Minority fraternity receives official chapter recognition

By Jeff Stensland

NIU’s Interfraternity Council officially recognized its first minority fraternity earlier this month.

Sigma Lambda Beta, a Latino fraternity, became the first minority fraternity to receive chapter status in the IFC on Feb. 2.

Sigma Lambda Beta was awarded chapter status after meeting certain IFC requirements and being approved by a two-thirds vote. These prerequisites included achieving a certain GPA level and sponsoring one philanthropy project.

Sigma Lambda Beta President Mario Ortiz said his chapter raised money for the League of United Latin American Citizens, a group which helps Latino high school students get to college.

One of the requirements that must be met to gain status was waived for Sigma Lambda Beta. The rule states that the fraternity must have at least forty members. The NIU chapter only has 19 members.

Vice President Jim Engineer said, “Although we don’t have forty members, we do compare proportionally to the rest of the fraternities since we are minority based.”

“Our hope is that we’ll generate more diversity in the IFC,” Engineer said. “The IFC is traditionally white, so we’re on the cutting edge. American culture is changing with the increasing number of minorities, and the IFC should reflect that.”

Besides participating in campus-wide fraternity activities, Sigma Lambda Beta focuses on the Latino community.

“Our goal is to create an equal balance between participating in the IFC and serving the Latino community here at NIU,”

Engineer said.

“This is a good step for Latino students on campus,” Ortiz said.