For a diverse array of students at the University of New Mexico, the Multicultural Greek Council fosters experience in leadership, collaborations across campus and much more through providing a space for cultural connection and community.
The Multicultural Greek Council consists of nine sororities and seven fraternities, each of which aims to provide a space for their students to collaborate, communicate and support each other through community, according to their website.
The multicultural Greek organizations on campus first founded the UNM MGC in order to form a community for students of color and help them through college and beyond, according to Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. member Danielle Bell. She was particularly interested in joining the Divine Nine, a national council made up of nine historically black sororities and fraternities.
"(The Divine Nine) was created to … help with the matriculation of Black students throughout college by providing them with mentors, providing them with an opportunity to express themselves (and) providing them with an opportunity to surround themselves with like-minded people who look like them," Bell said.
Though three Greek organizations in the MGC are members of the Divine Nine, it’s not only historically black fraternities and sororities that claim membership, but others as well, according to Odelle Brown, a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., one of UNM’s multicultural sororities and member of the Divine Nine.
"There's also Latinx fraternities and sororities in (the Multicultural Greek Council)," Brown said. "And hearing (what states) their organizations came (from) and their cultural backgrounds from their own words is kind of what brings MGC together."
Zeta Phi Beta member Kaelyn Moon found more than just an extracurricular activity when she joined her MGC organization.
"It's a lifetime commitment that is rooted in Black culture. Even when wearing different colors and letters, the entire council is dedicated to the liberation and perseverance of the Black community," Moon wrote to the Daily Lobo.
Bell is the current president of the Multicultural Greek Council and first vice president of Zeta Phi Beta. Her time as president, she said, has helped her grow more into herself as a leader, while being first vice president has helped her connect with others in her chapter.
"It's allowed me to be more willing to be upfront in my leadership roles and more willing to step out of my comfort zone … After going into all of these roles, it has allowed me to realize that I'm a lot more capable (than) what I might think I am," Bell said.
Brown and Moon also hold positions in their organizations and on the MGC. Brown is the president of Sigma Gamma Rho and the Vice President of Recruitment for the MGC and Moon is the secretary for Zeta Phi Beta and serves as Vice President of Programming for the MGC.
For Moon, being a part of Zeta Phi Beta has changed her life for the better by giving her experiences that have boosted her confidence.
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"After becoming a Zeta, I walk through life and into rooms with a new, powerful and confident essence," Moon wrote. "This empowers my everyday life in college and is something that is life-lasting."
Elizabeth Secor is the multimedia editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @esecor2003