Latino fraternity to join Greek ranks
Known also as Phiota, the organization is recognized as the oldest Latino fraternity, tracing its roots back to the late 19th century, according to A&M-Commerce Phiota President Edgar Ceron.
Ceron said the fraternity was officially established on the campus on Nov. 3, 2011. Since Fall 2009 they have been an interest group and in order to become a chapter, they must attain 15 members.
"Right now we are a colony," Ceron said. "Next fall is when we will start taking in new members."
Ceron and Phiota Vice President Sergio Vargas agree that the seven current members will be a good number for now to assist in housekeeping matters and spreading the word about the new organization.
Vargas had the initial inspiration for the formation of a new campus fraternity, particularly to reach out to the growing Latino culture on the A&M-Commerce campus.
"There has been an increase in Latinos," he said. "That creates a need for multicultural fraternities and sororities."
After much research and formation of ideas, Vargas took the opportunity to go through interviews with various fraternities.
"We went over what we want out of a fraternity. Phiota fit just that," Vargas said. "Others focus on means of bringing quantity. Phiota focuses on quality."
Ceron said the fraternity's solid reputation and focus on schoolwork were two important factors in their decision.
"What attracted us was the professionalism of the fraternity and the push for academic excellence," he said.
The Phiota mascot is a lion and their colors are blue, gold, red, and white. Vargas sees this as an advantage in promoting their name considering it has similarities with symbols for A&M-Commerce.
Vargas stressed that their fraternity believes in the traditions of Pan-Americanism and hopes to influence that in their brothers.
"We are going to be the middle man between the university and the Latino community," he said.
Ceron said that while Phiota is Latino based, it is a multicultural fraternity. They have brothers from Asia, Egypt, Yemen, and other places around the world, and members from multiple backgrounds sent messages and phone calls to Ceron after Phiota was established.
"You feel so close to everybody without even having to know them personally," Ceron said. "That meant a lot to me."
The rest of the A&M-Commerce Phiota seven "originals" include Carlos Ruiz as the secretary, Hugo Macias as the public relations head, Carlos Robles as the treasurer, Eduardo Sneed as the provost, and member Fadhl Al-Matari.
Vargas said that campus organizations, Greek Life, and other various campus groups helped out a lot.
"We want to give back and say thank you," he said, "Without their help we wouldn't be here."
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