The Sense of Family for Brotherhood Sac State Latino, Alpha Psi Lambda


Accounting student Raul Bárcenas’ freshman year in Sacramento State came to a screeching halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and he returned home to San Pablo des Residence Halls earlier than he did. had foreseen it.

Fortunately, he said he found Sac State very welcoming, which led him to join the Alpha Psi Lambda fraternity online.

Alpha Psi Lambda is Sac State‘s only mixed Latin American fraternity and currently has around 60 members according to Luis Sanchez, president of Alpha Psi Lambda. There are 40 alumni, 15 inactive members and five active members currently in the fraternity.

Inactive members are still members, except they choose not to be part of the planning with the board made up of the active members, according to Sanchez. Being inactive doesn’t mean students can’t attend events, it just means they wouldn’t actively create ideas for fellowship or be part of meetings.

“We have a lot of people of Hispanic and non-Hispanic backgrounds, but because we’re a Latino organization, one of the biggest cultural factors in the Latino or Hispanic tradition is family,” Sanchez said. “In the family, he should not be united by blood, but more united by relationships and united by bonds. It’s kind of something that we try to focus on with our organization, and that’s where we bring the Latino factor. “

Sanchez explained that brotherhood is more than what they consider friends. Each member’s background and culture all contribute to what they call their “familia”.

Alpha Psi Lambda secretary Raul Bárcenas attends the fraternity’s weekly board meeting on zoom. Raul joined the fraternity in his first year online during the Spring 2020 semester. (Erick Salgado)

Bárcenas said the Latino factor and focus on family would end up being a major aspect of his decision to join the fraternity.

“For us [family], it means the next level beyond just being a friend, ”Bárcenas said. “It’s being there for someone, even if they are active or inactive. It seemed like when I joined, it was like I had known these people for the longest time even though I had just met them. It was hard to describe.

Bárcenas added that he believes allowing the fellowship to be co-ed allows new members to view the chapter as more accessible and user-friendly for those interested in joining.

“Once you join, you kind of become part of a family that always communicates with each other,” he said. “They always check in, they always want to make sure you are doing your best and to hold you accountable.”

The fraternity’s family isn’t just about holding each member to account or registering, according to Bárcenas. In the case of Fellowship Treasurer and External Vice-President Julianna Murrieta, it also means becoming more educated about their own Latin culture.

“I’m Mexican, but I grew up with parents who spoke to me mainly English, so I don’t really know Spanish,” Murietta said. “A lot of my friends know Spanish very well, although they don’t make me uncomfortable, they make me feel included. Our members are trying to educate us, so I really feel more confident in some aspects of my culture. ”

Despite being labeled as a Latino fraternity, Murrieta stressed that the fraternity is not just for Latino or Hispanic students.

Everyone tries to learn and understand the traditions of others.

– Luis Sanchez, President of Alpha Psi Lambda

“Even though a huge connotation to our fraternity is that we are Latino based, we try not to overdo it because we want people to feel open and invited to join, no matter what. [their] background, ”Murrieta said.

Murrieta added that while someone doesn’t have to be Latino to join the fraternity, they should do well to learn more about Latino culture.

Sanchez added that the chapter’s next event is to celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

“We want to host an event that connects everyone to music, dance, culture, so everyone here on campus feels invited to join with any kind of background,” Sanchez said. “Everyone tries to learn and understand the traditions of others. “

Sanchez explained what Latino culture means to him, especially after growing up in a predominantly white environment.

“It’s hard to feel included or to feel motivated because all I saw were people who belonged to the white community,” Sanchez said. “When I saw this organization [with] people of my own race and people of my own background, it makes people feel more included or welcomed. ”

Despite being the only mixed Latin American fraternity on campus, Sanchez and Murrieta said they have luckily met with nothing but praise, help and respect from other Greek organizations.

“The other day I stopped and saw somebody from Kappa Delta Chi, and she asked us how we were doing with our recruiting, and she was just like ‘you guys keep going, you’re doing fine. “,” Murrieta mentioned. If anything, we kind of ask for tips.

Sanchez said he had also had positive interactions with other Greek organizations on campus.

Alpha Psi Lambda members (left to right) Luis Sanchez, David Ramirez, Martha Chavez and Julianna Murrieta show off their fellowship letters during the first week on campus. Photo provided by Luis Sanchez.

“I feel like Sac State in general provides a really good warm and welcoming atmosphere, especially with other organizations,” Sanchez said. “When I see someone else with different letters, or if they see me with my letters, it’s always like, ‘Oh, I love your letters,’ or vice versa. “I didn’t really see or feel any judgment or the feeling that I needed to be better. “

As Murrieta mentioned earlier, one of the greatest connotations of the brotherhood is the fact that it is labeled as a Latin American brotherhood. Sanchez said that, unfortunately, integrating the Latin aspect of the fellowship has proven difficult due to the fact that COVID-19 is sending the fellowship back in some of the goals it has set for itself.

One of the biggest challenges Alpha Psi Lambda has faced as a result of the pandemic is recruiting more members for the fellowship. Sanchez said the pandemic has affected the organization to the point that it hasn’t even been able to recruit new members this fall semester.

“We had a bit of a rough start because it’s been a tough transition for everyone, with the schedules and meeting times it’s a bit tough,” Sanchez said. “We have decided not to recruit this semester so that we can rebuild and restructure our board of directors and our chapter here on campus.”

The fraternity created a substitute for recruiting new members by posting a Linktree link on their Instagram page. Sanchez said those who wish to join the fraternity can complete the form provided to be contacted and invited to events this semester.

“We’re going to repeat it all the time, but familia, familia, familia: letting people know that we will be there for them, even if they are not members, letting them know that if they are new to campus, There’s always going to be a group they can always count on, ”said Bárcenas.

Sanchez said the Day of the Dead event will take place on November 2 and everyone is always welcome to ask him questions via Instagram or email because “they are there for you as students and as brothers and sisters of Alpha Psi Lambda. “

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