Multicultural greeks get organized

The MGC was recognized as a University student group last week.

by Evelina Smirnitskaya

Omar Osman carries his title as president of the Multicultural Greek Council humbly.
As the head of the new governing board, Osman sees MGC as a team effort.
âÄúIâÄôm just the president,âÄù he said.
The council was officially recognized as a University of Minnesota student group last week. It has nine member including fraternities, sororities and an Asian Fraternity Interest Group.
The UniversityâÄôs greek community has Interfraternity and Panhellenic councils, but this is the first time multicultural fraternities and sororities at the University have come together as a single unit.
The University is the last school in the Big Ten to adopt a multicultural greek governing body, Tammi Etheridge, graduate assistant at the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life said.
In the past, each organization operated independently and had little contact with one another or the larger greek community. Osman said MGC was created to give multicultural greeks representation they lacked.
âÄúWe wanted a single voice to speak on behalf of all of us,âÄù he said.
In order to become officially organized by the University, MGC had to create a constitution. A board of representatives from each member group spent a semester drafting the document.
âÄúItâÄôs been stressful,âÄù said Taheliz Rivera, MGCâÄôs secretary.
Osman said the process has been âÄúa learning experience,âÄù but one that paid off in collaboration.
âÄúWeâÄôre all bound together because weâÄôre part of this,âÄù he said.
Generally smaller than their traditional counterparts, Etheridge said multicultural greeks are more tight-knit, and the process to get involved is more personal. There are GPA standards to get in, for example. âÄúWeâÄôre more quality than quantity,âÄù Rivera said.
But lower numbers leave organizations with a smaller budget and less alumni support, Etheridge said. The majority of their money comes from fundraising.
Osman said this has not been an issue in the past. The main conflict came in coordination.
Each organization has a designated programming week. Without a council, there were issues with scheduling and overlap, Etheridge said.
Many of the events planned by multicultural organizations are geared toward minority groups, creating some âÄúfriendly competitionâÄù for the demographic, said Kaylord Hill, spokesman for Alpha Phi Alpha, an MGC fraternity.
âÄúItâÄôs about respect and accountability,âÄù he said.
MGC held its first official event Wednesday, a meet-and-greet for all members.
The new council hasnâÄôt had major contact with the IFC yet, but Osman said the MGC is looking to establish communication with the rest of the greek community.
Osman said there is discussion of creating an all-greek board that would represent MGC, IFC and the PHC, but IFC spokesman Chuck Seymour said so far no actual plans are being made.