spring when he learned of it
through a colleague, said the process of becoming a member is completed
within a semester.

He said Iowa State chapter’s addition to Phi Iota Alpha is part of the fraternity’s expansion to the Midwest.

“There are chapters in the East, South and California, but we want to work our way to the Midwest,” Guardia said.

— Associated Press



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