The fraternity, the only one of its kind, is fighting a lonely battle in its quest to find new members. College junior Gincy George stands alone among the 3,000 or so students in the University's Greek organizations -- he's the sole Penn member of the world's only South Asian fraternity. The Philadelphia-area chapter of Iota Nu Delta, founded in October 1997, has a total of 11 members from Penn, Drexel University, and the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, formerly the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science. It does not have a chapter house. The fraternity was founded at New York's Binghampton University in 1994 and has 78 brothers worldwide. Although George enjoys the organization's brotherhood, he hopes more Penn students will join the fraternity soon. Some people have expressed interest, he said. "It's very difficult being the only one," he admitted. "It's a minority fraternity, and South Asian is a minority beneath that," George added, explaining the low membership. The fraternity strives to promote unity among all South Asians, said Chapter President Joseph Moonjely, a Drexel University junior. "In India and Pakistan, people don't get along, but in this country we have the opportunity to get along," Moonjely said. "We don't want the same problems as they have over there." Moonjely added that the fraternity creates valuable connections for many of the brothers. "We want to form a network for South Asians in this country," he said. "We want to help our own brothers and our own people." Currently the fraternity only has chapters in two states -- one fewer than the three needed to establish a national chapter that will be officially recognized by the University, George explained. Although George said he is more concerned about membership than recognition at the moment, such a move would help the group increase its financial resources and visibility. Without a national chapter, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs cannot recognize Iota Nu Delta as an official fraternity on campus, OFSA Director Scott Reikofski said. Reikofski added that the fraternity had not spoken to him about obtaining recognition. "Unofficially, I would have no problem giving [George] advice and ideas on how to develop and grow," Reikofski said. He added, however, that "the recognition policy means you have to have a national organization." Larry Moses, OFSA's program director for the Bicultural InterGreek Council -- the umbrella for minority fraternities -- emphasized his willingness to advise the fraternity and said that the lack of a national chapter doesn't prevent them from forging a relationship with OFSA. "It doesn't exclude them totally from being recognized by the office," Moses explained. There are two Asian Greek organizations on campus, neither recognized by OFSA: the 20-member fraternity Lambda Phi Epsilon and 12-member Asian-interest sorority Alpha Kappa Delta Phi. Both organizations are working toward OFSA recognition, their presidents said. The fraternity's current community-service project, which George is helping out with, is an effort to save a dying 13-year-old girl. Yasmin Singh will succumb to leukemia unless a bone-marrow match can be found. All the chapters of Iota Nu Delta are sponsoring bone-marrow drives in conjunction with the South Asia Marrow Association of Recruiters. The drive was held last Friday afternoon in Meyerson Hall. The brothers hope that the drive will educate South Asians about the necessity of bone-marrow donation. "South Asians are the least represented [donors]," Moonjely said. "Its almost impossible for South Asians to find a match."Comments powered by Disqus
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