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April 23, 2024

Phi Iota Alpha hosts regional fraternity conference

By NATHAN BICK | September 18, 2014

The University’s colony of the Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity hosted the organization’s Northeast Province Regional Leadership Training Institute (RLTI) on Saturday.

Throughout the day, fraternity brothers and alumni held and attended meetings and presentations in the Charles Commons Ballroom.

Representatives from fraternity colonies and chapters at schools throughout the Northeast Province — stretching from Maine to Virginia — along with the fraternity’s Executive Director Francisco Lugo, Regional Director Luis Walters and other officials, were in attendance.

“This is where all the chapters from this Northeast Province come to get educated on new changes in the fraternity, expectations, [and] things to follow, so that’s really the focus,” Lugo said. “At the same time, we try to accomplish more things than that, as far as making sure more brothers within the province get to know each other [and] make relationships with each other because we expect them to also support each other in their events.”

Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity, Inc., established on Dec. 26, 1931, is the oldest Latino fraternity in the U.S. As an organization, it is committed to the empowerment of the Latin American community, as well as Pan-Americanism — a movement that seeks to strengthen ties and cooperation between the nations of the American continents.

Composed of undergraduate, graduate and professional men, Phi Iota Alpha, also known as “Phiota,” works to ensure its brothers, Latinos in general and more broadly, people of color, succeed in their undergraduate educations and can attain terminal degrees.

“We play an integral part in that issue [at] universities, of recruiting, retaining and graduating those undergraduates because we’re able to do that more effectively,” Lugo said. “We know that a lot more Latinos are going to be coming onto campuses around the country, and if [the universities are] not ready for that wave, they’re going to be scattered.”

The Hopkins colony, which was founded in December of 2012, hosted the regional event as part of its overall goal of expanding its presence in the University community.

“This is the first big event that the Johns Hopkins colony has had here on campus where we have this number of brothers coming down to show support,” Walters said.

Eduardo Alvarado, president of the Hopkins colony, expressed excitement about the opportunity to interact with the rest of the fraternity in the Northeast Province, since most of the other fraternity chapters in the province are in New York.

Paul Markakis, vice president of the Hopkins colony, emphasized the need for more diversity at Hopkins and greater inclusion and appreciation of the Hispanic community. However, both Markakis and Alvarado pointed out that progress has been made, particularly with the formation of the Latino Alliance, an umbrella organization to support Latinos across all of the Hopkins campuses.

A major focus of the event was how to better bring the fraternity’s tradition of community service to the Hopkins community through the local chapter.

“The President’s Day of Service is a big thing at Hopkins, and all the organizations push to become a part of it, and like any other organization on campus, we love to do some community service, especially with other organizations,” Alvarez said.

While the national fraternity has a partnership with UNICEF, the local colony has partnered with other local organizations, including the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Johns Hopkins OLÉ in the past couple of years.

Over the course of RLTI, the fraternity held closed-door meetings and presentations, the contents of which are considered only for fraternity brothers. Along with a general principle of professionalism and respect throughout, Phiota keeps much of its inner workings fairly secret — particularly information about its pledging process.

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