Ballroom forum showcases culture

The Black Student Union sponsored a multicultural Greek forum on Friday in which ethnicity-based sororities and fraternities advertised their organizations and spread awareness of multicultural Greek life.

In the College Union Ballroom, a wide variety of groups, including organizations based on Latino, Asian, Black and Hispanic cultures, introduced themselves and explained their goals. Many speakers noted that although their groups are based on specific ethnicities, they welcome everyone who is interested in participation and learning more about their culture.

Several of the groups have members who stay active off the Geneseo campus by attending events at RIT and the University of Rochester or by participating on a national level.

A common theme that emerged from the presentations was the importance of raising awareness on campuses about diversity in general, not just the cultures represented.

"Any multicultural forum like this one is a good thing because as we move forward, cultures discover their identity," said RIT student and member of Latino fraternity Phi Iota Alpha Anthony Gonzalez. "Any college or university that pushes for awareness of those identities is tremendous and will have a positive impact."

Crystal Velez, a junior representing Latina sorority Lambda Pi Upsilon, agreed.

"We want to bring more awareness to the campus about us and open the eyes of all our students, not just minorities," Velez said.

Some currently inactive groups on the Geneseo campus are working toward action in the future, such as the black sorority Zeta Phi Beta, which incidentally was the first multicultural sorority on campus.

Representative and 1994 Geneseo graduate Carla Facey said, "We can't wait to come back on campus to try and get more information out and spread awareness."

Another Zeta Phi Beta sister, Nadine Nicholson, came from the University of Rochester. "It is important to spread awareness and to quell misconceptions about Greek life," she said.

Some attendees noted that events like this are important in less diverse areas. The sisters of Lambda Pi Upsilon agreed that Upstate New York, in particular, lacks diversity, but the sorority members said that they were happy that the groups are welcome at Geneseo and that interest in the organizations is building.