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Saturday, March 9, 2024
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first latino fraternity pic

AU’s first Latino fraternity presents founding members

The group aims to empower Latinos on campus through scholarship, brotherhood and the celebration of their identities

The founding members of the American University chapter of Lambda Theta Phi, Latin Fraternity Inc. hosted their new member presentation at the Woods-Brown Amphitheater Saturday night. The new chapter, founded in February, is the first Latino fraternity at AU and the first chapter of Lambda Theta Phi in D.C.

The fraternity, founded in 1975, now has almost 150 chapters across the United States and aims to empower Latino men through education, brotherhood and their cultural identities. The presentation, an event where the chapter’s three members perform routines, salutes and chants recognizing the history of the organization and their roots, occurs after initiation and is their introduction to campus.

The AU chapter’s three founding members, Dalvin Perez, Edwin Santos and Jeremy Acaba, revealed themselves to the crowd at the end of the presentation by removing black ski masks and hoodies that concealed their identities throughout the celebration of their culture. 

Other cultural fraternities and sororities attended the presentation alongside current and former Lambda members from nearby chapters in Virginia to support.

Jose Buscana, the induction officer for chapters in Virginia and now D.C., is AU’s chapter advisor. He said he believes that the organization helps celebrate Latino excellence.

“It’s important to have that representation for the community,” he said in an interview with The Eagle. “It’s important that we see ourselves as scholars and are empowered to pursue an education.”

Santos, a senior in the School of Public Affairs, said he feels that a Latino fraternity is especially important at a predominantly white institution like AU, because of the guidance and support it offers.

“As someone who is a first-generation student and is low-income attending a PWI, it is so important to me to have this brotherhood,” said Santos, who is also AU’s student body president.

Perez, a junior in the Kogod School of Business, also said he recognizes the significance of having a Latino fraternity on campus.

“When I first got to AU, there weren’t a lot of people who looked like me, and I want to create a space for those who do look like me to thrive,” he said.

Acaba, a senior in the School of International Service, said he is excited to see the establishment of the chapter after working to bring Lambda Theta Phi to AU.

“It’s just surreal that a year ago, I was trying to get this all started,” he said.

As the youngest member of the group, Perez said he has high hopes for the future of the fraternity and the opportunity to serve his community. 

“I hope that we can grow and work to really foster a community here,” he said. 

This article was edited by Kathryn Squyres, Zoe Bell, Abigail Turner and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks and Ariana Kavoossi.

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