Bringing diversity to Greek Life is a good idea

Stuart Lombard

A group of Augustana students have been preparing to bring real diversity to Greek Life. They are holding meetings to bring national fraternities and sororities to Augustana. We need them to succeed – and they need our support.
A collective task force of Black and Latino/Latina students and staff have held multiple meetings to discuss the real possibility of bringing fraternities and sororities associated with national umbrella organizations like the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) and the National Association of Latin Fraternal Organizations (NALFO). 
The plan is to bring two fraternities and two sororities from the NPHC and from the NAFLO. This is a concerted effort to make Augustana more welcoming to people of color and other traditionally marginalized constituencies.
Augustana has been making strides towards improving diversity efforts on campus, and there is still a lot of work to be done. Recently, the college hired its first Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Dr. Monica Smith. 
Bringing national fraternities to campus is a great idea because it will give students another place where they can enjoy a sense of community.

However, one possible objection is that we don’t need more Greek organizations on campus.

Around 40 percent of Augustana students get involved in Greek Life during their years here. Personally, I already think there are too many Greek organizations on campus. A few more will not make things worse.
During the process of deciding which fraternities and sororities to bring to Augustana, the students are thinking about the philanthropic work of each organization. So, having these organizations on campus could make things better for students of color as well as for the campus and surrounding communities. That is something I support whole-heartedly.

Another possible question that may arise is, couldn’t they just join existing Greek Life organizations if they want community?

Sure, many of the students currently involved in bringing in these new organizations are already involved in Greek Life. Many of them are currently juniors and seniors, so their efforts, when materialised, will not be to their direct benefit. They have realized that they will have graduated by the time that these organizations really get off the ground.
But the goal is to have groups that will cater to minority students – these groups are all about having more options for students.
The efforts that these students are making are investments in the future of Augustana, for the benefit of future Vikings looking for a dedicated community of their peers. We should all be rooting for this group of students to succeed because with diverse people come diverse ideas and diverse solutions.
For example, the vision brought forth by the task force has already inspired other students to express interest in bringing other organizations to campus, such as one for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Greater diversity and inclusivity in Augustana’s community is always welcome. This is why bringing Greek organizations that cater to the growing diversity of our campus is a good thing. 
The very fact that Augustana has so many students vocalising their desire for these organizations is something that we should be proud of. The college has been working hard over the past fifty years to improve diversity, and these are some of the hard won fruits of that labor.
The task force of students and staff is hoping that they will be ready to formally unveil the project as soon as April. What they need now is for more students to get involved.