Students learn history, importance of multicultural Greek organizations


Political science major Camara Thomas “calls” to his brothers of Phi Beta Sigma while introducing himself at the Multicultural Greek Info Night on Wednesday Feb. 4, 2015. Calls are common in many multicultural greek organizations and each call is unique to is sorority of fraternity.

Zabrina Hvostal

The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) and National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO) discussed the multicultural importance of the organizations both locally and nationally in the Student Center balcony Wednesday night.

Participants met with current Kent State Greek life students, who spoke about their experiences, to learn more about specific organizations.

Shannon Ashford, graduate assistant for leadership programs in the Center for Student Involvement, started the night with a presentation that gave participants historical information about NPHC and NALFO.

Ashford said she spent her undergraduate years at Ohio University in Alpha Kappa Alpha, which was a part of NPHC and was heavily involved on campus. This experience fueled her passion to work on a university campus, she said.

“With my background and passion for Greek life, I was able to put on this program with the help of CSI as a platform for students to come and learn,” Ashford said. “I wanted to give the multicultural-based organizations the opportunity to educate potential members on who they are and what they do.”

NPHC is comprised of nine historically black fraternities and sororities. Kent State currently has six out of the nine organizations. The primary purpose of the organization is to provide community service, educational programs and opportunities for social interaction, Ashford said.

The current Kent State NPHC organizations on campus are Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta, Phi Beta Sigma, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho and Iota Phi Theta.

One of the organizations, Sigma Gamma Rho, was founded on Kent’s campus in 1973. The organization focuses on scholarship, sisterhood and service, said Kiara White, president of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

White, a junior Pan-African Studies major, said she knew her sorority was right for her the first time she went to a meeting and saw how welcoming everyone was. She said she was able to be herself and felt at home right away.

“No two members of my organization are the same whether it is height, sexuality, race or anything,” White said. “We are all different, but our sorority Sigma brings us together, and it is just so much fun.”

Similarly, NALFO is made up of 17 historically Latino fraternities and sororities. Kent State currently has three of the 17 organizations: Phi Iota Alpha fraternity, Alpha Psi Lambda Co-Ed fraternity and BELLAS, an interest group for Lamda Theta Nu Sorority, Inc.

Their purpose and programming is similar to NPHC organizations. John Camargo, vice president of Phi Iota Alpha and a senior technology major, said they promote the Latino community through service and leadership development.

Camargo is one of the five founders of his fraternity that started up in fall 2012. He said it took them two years to get on campus and grow to nine members.

“We came to campus because there is nothing for the Latino community here at Kent State, and we all felt out of place,” Camargo said. “We don’t see ourselves as competition between NPHC and NALFO, but as a representation of our community.”

Camargo said that, though his fraternity is Latino based, they welcome students of all races. He said that NALFO helped him gain leadership experience he needed to take on the position as manger of Kent State Student Center Programming.

To learn more about the different sororities and fraternities available at Kent State, visit

Contact Zabrina Hvostal at [email protected].