“A home away from home”: Students share experiences within Multicultural Greek Council


Photo courtesy of Delta Phi Lambda

The Noble Nu chapter of Delta Phi Lambda at Iowa State aims to promote awareness of Asian identities.

Iowa State is home to many multicultural sororities and fraternities that provide engagement opportunities for students of color. For students like Renee Clemensen, being a part of a Multicultural Greek Council provides a community of shared values.

Clemensen, a sophomore in construction engineering, said it is difficult to find a community as a multicultural student at a predominately white institution (PWI), which is why multicultural sororities and fraternities are especially important.

“I have learned to embrace my Asian heritage more,” Clemensen said. “These organizations feel like a family and a place to connect with others.”

As president of Delta Phi Lambda, a Multicultural Greek Council sorority, Kelly Nguyen works to create and maintain an all-inclusive and culturally diverse environment.

“Our sorority is Asian-interest but not asian-exclusive,” Nguyen, a junior in psychology, said. “We are open to all individuals who need a home away from home.”

During Asian Heritage Month, Delta Phi Lambda organizes events throughout the year to celebrate achievements and advocate for Asian awareness.

“During the fall semester, we have a week dedicated to DPhiL called ‘DPhiL Week,’” Nguyen said. “We host a week of events to celebrate the years of achievements and everlasting sisterhood.”

Delta Phi Lambda, like other sororities and fraternities, has a philanthropy, which is a cause or organization that it raises awareness for. Delta Phi Lambda’s philanthropy relates to osteoporosis, a disease that Asian women have a higher chance of developing.

“My role as philanthropy chair is to raise awareness for osteoporosis, a disease that can result in the loss of bone mass and brittle bones,” Sara Sulham, a senior in early childhood education, said. “My goal is to raise awareness in our community about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and advocating for our cause.”

Delta Phi Lambda partners with American Bone Health and raises funds to make donations toward the awareness, education and risk prevention of osteoporosis, according to Sulham.

“The Multicultural Greek Council places importance on diverse identities held within this inclusive community,” Nguyen said. “It unites multicultural sororities and fraternities to create a supportive and strong multicultural community by promoting success in higher education, increasing diversity, and multicultural awareness.”

Sulham said Delta Phi Lambda has provided networking opportunities, community service and the chance to form bonds with others.

“I’ve learned a lot about leadership and myself,” Nguyen said. “I enjoy the time I spend with my sxsters; our connection with one another is extremely close to how small our chapter is currently. We don’t force ourselves to hang out because of requirements.”

Sulham said you can sometimes feel that you don’t have anywhere to share your culture when attending a PWI.

“It matters that everyone on the Iowa State’s campus feels included and culturally represented,” Sulham said. “We all bring something unique to the table.”

Chair members of Delta Phi Lambda hope to grow their sorority in future years, according to Nguyen.

“I want to keep showcasing our achievements and Sxsterhood to show that we aren’t just your typical sorority,” Nguyen said. “Learning more about how certain sororities and fraternities makes an impact not only on campus but nationwide and opens doors for a home away from home.”