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Student Looks to Open Latino Fraternity

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,” says Guardia, who studies educational leadership and policy studies. “Each organization is unique in its own specific facet.”

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

Although the fraternity is open to any male undergraduate, graduate or alumnus, it has been a historically Latino organization. But division of race is not the basis of the fraternity, Guardia says.

“It is a way to embrace the tradition and culture,” he says. “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, says 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,” says Greiner, a senior in agricultural engineering. “This is definitely one of the areas we’ve wanted to expand.”

Greiner says 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, says the process of becoming a member is completed within a semester.

He says 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 says.

Associated Press

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