By Amy Reynolds
Joining a fraternity or a sorority can be a goal of numerous students at some point during their college careers. Yet for some, finding a fraternity that feels like the perfect fit can be somewhat of a challenge.
At the beginning of the Spring 2012 semester, two new fraternities formed on the College’s campus — Delta Epsilon Psi, a fraternity for South Asian men, and Delta Lambda Phi, a fraternity for gay and bisexual men.
“We are a South Asian interest fraternity, so we bring in a whole new culture to the Greek life on campus. We are a group of academically driven students that put our education above everything else,” said Viraj Patel, a junior biology major and president of the chapter.
Patel was inspired to start the chapter at the College by his older brother, a founder of Delta Epsilon Psi at New Jersey Institute of Technology. After proposing the idea to friends at the College, Patel received multiple positive responses. On Dec. 7, 2011, they were recognized as an interest group and recognized as brothers by the National Council on Feb. 20.
Beyond social activities, Delta Epsilon Psi focuses their attention on fundraising and service. The 14 members have begun volunteering at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen and the Kensington Soup Kitchen in Philadelphia, as well as volunteering with the Bonner Center for Martin Luther King Day of Service and Dr. Seuss Day at Hedgepeth Williams School in Trenton.
In addition, all fundraising and events are geared toward raising money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which works toward a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.
“I feel as if Greek organizations do a lot for the community as a whole while maintaining strong bonds within themselves which really attracted me,” Patel said.
Delta Lambda Phi was also formally inducted as a colony this semester on Feb. 25, and is now actively participating in their first pledge season.
“During our pledge process, we are creating our history and continuing to build bonds of brotherhood through the events that we are participating,” said Adam Fisher, sophomore graphic design major and chapter president.
The founder of Delta Lambda Phi initially created the fraternity in order to create a place within the fraternal system for gay and bisexual men to have the same experience as other fraternity men, and not be singled out because of their sexual orientation.
As Fisher said, “By having Delta Lambda Phi accepted onto the TCNJ campus, it provides testimony of how perspectives of the LGBT community are changing for the better.”
However, the fraternity’s main goal at the moment is to be able to make its presence known.
“Like all fraternities, we exist for social reasons, but we also seek to help those around us,” Fisher said.
Most importantly, these new fraternities offer an experience to men who are different, who didn’t see that they fit well with other fraternities.
“Since before I started college, I knew that I wanted to be in a fraternity,” Fisher said. “When the opportunity arrived to begin on the journey of starting a fraternity that shared my similar values and ideologies, I took the step not only for myself, but for the men that Delta Lambda Phi represents.”
As for other fraternities on campus, they have accepted and welcome Delta Lambda Phi and Delta Epsilon Psi.
Fisher said, “We have received resounding acceptance and enthusiasm from most of the fraternities and sororities and they are excited to collaborate with us in the future.”