The Montclair State University Greek community stands 37 organizations strong after a unanimous vote on Tuesday, Oct. 27, to officially colonize the first gender-inclusive LGBTQ+ focused Greek organization at Montclair and Theta Delta Sigma’s first chapter in New Jersey.
Theta Delta Sigma is made up of 15 active members who are working to make a local and national impact. Austin Greitz, a junior whose pronouns are he, him, his, said, “The national organization itself doesn’t have an LGBTQ focus. They are multicultural, but our specific chapter of the organization will be focusing on the LGBTQ community.” He added, “It is really cool to me that the possibility of what we are doing at a local level will have repercussions at a national level.”
The process of colonizing a Greek organization at Montclair State is no easy feat and this group of trailblazers made it very clear that no obstacle would stand in its way of reaching the goal of making the possibility of this organization a reality.
Coordinator of the LGBTQ Center and the new advisor of Theta Delta Sigma chapter at Montclair State Brian Edwards said that the members of the organization put in so much work when planning for colonization and showed that they were up for the challenge.
When asked what steps he took to help the organization colonize, Edwards said, “As their advisor, I just made sure they were supported and I checked in regularly, making sure I was present at both their meetings with nationals and meetings with Emily [Cordero], the Coordinator for Greek Life.”
The thought of having an organization like this on campus has never been brought to the attention of the Greek community as a whole until this semester. Once it was a thought, it had to become a reality for the members of Theta Delta Sigma. Justin DeCicco, a junior whose pronouns are he, him, his, said, “ I was always interested in Greek Life and I thought it would be amazing to have a type of LGBTQ Greek Life that would be more inclusive. When the idea became a possibility, Kelsea Rowan and I wanted to make it happen.”
The goal of this organization is to give a home to LGBTQ+ students and allies who are looking for a home within the Greek community.
Jenna Marie San Angelo, a junior whose pronouns are she, her, hers, said, “I had never thought about joining Greek Life before, until an organization like this became a possibility.” When asked why this organization was the one for her, San Angelo said, “Coming out was hard for me, so I wanted to be in a space where I was with like-minded people and people who were going through similar issues as me. I wanted to be a support system and have a support system.”
Many of the members of this newly colonized organization felt similarly to San Angelo that no organization was the right fit for them until Theta Delta Sigma emerged. Alex Roberts, a freshman whose pronouns are she/her/hers, said, “Knowing that both my parents came from Greek Life, I have always wanted to join the community and I wanted to make sure I picked the right organization. After Theta Delta Sigma was colonized, I felt it was a good decision to be a part of.”
This organization will shine light on the importance of inclusiveness within the Greek community. Julie Fleming, the Associate Director of Student Involvement, whose pronouns are she, her, hers / they, them, theirs, said, “What I see coming from this organization is that their presence will help the Greek community be a place anyone feels they can belong to. They provide an opportunity for people who may not have given Greek Life a second look to consider it as an option to find a family on campus.”
When the Organization’s hopeful Alpha (President) Kelsea Rowan, whose pronouns are they, them, theirs / she, her, hers, was asked why Theta Delta Sigma was the organization for them to colonize, she said, “ We appreciate that they are a multicultural organization because we understand that identities are important in Queer culture. By calling each other siblings, not brother and sister, we embrace this importance and no other organization would give us this opportunity besides Theta Delta Sigma.”
It is important to the members of Theta Delta Sigma to show that they are passionate about what they stand for. Cordero, the Coordinator for Greek Life, whose pronouns are she, her, hers, said, “Greek Life can shape your college experience for the better and be a home away from home, creating friendships and bonds that will far exceed your years here at Montclair. The addition of Theta Delta Sigma provides just another outlet for students to find their own support system and a new home.”
There are many possibilities and a strong support system for this new colony and Edwards hopes that the siblinghood “will strengthen and diversify the larger Greek community at Montclair State University, serve as a model for inclusion for the campus and stay true to themselves and that they will influence their national organization. They have a wonderful opportunity to make their national organization more inclusive. As the only queer-focused chapter, I can’t wait to see the programs and co-sponsorships to come out of this group. It’s going to be great.”