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Delta Lambda Phi Receives National Recognition

BU fraternity initiates first group of gay, bisexual, progressive men

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Jonathan Dobres was trying to describe how he felt just over a week ago. Finally, he put his finger on it: paternal. He wasn’t speaking of his children (he doesn’t have any) but rather of the group of young men he mentored to become full-fledged brothers of BU’s new chapter of Delta Lambda Phi, a nationwide fraternity for gay, bisexual, and progressive men.

“They’re my kids, they’re my boys, and they’re about to become a full chapter,” said Dobres (CAS’05, GRS’12), who along with Bryan Guffey from Kent State University mentored the group. “I have to remind myself and them that really it’s not the end, but the end of the beginning.”

On Saturday, October 6, 16 active members and alumni of the University’s DLP colony were initiated into the Alpha Chi Chapter of the national fraternity, which was founded in 1986 and has 30 chapters and 4 colonies in the United States and Canada. Moving from colony to chapter status means the brothers now have access to all fraternity “secrets and mysteries” and can conduct their own ceremonies without the presence of a mentor or alum.

The ceremony marked the return of the fraternity to BU. DLP founded a citywide chapter in 2001, but the group dwindled and was dissolved in 2007. A year later Ethan Pravetz (SED’12, CAS’12, SAR’13) learned about the fraternity through Dobres, then his teaching assistant and a former president of the Boston chapter, and decided to form an interest group. By February 2011, DLP’s national board of directors had granted Pravetz and seven other pledges colony status. The group has since welcomed three more pledge classes, written a 60-plus-page petition to the national board requesting to become a chapter, and received full recognition from the Student Activities Office as one of 12 fraternities on campus.

Welcoming DLP to BU “shows we’re at the forefront of what is going on in the fraternity and sorority community,” says Abby Myette, SAO assistant director of student activities.

Steve Arredondo (CAS’13), the chapter’s philanthropy chair, says he has found a BU family in the fraternity. “To me, that’s the best part of it,” he says.

“We didn’t really understand what it meant to be a full part of DLP until an event like this,” says chapter president Marcos Villarreal (CAS’13), who was impressed by the dozens of brothers from across the country who came to witness the initiation at the First Church of Cambridge. “It was quite a moving experience.”

Many of the brothers say they never considered themselves the Greek type, but that DLP offers something unique that other fraternities or student clubs don’t—an opportunity to create long-lasting friendships, network, and develop leadership skills in a completely open and accepting environment.

“Many gay men don’t go looking for this,” said Dobres, College of Arts & Sciences psychology department web administrator. “What’s become a refrain, now that being gay is so much more accepted, is, do we even need a gay fraternity? And I would say, definitely yes.” A self-described shy nerd, Dobres admits he never would have joined a fraternity had he not met friends who were DLP members.

“Being a brother is enduring,” he said. “It runs much deeper than being a member” of a student club, like Spectrum or the Queer Activist Collective. “The people I met in those clubs I’m not friends with anymore. We graduated and that was kind of it.” But 11 years after they met, he remains close to his fraternity “big brother”—so close, the two finish each other’s sentences.

“This is not a club, it’s not a transitory membership where people just go in and out,” Villarreal says. “This is an eternal bond. This is a commitment. You don’t realize how important something like brotherhood and family is until it’s not there.”

With their new official status, BU’s DLP chapter looks forward to future recruitment, community service, and fundraising for its two philanthropies, the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project and Waltham House, a group home for GLBTQ youth within the Home for Little Wanderers network.

As for mentors Dobres and Guffey, their job is done. “But these people don’t go away in a puff of air,” Villarreal says. “We do hope they stick around to help us out when we need them.”

It’s fair to say Dobres will answer yes to that too.

BU’s Delta Lambda Phi chapter will host a spelling bee fundraising event on Tuesday, November 27, at 7 p.m. The location has not yet been determined. All proceeds will go to Waltham House.

2 Comments
Leslie Friday, BU Today, Boston University
Leslie Friday

Leslie Friday can be reached at lfriday@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter at @lesliefriday.

2 Comments on Delta Lambda Phi Receives National Recognition

  • Erin on 10.16.2012 at 10:07 am

    This is really great. This is doing “fraternity” in a positive way: supporting one another and boosting each other up. So much better than exclusion and aggression.

  • Mark Krone on 10.16.2012 at 10:18 am

    Congratulations.

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