Updated: Dec. 5, 2016 at 11:41 a.m.
A Latino interest fraternity will be coming to campus next fall.
The Multicultural Greek Council voted to add a Phi Iota Alpha chapter earlier this semester after an on-campus presentation from the national organization. Multicultural Greek Council President Clare Lewis said the new charter would fill a gap in Greek life for Latino men.
“Right now we have two Latina interest sororities, but we do not have a Latino interest fraternity,” Lewis said.
Hispanic students make up 10.5 percent of the Class of 2020 – an 11 percent increase from last year.
Lambda Upsilon Lambda, another Latino interest fraternity, previously had a chapter at GW that has gone dormant. Phi Iota Alpha will be the only Latino interest fraternity on campus when it opens next fall.
Lewis said when considering which charter to admit, Multicultural Greek Council members consider whether or not the potential fraternity or sorority would mesh with the existing community and if it would tap into a group that currently isn’t represented in Greek life.
For example, there are already three historically black sororities on campus, which would make the Multicultural Greek Council hesitant to add another, Lewis said.
“Unless they had something like really unique they wanted to represent on our campus, it might be more difficult to get a membership base,” Lewis said.
Phi Iota Alpha representatives attended Multicultural Greek Council events earlier in the year and already know of some students who want to join, Lewis said. Representatives of Phi Iota Alpha showed a vested interest in joining GW’s Greek community, which won over many Multicultural Greek Council members, she said.
The national chapter for Phi Iota Alpha did not return multiple requests for comment.
Phi Iota Alpha has 61 chapters and is the oldest Latino fraternity. The fraternity’s philanthropy efforts include partnerships with UNICEF and a focus on increasing disability awareness, according to the fraternity’s website. Phi Iota Alpha brothers include former presidents of Honduras, Panama and Columbia, according to the website.
There has been a steady increase in the number of chapters affiliated with the Multicultural Greek Council over the last several years. Multicultural Greek Council members, along with those from the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Association, expressed interest earlier this year in adding between one and three chapters to campus by 2018.
The Multicultural Greek Council has added three returning and one new chapter in the past calendar year for a total of 15 chapters on campus.
This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Phi Iota Alpha will be the first Latino interest fraternity on campus. It is not the first, but it will be the only Latino fraternity on campus when it opens. We regret this error.