This fall, the University of Redlands welcomed fraternity Gamma Delta Rho as the most recently accredited member of Greek life, providing a space for students of color. The 12th social Greek organization at the University, Gamma Delta Rho was the brainchild of Alieu Corr ’20 and Maliq Champion ’20.
“We wanted to establish a space where we can truly be ourselves and make our four years in college feel as close to home as possible,” says Corr, now Gamma Delta Rho president. “We all came to college for a full college experience, and Greek life is part of that. I wanted an organization that was diverse but didn’t exist for the sole purpose of promoting diversity, and we felt that there wasn't a specific organization in the Greek community that reflected our values or beliefs.”
Instead of just wishing such an organization existed, Corr and Champion, now the fraternity’s vice president, decided to start one as first-year students.
As a first step, they consulted with the University’s Office of Student Involvement and Success (SIS). Erin Sanborn, director of SIS, saw the effort as “reflective of how our student body is growing and how we're becoming a more diverse campus.”
Sanborn introduced Corr and Champion to members of Alpha Chi Delta, a multicultural sorority founded in the 1920s, disbanded in the 1940s, and relaunched by Emma Wade ’16 in 2016. Alpha Chi Delta is an organization that values sisterhood, community service, and empowerment for women of all ethnicities, nationalities, and cultures.
Corr and Sanborn credit those who relaunched Alpha Chi Delta, along with its current president, Corinna Martin ’21, for helping Gamma Delta Rho through the lengthy accreditation process called “colonization.” The process included conducting research on the existing Greek community, participating in Rush, creating a constitution, and working with SIS and the University dean of students to develop a founding class.
“Alpha Chi Delta’s founders quite literally held our hands throughout the process,” says Corr. “We owe a lot of our success to them.”
Both Gamma Delta Rho and Alpha Chi Delta are now working on community service and philanthropy projects. Their presidents are also focused on making sure their organizations are bonding with others within the Greek community and establishing foundations and ideals that will last beyond their terms. Joint projects include a first-generation student talk, with a discussion in both Spanish and English, scheduled for the spring.
Both leaders also emphasize inclusivity.
“Our organizations are not just for people of color,” Martin says. “They’re for students who are willing to come to into our space, learn about various cultures, and be an ally, in a sense.”
Corr adds, “We didn’t want to be just another organization trying to party. We want to promote a safe space, culture, and environment that attracts all people regardless of color. If that resonates with you, then you’re welcome.”