The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

Phi Iota Alpha

Amanda Fanelli, Assistant Features Editor 

Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, established in 1931, is the oldest Latino fraternity in existence. There are five pillars of this fraternity; Simon Bolivar, Jose de San Martin, Bernardo O’Higgins, Jose Marte and Benito Juarez.

The fraternity’s mission is to further their philosophies which include creation of a Latin American consciousness, economic and social mobilization of Latin American communities globally and to conserve the integrity of the Latin American character, to name a few. Although it is a Latino fraternity, it is open to all cultures.

Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity participates in many community service events including the Alzheimer’s Walk, Breast Cancer Walk, Heart Run & Walk, AIDS Walk and working with students from the House of Good Shepard.

Dillan Torres, President of Phi Iota Alpha at Utica College, graduated in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in health studies and psychology. Torres also received his master’s degree from UC in 2015 in occupational therapy.

Torres said there have benefits of being a member of Phi Iota Alpha for him personally.

“I’ve received love and dedication each brother has towards me, no matter my sexuality, and they’ve accepted me for who I am and what I bring to the table,” Torres said.

Torres said the members become your family, and that is something he has always searched for being a gay male in today’s society. Torres also said the fraternity has helped with job opportunities and internships, not only within the organization but with other Greek organizations as well.

Torres has had many positive experiences being a member of the fraternity. One was participating in a mentor program for the Utica community to help young students strive for their best academically, personally, and in life overall. Torres also said the fraternity stresses that academics are extremely important and members help one another reach their goals.

“My confidence was never that high and I knew this would help me with the places I wanted to strengthen within my life,” Torres said. “However, the most significant reason I joined Phi Iota Alpha was because they were the first group of guys to show interest in me without me saying a word to the brothers on campus at the time. It made me, as a gay male, feel very special to have a group of guys who knew nothing about me seem interested in a guy like my myself who wasn’t like the average/typical guy. It filled the void I was always searching for as time went on and I began to feel more comfortable with the brothers on campus at the time.”

Jason Nova, a 2013 UC graduate was also a member of Phi Iota Alpha.

“The networking opportunities as well as the awareness of one’s culture that comes from going through the new member process are a big benefit of being a member,” Nova said.

He also said that members build long-term relationships that will stay with them throughout their entire collegiate careers.

“I never knew about fraternities as I was a first generation college student,” Nova said. “The collegiate experience for me was truly foreign, coming here with no guidance. When introduced to fraternities I saw an avenue of support and opportunity to leave my own legacy on this campus. The community was made up of driven people, but Phi Iota Alpha had uniqueness in it of itself.”

Nova said another benefit of being a member of Phi Iota Alpha is the community’s responses.

“I have been able to help my fraternity brothers more than ever as an alum, but I will always remember waking up on the weekends and working the stands and grill for a little league football league nearby,” Nova said. “Seeing those kids faces and getting awarded for the service at their annual banquet was incredible.”

Eugenio Alvarez, a spring 2011 Phi Iota Alpha pledge, encourages students to join the fraternity.

“It will allow them to learn more about themselves and take what they have learned to further themselves in school, at home, at work and as a human being overall,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez graduated with a bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation and a minor in gerontology and is currently a therapeutic recreational therapist at the House of Good Shepard.

“Having brothers invested in echoing their futures and dreams has made networking with other professionals much easier,” Alvarez said. “The positives are all the examples of the brotherhood and love for each other in good times as well as the bad.”


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