Multicultural sorority aims to educate, empower women of multicultural backgrounds

Delta Xi Nu will be hosting an event titled “Respect HER.” March 3.

MU’s newest sorority Delta Xi Nu, the first and only multicultural sorority on campus, celebrated its one year anniversary on Jan. 18. The sorority was founded to promote diversity and cultural awareness.

What is now DXN began three years ago as an interest group known as Ladies Empowering and Advocating Diversity, or LEAD, which aimed to start a Latina sorority as an outlet for those who felt they could not connect with pre-existing Greek Life on campus.

The group quickly realized that there was a need for an organization that stressed inclusivity.

One of DXN’s eight original MU chapter founders Tiffany Melecio said she was intrigued when she discovered a multicultural sorority might be an option for MU.

“I didn’t even know multicultural sororities existed until I did some research,” she said. “But after research, we found that multicultural sororities in fact do exist.”

Melecio, who now serves as DXN president, and the other founders contacted quite a few multicultural sororities, but the DXN’s values and mission resonated with them the most.

Melecio and DXN Vice President Jacqueline Thai said one of the best things about DXN, founded in 1997, is that it is relatively new nationally as well as being new to MU’s campus.

The two had the opportunity to meet their national founding mothers last year.

But Melecio also noted that it can be stressful to be in a leadership position where there is no precedent.

“When there’s a problem, we have to figure it out on our own and that’s how it is for our national founders as well,” she said. “But it’s also a great thing because we get to make our own traditions. We get to establish what DXN will ultimately become in the future and that is really awesome and really fun.”

Melecio said the MU chapter DXN founders wanted to make sure their sorority was different from other Greek chapters already established on campus.

“Greek life here is really expensive and personally I couldn’t afford to be in a sorority that is already on campus,” she said. “We wanted something that was very accessible financially for people.”

Additionally, DXN’s mission to celebrate the diversity and identities of all types of women sets them apart from other organizations.

“I didn’t just want to be in a sorority that was accepting but one that was willing to celebrate my identity,” Melecio said. “We don’t just sit around and talk about how great diversity is. We actually celebrate one another and our differences.”

For Melecio, she said it is crucial that DXN provides a different option for women who (want an alternative to) other Greek organizations.

“I wanted to bring a multicultural sorority to campus so that women who came to Mizzou had another option,” she said. “I wanted to provide another option for women. And that is what DXN is, another option.”

For women interested in joining the sisterhood of DXN, the chapter hosts an informal recruitment each semester known as “Honey Week.”

Thai explained that this week allows women to get to know the individuals currently involved in DXN.

“‘Honey Week’ is a way for us to get to know them but also for them to get to know us,” Thai said. “Because (women) aren’t just joining DXN the organization, they will be joining us, the people, the sisterhood.”

The eight founders of the sorority recently inducted the first round of women, known as the Alpha line, into DXN bringing their sisterhood to a total of 16 members.

“I was really pleasantly surprised by the amount of interest we got,” Melecio said. “We had a lot of women interested in joining and we picked eight new members that are really great.”

As graduating seniors, Melecio and Thai said they are sad to be leaving their leadership positions in DXN, but they are positive their sisterhood will continue to grow and impact MU by benefitting underrepresented women.

“Something I always want to see in DXN is the empowerment of women,” Melecio said. “I always want our sorority to empower each other to become better women leaders.”

To advocate for women in leadership, DXN is hosting “Respect HER.” in collaboration with other campus and community organizations.

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday in Stotler Lounge. It aims to educate participants about the patriarchal structures that uphold sexism and challenges them to make a vow to respect women.

“Our goal for this event is that we get more collaboration with other Greek organizations,” Melecio said. “We really are striving to connect all types of Greek Life on campus to female leadership with ‘Respect HER.’”

Both Melecio and Thai said they were very encouraged by the support they have received from Mizzou Greek Life.

“We’ve had a lot of positive interactions with existing Greek Life. We’ve collaborated with other Greek organizations,” Thai said. “That was really great because it’s nerve wracking when you’re starting an organization that has never been here before.”

Though paving the way for a new Greek organization has represented challenges, Melecio is quick to note how rewarding the process has been.

“I remember that there will be women after me, women that will appreciate having this option,” she said. “I get validation every time a woman tells me, ‘Thank you for providing DXN because I can actually afford to be a part of this’ or ‘I love multiculturalism and I love to educate others on it’ or ‘I identify as ‘whatever’ and I am super stoked to have it celebrated.’ That’s the best validation I get as a founder.”

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