A Fraternity Comes Back to Life
Delta Lambda Phi welcomes gay, bisexual, and progressive men| From Commonwealth | By Leslie Friday
The Delta Lambda Phi family: (back row, from left) Arcangelo Cella (CAS’11, LAW’14), Marcos Villarreal (CAS’13), Elliot Cintron (SMG’13), Stephen Arredondo (CAS’13), Ethan Pravetz (SED’12, CAS’12); (front row, from left) Arty Mendoza (COM’11) (holding a cutout of Kent State University mentor Bryan Guffey), Jonathan Dobres (CAS’05, GRS’12), Andrew McDonough (CAS’11, GRS’13), David Mark Orr (CAS’12), and Tom H. (ENG’12). Photo by Cydney Scott
Jonathan Dobres arrived at BU in 2001 hoping to make new friends; what he found, he says, was a whole new family. His new siblings were members of the recently founded Delta Lambda Phi, a social fraternity that welcomes gay, bisexual, and progressive members. The chapter thrived for a short time, then dwindled, and was dissolved in 2007.
Now, a decade after he first stepped on campus, Dobres (CAS’05, GRS’12) is back at the University as a graduate student. And so is Delta Lambda Phi.
By chance, Ethan Pravetz (SED’12, CAS’12), a biology and science education major, had Dobres as a teaching assistant freshman year and learned about DLP through its one-time fraternity president. Their conversations encouraged Pravetz to form an interest group, and by January 2011, DLP’s national board of directors had granted the first eight pledges colony status, the step before becoming a full chapter. Dobres is one of two mentors for the fraternity’s BU colony.
Delta Lambda Phi was founded in 1986 and now has 26 chapters and 6 colonies in the United States and Canada. Other than Delta Phi Upsilon, a Greek organization founded by gay men of color, it is the only nationwide fraternity for gay, bisexual, and progressive men.
“I think there’s a need for it in collegiate Greek life,” says Pravetz, DLP’s BU president and pledge educator. “All fraternities have antidiscrimination clauses in their bylaws. Everyone’s willing to say that they don’t discriminate, but we’re trying to be leaders against the de facto discrimination that might occur.”
Last fall, the group completed its first rush. Of the 18 students who rushed, 7 were accepted.
DLP dubs itself a social fraternity, but members raise money and do community service for organizations like the Greater Boston Food Bank, Rosie’s Place, and Fenway Health, where they answer a hotline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people.