Multicultural greek organizations hope to increase presence on campus

The Multicultural Greek Council and the National Pan-Hellenic Council are reaching out to the campus community.

Sarah Connor

Chapter houses for the University of Minnesota’s multicultural greek organizations aren’t among University Avenue Southeast’s row of fraternities, nor are the groups’ letters displayed on the new greek-oriented 17th Avenue Residence Hall.

Despite a lack of visibility, members of the Multicultural Greek Council and the National Pan-Hellenic Council — a council of nine historically black fraternities and sororities — say the chapters are coming into their own on campus. In doing so, the groups are aiming to further integrate into the University’s greek culture while also maintaining their cultural heritage.

Both the councils are relatively new to campus and aren’t as well-known as the bigger chapters within the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council, MGC President Nancy Mahdy said.

To increase their on-campus visibility, members from both multicultural councils hosted their first “Meet the Greeks” recruitment event earlier this month. Mahdy said the event was “a great success,” noting that it attracted more than 100 non-greek attendees.

“The MGC and NPHC chapters are working together to increase visibility of their organizations,” said Mia McCurdy, adviser to the councils. “Specifics are still in the works, but their ‘Meet the Greeks’ event was a huge success, and coming off that success, they are looking at more possibilities.”

Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Danita Brown Young and Assistant Vice Provost for Student Experiences Lamar Hylton also attended the event to promote the benefits of joining greek life on campus.

Brown Young’s campus-wide initiative to increase the presence of greek life at the school includes plans for expanding multicultural fraternities and sororities.

In order to grow, members from both councils say better collaboration with the IFC and the PHC is necessary.

Mahdy said MGC hopes to work more closely with the two major greek councils and the NPHC to promote cohesion, not only in the campus’ multicultural organizations, but also within the greek community as a whole.

“While we all differ in some senses, it is important to come together as a broader greek community in order to make the differences we wish to see,” she said.

Although they want to integrate into the school’s greek community, members from the councils say they still want to stay true to their cultural roots.

“[Our sorority] is committed to the constructive development of its members and to public service with a primary focus on the black community,” said Wunmi Amosu, president of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and NPHC member.

The councils also hope to reach out to student groups and organizations to increase membership numbers and get involved with more campus activities.

Amosu said her chapter plans to participate in campus education events surrounding issues such as domestic violence, physical fitness and academic success.

“All will be done in collaboration with other student organizations,” she said.

McCurdy said she is proud of how far the organizations have come and expects to see both councils grow.

“These organizations have committed themselves to seeing their council chartered this semester and to building a cohesive community,” she said.

While the councils are operating on small scales and just starting to build their identities on campus, Amosu said they offer the same invaluable benefits to members that the larger sorority and fraternity councils provide.

“My favorite part of being involved with the National Panhellenic Council is the simple fact that I am given the opportunity to work with other students of color to improve the experience of all students at the University of Minnesota,” she said.