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First Latino fraternity joins Greek Life

By Hannah Simpson
Around the Town Editor

The first Latin fraternity was welcomed to the UNCP community April 19 as they completed their probate outside the Chavis University Center.

Established in 1975, Lambda Theta Phi, Latino Fraternity Incorporated is the first Latin fraternity to be recognized across the nation.

Lambda Theta Phi became a member of the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations in 2004. It is also the first Latino Fraternity to be recognized by the National Interfraternity Conference.

Brayam E. Pinilla, president of the UNCP chapter of Lambda Theta Phi, Randall K. Williams, Scott Munizza, Epifanio Duran, Jr, Edgar Mendoza and Deon S. Harrell became the founding members of the UNCP chapter.

The UNC-Charlotte chapter of Lambda Theta Phi helped coach the UNCP brothers through their initiation, Pinilla said.

The probate was attended by other campus fraternities and sororities, offering support and posing for pictures with the new group after the event.

According to Pinilla, the fraternity will focus on helping the area Latino community.

“Nobody really focuses on the Latino community like they should,” he said. “That’s why we brought Lambda Theta Phi to campus.”

Currently, the group participates in tutoring and mentoring Latino youth in the community.

Pinilla said he hopes the fraternity’s service in the community will draw more Hispanics to attend UNCP.

To date, the fraternity has done far more than normal initiating fraternities do, said co-adviser Robert Canida, director of the Office of Multicultural and Minority Affairs.

Canida also mentioned that Lambda Theta Phi is open to all ethnicities, noting that a white, black and Asian are a part of the founding members of the UNCP chapter.

Canida said the men created “Conquering Obstacles,” a program which helps mentor and teach the Latino community about the benefits of attending college.

“We’re also trying to educate their parents,” Pinilla said.

He said Latino parents often did not have the opportunity to go to college in their country or America.

“They don’t know their children have the opportunity to go to college,” he said.

Pinilla said the fraternity is already planning a fundraiser to rasie money for three scholarships: one financial aid and two academic scholarships specifically for Hispanic students.

The UNCP chapter is the second Lambda Theta Phi, Latin Fraternity Incorporated to be established in North Carolina. UNC-Charlotte is the first.

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Updated: Thursday, April 24, 2008
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