| Delta Lambda Phi |
|Founded|| October 15, 1986 |
|Founder|| Vernon L. Strickland, III |
|Colors||Green, Gold, and White|
|Chapters||26 Active Chapters, 6 Colonies|
|Headquarters|| 2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, No. 355 |
Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Delta Lambda Phi (ΔΛΦ) is a national social fraternity for gay, bisexual, and progressive men. It offers a social environment and structure similar to other Greek-model college fraternities. Delta Lambda Phi was founded on October 15, 1986 by Vernon L. Strickland, III, in Washington, D.C. and incorporated in the same city on September 10, 1987.
To enhance the quality of life among Gay, Bisexual and Progressive Men by providing dignified and purposeful social, service and recreational activities.
The three purposes of the fraternity are:
- To promote dignified and purposeful social, service, and recreational activities for progressive men, irrespective of sexual orientation
- To lead in determining the rights and privileges of individuals in society; and,
- To present a strong and positive image which respects the diversity of all individuals, irrespective of sexual orientation.
These broad purposes make Delta Lambda Phi unique among organizations geared toward gay men. Other social options within the gay community may be superficial or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, overtly political. Delta Lambda Phi, however, emphasizes the creation of strong, long-lasting friendships between its members, as well as between the fraternity and the community-at-large. It is the unique experiences of a Greek organization that often make such friendships possible.
Delta Lambda Phi's membership is open to all men whether they are gay, bisexual, or straight.
To be eligible to join Delta Lambda Phi, a candidate must live in close proximity to an active chapter and be a male at least 18 years of age (or 17 years of age) and a student at the college or university where the Chapter is recognized. Individual chapters may adopt additional membership requirements based on student status, as well as other policies set by their university or by their own membership.
Like most social fraternities, rushing and pledging (new member training) are integral parts of the DLP experience. Once Pledges complete their training, full brotherhood is conferred. Once a Brother, the DLP experience becomes centered on social, service, and recreational activities, as well as recruitment and training of new members. Delta Lambda Phi strictly prohibits hazing.
Symbols and Traditions Edit
The fraternity's mascot is the lambda centaur, which is modeled after Chiron, the son of Cronus and Philyra, and the only immortal centaur. Unlike other centaurs in Greek mythology, who were regarded as bestial and monstrous, Chiron was gentle and wise. He was famed as the tutor of Achilles, Asclepius, Heracles, Jason, Theseus, and others. After his death, Chiron became the constellation Sagittarius.
The heraldic crest of Delta Lambda Phi contains eleven symbolic elements, each of which carries a special meaning. For example, the burning lamp in the center of the crest represents "enlightenment and ancient justice." The very same lamp is also depicted on the fraternity's pledge pin, which is hexagonal in shape. The hexagon was selected because it is a tessellating geometric figure, and when closely grouped, hexagons form a honeycomb-like array. Like the ideal pledge class, hexagons grouped together are significantly stronger than when they stand alone.
The fraternity's colors are green, and gold, although white does appear in reference to the fraternity's alumni members. The fraternity flower is the yellow rose, long recognized for its connotations of friendship.
The fraternity's song is titled "Delta Phi" and is commonly known as "There Once Was a Mighty Lambda Man." There are two distinct melodies to which the song is traditionally sung. The first is a somber ceremonial version, reminiscent of "[When Johnny Comes Marching Home]." The second is a festive toast version loosely based on an Australian folk song. Both of these versions utilize the same set of lyrics. The official song has three verses, but every chapter is encouraged to write a "4th verse" to commemorate the founding of their individual chapter. At special events, a "long version" of the song is occasionally sung by including every "4th verse" of every chapter present.
A second fraternity song, called "The Delphi Hymn," applies a stirring, original set of lyrics to Beethoven's "Ode to Joy."
The formal motto of the fraternity is "Lambda Men are Making Their Presence Known." The informal mottos of the fraternity are "Party with a Lambda Man!" and "Delta Lambda Phi - Founded by gay men for all men."
