Getting Involved at UF, part 3

In case you’re reading my blog for the first time, here are the links to the first and second parts of this blog series!

The main focus for this blog is being a Latina gator but in the big idea is being a minority at a PWI, predominantly-white institution. I’ve reached out to some friends and asked what student organizations they’re in and would recommend to other students.

Opportunities for Black students

Black Affairs – The mission statement on their website states “to create, sustain, promote and affirm Black scholarship, culture, history, and leadership.” Stepping into the Institute of Black Culture house right before it was closed down (don’t worry, a new building will be built in less than 3 years!) I felt the spirit of fortitude and happiness in it, a little cheesy but 100% true. I feel like Black Affairs does a great job in creating a sense of solidarity with its black students and makes sure that their presence is known.

Project Class – BA has created this program to help African American women to become successful in higher learning. It’s a 12-week long course that has various elements like time management and professionalism incorporate to improve the lives of these women. Reading the description, it looks like the #BlackGirlMagic is strong in this program!

Black Student Union – A student organization where they are “creating, cultivating and challenging the future.” It was founded in 1968, ten years after the integration of UF, to provide a safe space for black students. It focuses now on voicing issues and has on numerous occasions, demanded UF presidents for certain things to happen. BSU has created programs that focus on inclusion and others that focus on leadership. I think one of the most important things needed in the real-world are more black leaders.

African Student Union – Something that people don’t understand is that not all Black people are African-American! The ASU was created to “unite African students and to promote awareness of African issues and culture to all students and the Gainesville community,” according to their website. Just with the different clubs for different Hispanic nationalities, there are different clubs for black students depending on how you identify!

National Pan-Hellenic Council Similar to Panhellenic and Multicultural Greek Council, NPHC is the Greek council for 9 historically black Greek-lettered organizations. There are four sororities: AKA, ΣΘ, ZΦBΣΓP. There are five fraternities: AΦAKAΨΩΨΦΦBΣIΦΘ. Cool fun fact: MLK Jr. and Will Atkins are brothers of AΦA (not during the same time or chapter, of course)!

Opportunities for Asian Students

Asian Pacific Islander American Affairs – If you haven’t noticed by now, there is a staff-lead department for all minorities and this is the one for Asian students. This is the department I’ve had the least amount of contact with, since I do not identify as Asian, but their mission statement is something that HLA and APIA Affairs have in common: “To promote a more critical understanding of APIA issues and identity while advocating for the needs of APIA community.”

Women’s Empower Hour – Being the hard-core feminist that I am, I truly appreciate this event that APIA Affairs holds. The content has been geared towards Asian women but as a fellow minority, I can share in the pain. The website has a great ending line: “By creating safe spaces when women can share stories and learn about themselves, we aim to discover ways in which we can work together to embrace our unique identities.”

Asian American Student Association AASU is to APIA Affairs what HSA is to HLA. This is the student organization where they are “dedicated to educating the campus about Asian American issues, history, and culture through creative and stimulating events,” according to GatorConnect. Reading through their Facebook, it looks like a lot of their meetings are about starting the conversations that need to be started and educating people about cultural appropriation.

Indian Student Association – There has been this debate of whether Indian people are considered Asian or not… We’re not going to get into this because we would be here all day (more like all year). ISA is a student organization that “focuses on raising awareness of the Indian culture and providing a community for individuals to discover their identity,” according to GatorConnect. One of the biggest events they hold, planned with Student Government, is Holi. This Festival of Colors is one of the most well-known events across the globe but can be culturally appropriated. While the event was open to all, ISA made sure to tell everyone what this event signifies and its meaning to this traditional Indian holiday.

Multicultural Greek CouncilIf you read my last post, MGC may look familiar. Well, it is! MGC is council to 14 culturally based sororities and fraternities including those that are Latinx-based.

  • Delta Phi Omega ∆ΦΩ  When the sorority was founded by and for South Asian women but has since then “has become the most sought after sorority for not only South Asian women, but woman of all backgrounds, across the United States,” according to their website. (If you don’t know, South Asian women are traditionally Indian women.)
  • Kappa Phi Lambda KΦΛ – According to their website, “Since the establishment of our sorority we have been open to women of all nationalities and backgrounds who want to learn about, actively speak for, and represent Pan-Asian culture.”
  • Pi Delta Psi Π∆Ψ – This is an Asian-American cultural interest fraternity whose mission statement states: “To break down cultural barriers by fostering individual growth in the areas of academic achievement, cultural awareness, righteousness, friendship and loyalty.” This was the first Asian-American fraternity at UF and the state of Florida.
  • alpha Kappa Delta Phi aK∆Φ – This is an international Asian-interest sorority. “We strive to maintain the highest levels of integrity and innovation in the promotion of sisterhood, philanthropy, scholastic excellence, and Asian-Awareness in the community while creating lifelong relationships,” according to their website.
  • Beta Chi Theta BXΘ – When this fraternity was founded in California, it was part of the mainstream (aka predominantly-white) council, Inter-Fraternal Council (IFC). The Mu chapter at UF was one of the first fraternities to be inducted on MGC. BXΘ describes themselves as a “national South Asian fraternity, but not Asian exclusive,” according to their Facebook.
  • Delta Epsilon Psi ∆EΨ – This is another South Asian fraternity here at UF. According to their website, they have “worked with determination and passion to create a fraternal organization that not only strives for growth in itself, but the personal growth of each brother and the community that they are a part of.”
  • Sigma Sigma Rho ΣΣP – This sorority is another sorority for South Asian women but not South Asian exclusive, one of my good friends, who’s Jamaican, is it and loves it! The first Sigma stands for sisterhood, the second Sigma stands for Society and Rho stands for Remembrance. Their Facebook page goes into more details on what they stand for.

I hope that this three-part blog post has been informational and hopefully you found clubs you’re interested in! Researching all of these different clubs and Greek organizations that UF has to offer was so eye-opening, I wish I could join them all!

While getting involved with different clubs produces different outcomes, always try to get involved with something.

“It’s impossible to be involved in all situations, but there’s no excuse not to be involved in something, somewhere, somehow, with someone. Make an ounce of difference.”  -Richelle E. Goodrich

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