Junior Mitt Patel said he came to Mercer wanting to join a fraternity, but he had a hard time finding one that suited him. Patel and his friends knew students at Georgia State University and the University of Georgia in Delta Epsilon Psi, the largest South Asian fraternity in the nation.
Ever since their freshman year, they’ve been planning and trying to bring the organization to Mercer’s campus.
“We’re in the process now, and if everything works out, the organization should be here early or spring time of next semester,” Mitt said.
Another group of female students are in the process of bringing a chapter of the organization’s sister sorority, Sigma Sigma Rho, to campus.
Sophomore Kanishka Patel said the national organization was very excited when they reached out to them about possibly having a chapter of Sigma Sigma Rho on Mercer’s campus.
“They’re South Asian organizations, but they’re not exclusive,” Mitt said. “They’re open to everyone.”
“What makes these organizations unique is the fact that they’re based off of cultural beliefs, ” said sophomore Megha Soor.
“They take South Asian culture and use that as the foundation for the principles in the sorority,” Soor said. “That’s another reason why we’re trying to bring them [to Mercer], so that we can raise awareness of the diversity of culture on this campus and to also enhance it.”
During his research, Mitt Patel found that the Asian population at Mercer has tripled since 2011. Mitt said he thinks that in order for the organizations to exist on campus, a new council, the Multicultural Greek Council, would have to be added as well.
“With the direction that Mercer is heading in right now, this is perfect,” Mitt said. “If we can [bring these new organizations] to campus, we’ll be a stepping stone for other multi-cultural fraternities and sororities to join.”
The students interested in being charter members of Delta Epsilon Psi and Sigma Sigma Rho presented to representatives of other chapters on campus and Greek Life staff members a couple of weeks ago.
“It was all positive, and there were a lot of people that we didn’t expect to come out that came,” Soor said. “Some of the other girls from the other organizations were fully supportive of this, so we’re hoping that we get a really good response and that we can establish Sigma Sigma Rho [and Delta Epsilon Psi] here on campus.”
At the meeting, they also talked about their potential service projects and focus areas.
“We have a social aspect and a service aspect,” Soor said. “ In terms of service, we plan to focus on raising awareness for domestic violence and cyberbullying.”
They expressed how excited they were to be able to potentially work with the other councils and organizations on campus to host events.
Not only have they been receiving support from other Greek affiliated students, but form students who may be interested in becoming members of these new campus organizations.
“It’s a great step because a lot of minority students or students of different ethnic backgrounds kind of look at Greek Life, and they see this image, and they kind of feel like, ‘I can’t relate to that,’ or ‘I don’t feel like I belong there,’” said sophomore Supreet Raina.
Raina said they reached out to a number of people, not just those of South Asian descent.
A representative from each Greek organization on campus will have the opportunity to vote and Vice President and Dean of Students Douglas Pearson will make the final decision.
“When Greek life starts to mirror Mercer’s student population, then that’ll just make students feel more comfortable and willing to join,” she said.