A new greek life chapter for Augie’s queer community

A+new+greek+life+chapter+for+Augie%E2%80%99s+queer+community

Mia C. Vu

A new chapter of Delta Lambda Phi, a fraternity for members of LGBTQ+ community, is in the process of getting approved to be part of Augustana’s greek life.
Delta Lambda Phi is a national greek social organization founded by and for all men irrespective of sexual orientation or gender expression. Embracing the fraternity visions, junior Brandon Suydam took the initiative to bring a new chapter to Augustana’s Greek Life.
Part of Suydam’s motivation to bring Delta Lambda Phi to campus was his negative experience with finding Greek groups.
“During rush, I heard jokes that fell under what could be called toxic masculinity, and maybe some people grew up in that culture so they didn’t even know they were being offensive,” Suydam said. “By starting a fraternity chapter for LGBTQ+ members, I want to create a welcoming space, further educate the campus community and bring a more inclusive environment into Augustana’s greek life community.” 
Tia Fuhr, coordinator of greek life, is working with Suydam in the process of getting Delta Lambda Phi chapter approved. Fuhr said when the new chapter is established, it will be a beneficial shared space for people who are interested and also bring more awareness to our campus about LGBTQ+ culture.
 Junior Eli Bates, and openly queer identifying member of Delta Omega Nu, was introduced to Suydam’s idea through a friend last year. Although he didn’t feel unwelcomed in any way, he felt there was still a lack of representation for LGBTQ+ community on campus.
“I remember sitting with a friend in a meeting during rush, and the lack of diversity in the meeting board was definitely a bit deterring. I was very lucky to find my people very quickly when I got on campus, but I know that’s not the case for everyone,” Bates said. “A fraternity chapter for LGBTQ+ community is a really cool idea.”
According to Suydam, not only can the fraternity make an influence within the greek community, which is often stigmatized with being very traditionally “straight,” it also offers traditional values of a greek organization – brotherhood and connections that last for a lifetime.
“LGBTQ+ identifying people might not come from the most welcoming community or family back home, so having a family here on campus is to have a place open to be ourselves, a support group to fall back on,” Suydam said.
 “Being in a fraternity means you will go through a whole process of getting to know and getting initiated with each other. It is more like a solid family.” Bates said.
 As Suydam had discussed with Delta Lambda Phi national governing board, the fraternity welcomes all male-identified individuals. It is working on making it more inclusive to those who are non-binary or don’t fall into a boxed category.
 Tia Fuhr said greek life will welcome the new chapter of the fraternity into Augie’s Greek community.
“When the chapter is approved, they will be involved in all of greek life’s activities, whether it is homecoming week or greek week. There are also many openly queer members involved in other chapters on campus, so no individual or group should be and will be siloed.” Fuhr said. 
Tia Fuhr and Brandon Suydam are working on getting the number of members needed on the roster for Delta Lambda Phi chapter. An informational meeting will be held on campus in the near future. Students who are interested can contact Fuhr to learn more about the organization.