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Brockport Greek life welcomes first Latino fraternity

by Mark Cuminale - Staff Writer
Fri, Nov 30th 2018 03:00 pm

A baby blue and white banner has been added to The College at Brockport’s Seymour College Union. The words underneath the Greek lettering read: Lambda Sigma Upsilon.

The new banner acted as a backdrop for Monday’s chartering ceremony as students, faculty and members of the preexisting six sororities and fraternities showed up to welcome the latest addition to the Greek life community.

The Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity Inc. (LSU) Taburasa charter was officially initiated on Friday, Nov. 16. It was evident during the ceremony that the excitement felt by the LSU brothers hadn’t warn off over Thanksgiving break.

During the opening speech, College President Heidi Macpherson recognized LSU’s induction was the first since Pi Kappa Phi, which was founded in 1993, but Macpherson’s assertion that LSU was the first Latino Greek organization resonated more deeply.

“[LSU] is the first Latino Greek organization in the college’s history,” Macpherson said. “This is important because we have seen an increase in the number of our Latino/Latina students applying to our college, and we want to make sure we have a welcoming arm to everyone here.”

LSU’s national executive director Gilbert Vega, 27, was present at the ceremony and welcomed the Taburasa charter into the national organization’s family with warmth and familiarity.

“The organization is looking forward to the impact that these brothers will not only have in the Greek life community, but the campus community as a whole,” Vega said. “We have the utmost confidence in our newest members to continue to live up to these standards while influencing its campus community as recognized leaders.”

Vega, who has been an LSU member since 2010, oversees all of the operations of the organization’s undergraduate level. The organization’s national focus centers around hosting educational workshops and raising money for HIV/Aids awareness.

“Our goal is to try and create some sustainability with the chapter in regards to overall performance,” Vega said. “Our organization was founded on four principles—academic excellence, cultural awareness and diversity, brotherhood and being a role model to the community.”

The Taburasa chapter includes president and junior Christopher Suarez, treasurer and junior Brandy Diaz, secretary and junior Michael Bobadilla and vice president and sophomore Jesus Cabrera.

During Suarez’s speech, he noted the journey that brought them all there started with three Brockport students in 2016. Former students Christopher Rivera and Harlyn Morillo, along with current senior Matthew Goris started the process that Suarez and his fellow brothers would later complete. Suarez credited the students with lifting the moratorium, and giving them the opportunity to achieve their goal.

  For the members of the Taburasa chapter, the road to becoming an official organization was long and arduous. All of the current members joined when the group was in its infancy. During that period, they were considered an interest group—a distinction that they were granted after being officially colonized by the college.

  Starting new charters became more difficult after Brockport established a temporary ban  on additional fraternities and sororities. According to student organization coordinator Amy McNulty, the moratorium on Greek life charters were put in place during the mid 90s. McNulty sees this action as a result of Greek life culture of the 90s.

  “The 90s was a very different culture,” McNulty said. “There wasn’t the same support in terms of new member education. From my understanding, it was more of a pledge process that you would see in the stereotypical [sorority or fraternity] movies.”

  McNulty attributes the change in sorority and fraternity culture to stricter laws, regulations and requirements from colleges and national offices.

  Jesus Cabrera, 18, is the youngest and most recent member of the Tuburasa charter. He began the process of joining in the spring of 2018 when they were still an interest group. After researching the organization online, Cabrera decided to seek out the developing group on campus.

  “I like their goals and what they stand for,” Cabrera said. “You feel really connected. I know brothers who live in Arizona and New Jersey. I like the fact that, just because I’m from New York, it doesn’t mean that I’m only going to be connected to brothers from New York. I can branch out.”

  As for future plans, Cabrera believes there is a lot of work to be done within the campus community. This week the chapter plans on spreading their organization’s information at tabling events. According to Cabrera, other plans include fundraisers and campus events.

“Next semester, we want to do collaborations with other group organizations on campus,” Cabrera said. “We want to get involved with multicultural groups to make sure the campus community is active for everyone. We also want to do events with the LGBT community. We can help them do more events on campus and help them feel more welcome and supported.”

The commonality among charter members is a belief in a lifelong commitment to their organization. It requires that each member believes in the values the organization stands for and contributes to the processes outlined in their mission statements. Now that the difficult road to official recognition is complete, the laborious journey that brought LSU’s Taburasa charter into existence can act as currency in the business of making a difference.