¡Yo Soy Nalfo!

by Maritza Torres

NALFO stands for the National Association for Latino Fraternal Organizations. It was established in 1998 as an umbrella council for 20 Latino greek organizations. My fraternity, Alpha Psi Lambda, which is a Latino Interest Co-Ed fraternity established in 1985 is one of those 20 organizations.

I became a member of Alpha Psi Lambda in February of 2006 as an undergraduate at DePaul University. Prior to becoming a member the idea of Fraternity and Sorority Life did not even cross my mind. To be honest I was scared about it due to all the stereotypes and stories I would read or hear on the news. However, my perspective changed when I sat in class one day and saw a group of people wearing Alpha Psi Lambda letters. They were very welcoming and nice and seemed to have been the closest of friends for years. I noticed another group of students wearing the same letters in another class I had. I started becoming friends with these people and they told me about an informational they had coming up that gave more information about the organization. At the informational I was welcomed by all the members and was thoroughly impressed with the organization.  I loved that they considered themselves a familia, which was something I was looking for as a first generation college student. I wanted a group of friends that treated me like family and made the whole college experience a bit easier to navigate.  Alpha Psi Lambda prides itself on its Eight Goals and Purposes, which are:

1. Serve the university campus and community.
2. Bring forth on a scholastic level Hispanic/Latinos (as) and others at the university on the basis of friendship.

3. Provide a supplementary educational, social, and cultural experience for the mutual cultivation of its members.
4. Advocate for the needs and concerns of the Hispanic/Latino (a) students. 

5. Promote a basis for the diversity of the Hispanic/Latino (a) cultures. 

6. Enhance the educational experience through social and cultural activities, and assist in the development of members' leadership ability.

7. Promote inter-fraternity relations. 

8. Foster positive relations between the Greek System, University/College administration, and the outside community.

When I read those Eight Goals and Purposes I knew this would the right organization for me.  Being a member of Alpha Psi Lambda has truly shaped my college experience. I went from a shy and quiet student to a strong woman who held numerous leadership roles within our Multicultural Greek Council.  I grew not only as a student leader but personally as well. My confidence increased and so did my willingness to challenge myself. I credit my Alpha Psi Lambda for being one of the reasons why I decided to pursue a degree in higher education. I especially credit Alpha Psi Lambda to helping move out of my comfort zone of Chicago, IL and moving 1,000 miles away to Gainesville, FL to obtain my masters degree at the University of Florida.  

Now back to NALFO! On September 1st the NALFO Photo Challenge began.  Each day we have to take a picture of a different aspect of Fraternity and Sorority Life. For the next 30 days this photo challenge isn’t just only going to be bring great memories but also help me reflect why I decided to become a student affairs professional and why I know this is truly my life path. I look forward to completing the Photo Challenge, along with my fellow NALFO Brothers and Sisters, and seeing how much Fraternity and Sorority life has truly shaped our lives.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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