Fraternities embrace ethnic roots

By Elizabeth Llorente MCT

HACKENSACK, N.J. – Clad in shirts that displayed their fraternity letters, the young men filed into an empty classroom to assemble boxes for their annual clothing drive.

As other frat brothers arrived, the men greeted them with a hearty embrace and their secret handshake.

But this wasn’t just another fraternity at Montclair State University in Montclair, N.J. It was la fraternidad Lambda Theta Phi, one of dozens of Hispanic Greek organizations in the country.

As the number of Hispanics in higher education has risen over the years, so has the number of students who turn to an age-old college staple – fraternities and sororities – but ones that embrace their ethnic roots.

“I looked at the different organizations on campus,” said Johnathan Gaugler, who attends Montclair State University. “I wasn’t interested in joining a Greek organization that was mostly social – a lot of parties, drinking. I liked Lambda Theta Phi because it focused on culture and academics. I felt like I could relate to them more.”