The University of Rhode Island’s branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People hosted an information session to establish interest in bringing historically multicultural fraternities and sororities back to campus on Thursday, April 20.
“Bringing Multicultural sororities to campus was a big unanimous decision,” NAACP Vice President, Blessing Oyedokun, said. “From there we took steps to figure out how to accomplish that, what we needed to do, who we needed to speak with.”
“The fraternities and sororities now are not diverse, people felt like they did not fit in and were not represented,” explained Marie Loua, NAACP secretary.
NAACP Vice Chair of the Youth and College Division in Providence, Juan Carter, provided opening remarks for the information session and a background on the NAACP. “I am here to advocate for multicultural fraternities and sororities at URI,” Carter emphasized, “multicultural students need something to claim as their own.”
Assistant Director of Greek Affairs, Megan Fox, and Assistant Dean of Students for Greek Affairs and Student Engagement, Stephen Simo, both attended the information session to provide context on requirements for establishing and colonizing a chapter on campus. “We are very excited to work with the NAACP to bring back Multicultural Greek Life,” explained Simo. “The process of recolonizing may be long, but it is definitely worth undertaking.”
“Historically Multicultural Fraternities and Sororities used to exist on campus, and we want to work with you to bring them back,” explained Fox.
When speaking on the dissolution of historically multicultural fraternities and sororities on campus, Fox explained, “the organizations were essentially removed from Greek Life and retained by the Multicultural Center; eventually membership declined until they completely faded out.”
“The reason historically black Greek Life didn’t survive on this campus is because it was thrown under the Multicultural Student Service Center, and that’s not their job; the center is there for the service of students, it wasn’t for Greek Life,” said Loua.
“The fact that Greek Life is on our side now, this time, is definitely going to benefit us because they have made plans to accommodate the historically black fraternities and sororities into Greek Life for it to be recognized,” added Loua.
The information session served to generate student attention and compile a list of students interested in colonizing a historically multicultural fraternity or sorority on campus.
“This turnout is what we needed, it’s almost tear shedding because we never anticipated getting such a response from the student body,” said Blessin. “A lot of people told us it’s not going to happen, it’s been tried before; but the fact that Kathy Collins, vice president of Student Affairs, said to go for it, is amazing to me.”
“Like they said during the presentation, we’re a predominantly white campus, so this is a way for us to feel more inclusive,” said Loua. “It’s a new time at URI.”