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BEAVER’S DIGEST IS ORANGE MEDIA NETWORK’S STUDENT LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE. The Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center is located off Monroe Street. JACOB LE | ORANGE MED I A NETWORK Representing Cultural Fraternities and Sororities OSU DEDICATES SPACE TO HONOR GREEK HOUSES REPRESENTING MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES By ALEXANDER VO Contributor As part of an effort to bring representation for the 17 cultural Greek chapters on campus at Oregon State University, the Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life is working with the Memorial Union to turn MU 109 into a place that will promote each cultural chapter. Each chapter will have their own shields, or crests, displayed around the room, with each one holding a different meaning unique to the chapter it represents. The cultural chapters have been at OSU for some time now, but this addition to the MU will help highlight their history and achievements. With their shields proudly displayed for all to see, their contributions, history, and overall importance to the community will have been cemented in time. “Culturally-based organizations have been here at Oregon State for quite some time, starting with Kappa Alpha Psi founded here in 1978, which Lonnie B. Harris is a charter member,” said Johnny Peters, the Assistant Director for Fraternity and Sorority Life at OSU. Lonnie B. Harris was the first Director of the Educational Opportunities Program at OSU, and the Black Cultural Center is still named after him to this day, to pay tribute for the work he did in advancing his community. “We’ve had these groups come onto campus, and for the last 15 years, we’ve developed our other culturally-based groups, like our Native American sorority and our South Asian fraternities and sororities,” Peters said. “We thought we should highlight them and their importance to the overall fraternal experience.” While most people know Greek houses as fraternities and sororities, they are often collectively referred to as “fraternal” due to the fact that many of the oldest sororities chartered were not actually allowed to call themselves sororities because of sexist societal structures, and despite their modern name, are still technically categorized as female-fraternities. To the average student, the shields might not mean too much. To the individual chapters, the shields represent who they are and where they’ve come from. They help manifest a meaning for each chapter’s values, and for the members of those chapters, a more meaningful symbolization. “For the students that are part of it, they can have a sense of pride, and see their organization go up,” Peters said. “If you’re in the space, it can draw up some questions you may have, or make you want to know more about culturally-based groups. So it’s mainly representation in the space, but also brings awareness to this community of students,” Peters said. Bringing more representation for the cultural chapters can help communicate that Greek Life is a very diverse community, and that there’s a place for everyone who wants to join. The people involved in this event want to see more representation for the cultural chapters, and help grow the community. “I’m just really excited to see the students be willing to really push to grow this community out,” said Peters. “It’s good to see that Oregon State is starting to support our culturally-based fraternities and sororities,” he said. On Thursday, Sept 26 in MU 109, the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) hosted their annual “Meet the NPHC Greeks”. Students came to learn more about the historically black fraternities and sororities on campus, highlighting the shields of each of these organizations, which also include a little plaque of the history and why they were founded. On Friday, Oct 4, the NPHC hosted a cookout at the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center, located on campus. There was food for everyone, and to encourage attendance and show generosity towards the community, the event and all food was completely free of charge for all guests. Events like these happen pretty often on campus. If you are looking for more information about these cultural fraternities and sororities, feel free to attend an event and talk to the members of these chapters or the administrators who help run them, or look them up on the OSU clubs database to get into contact with them.