Latino fraternity joins IFC

Becky Bowman

The Interfraternity Council has granted associate membership to Omega Delta Phi, Northwestern’s first Latino fraternity, in a move that IFC leaders say will bring diversity to NU’s Greek system.

The IFC executive board voted to grant the group membership at a presidents roundtable Thursday night. As an associate member of IFC, ODPhi will gain all the privileges and responsibilities of full membership except the right to vote on rush-related issues or have members elected to the IFC executive board.

With only 10 members, ODPhi is not eligible for full membership in IFC. Once it has at least 20 members, the fraternity would be able to become a full member.

But membership opens the door for ODPhi to participate in IFC rush next year, through which the group hopes to recruit more members, said former ODPhi president Jaime Moreno. IFC membership will also help the group to get its name out and allow the group to use campus venues for events, ODPhi leaders said.

Moreno, a Weinberg senior, said the decision represents a big step for the university.

“It’s pretty funny that Latinos have been here for a while and we just got recognized this year,” he said. “It’s definitely a good step.”

ODPhi President Vince Iturralde said the fraternity has been well received by IFC and will add diversity to the council.

“We go at things a little differently (than other fraternities), but that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” said Iturralde, a Weinberg sophomore. “We can learn from each other. A different point of view is a positive thing in any organization.”

Phil Ordway, IFC president, said he was happy to have the fraternity join IFC.

“I think they represent something new and exciting,” said Ordway, an Education junior.”It’s where the future’s going, and we’re excited about that.”

ODPhi will now become more involved in the Greek community, Iturralde said. The fraternity began by sending two members, Iturralde and Alejandro Arguelles, to the Greek leadership retreat in April.

“We’re going to work a lot more within the Greek community,” Iturralde said. “We’ve been kind of secluded, doing our own thing.”

Gaining IFC membership required more than a year of work. Members began thinking about joining the IFC halfway through last year, Iturralde said. NU recognized the group as a fraternity from NU in April, and then members petitioned IFC for associate membership.

“We went at it full steam at the beginning of this year,” Iturralde said.

ODPhi is the second Latino Greek organization to gain recognition from NU. Sigma Lambda Gamma, a Latina sorority, joined the Panhellenic Association during Fall Quarter.

More cultural groups might join the NU Greek system next year, said Steve Dealph, director of Greek affairs. Of the groups who have expressed interest in joining the Greek system, Dealph said, two are Latino.

In April, Eddie Castro, then the vice president of ODPhi, said the fraternity planned to form a Latino council after recognition in conjunction with SLG, Alianza and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

Dealph said a new umbrella group might be formed eventually to accommodate cultural groups that are not eligible for membership in the National Pan-Hellenic Council, which has nine members nationally.

“We will work with these groups to create a governing body for them,” Dealph said.