National Structure and Policies Edit
Chapters and Colonies Edit
Delta Lambda Phi chapters are assigned a sequential Greek letter designation according to the order in which they were chartered. The oldest chapter is the Alpha Chapter, located in Washington, D.C. Subsequent chapters were assigned successive Greek letters of the Greek alphabet, from Beta, Gamma, Delta, etc., through to the last letter of the Greek alphabet, Omega. After all single-letter designations were used, chapters were assigned double-letter combinations in the fashion "Alpha Alpha," "Alpha Beta," "Alpha Gamma," etc., until "Alpha Psi" was reached. The designation "Alpha Omega" was reserved as a "Chapter Eternal" for Brothers who have passed. The binary lettering scheme continues with "Beta Alpha," "Beta Beta," "Beta Gamma," "Beta Delta," and so on.
Chapters of Delta Lambda Phi are issued a Charter to operate by the National Board of Directors. Unlike many other fraternities, Delta Lambda Phi allows for community-based chapters and multi-campus based chapters in addition to more traditional single-campus-based chapters. A community-based chapter draws its members from the community at large; thus, members of a community-based chapter are not necessarily students. A multi-campus-based chapter draws its membership from several colleges within a metropolitan area. Multi-campus based chapters are often formed when a single school cannot generate enough members to support a chapter of DLP, or when DLP cannot gain official recognition from their school. The Alpha Chapter is a community-based chapter, whereas the Delta Chapter is the oldest continuously operating campus-based chapter. Despite a high level of interest in forming new chapters, the organization has long struggled to keep its active chapters open, as evidenced by the scant number of early chapters still in existence.
In all chapters, each successive pledge class is also assigned a sequential letter designation. A chapter's founding pledge class is referred to as the Alpha Class, with successive pledge classes being assigned letters according to the same binary scheme used for chapter letter designations. The members of all pledge classes having completed their pledge education while the group was still a colony, and who became brothers when the chapter was chartered, are referred to as "Charter Members." Typically, these members include the first three classes of the chapter, but in some cases may include more than the first three.
The members of the Alpha Class of the Alpha Chapter were initiated as the first brothers of Delta Lambda Phi on April 10, 1987.
Below is a list of some of the fraternity's active chapters:
- Alpha Chapter - Washington, DC
- Delta Chapter - University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
- Mu Chapter - Las Vegas, NV
- Xi Chapter - University of California, Davis, Davis, CA
- Rho Chapter - California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
- Psi Chapter - University of Washington, Seattle, WA
- Omega Chapter - University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
- Alpha Beta Chapter - Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
- Alpha Delta Chapter - San Diego, CA
- Alpha Kappa Chapter - Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX
- Alpha Omicron Chapter - San Fernando Valley, CA
- Alpha Chi Chapter - Boston, MA
- Alpha Psi Chapter - Kent State University, Kent, OH
- Beta Alpha Chapter - North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
- Beta Delta Chapter - Florida International University, Miami, FL
- Beta Epsilon Chapter - Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
- Beta Zeta Chapter - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL
- Beta Eta Chapter - University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO
- Beta Theta Chapter - University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
- Beta Iota Chapter - Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
- Beta Kappa Chapter - University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
- Beta Lambda Chapter - Iowa State University, Ames, IA
- Beta Mu Chapter - Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
- Beta Nu Chapter - Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO
- Beta Xi Chapter - New York University, New York, NY
- Beta Omicron Chapter - Toledo, OH
Delta Lambda Phi also has several active colonies. A colony is considered a "chapter-in-training." Colonies are typically groups of men who have recruited and educated their first few pledge classes and who are still in the process of proving they are capable of sustaining an active chapter. Colonies do not have greek letter designations and are instead identified by their city or school. Colonies cannot perform their own ceremonies (Brothers from other chapters come to assist with this), and they cannot initiate their pledges as Brothers until the colony is officially chartered as a chapter. At that time, the new chapter is given its Greek letter designation, as well as all other rights of a chapter. Below are the fraternity's active colonies:
- Western Carolina University Colony, Cullowhee, North Carolina
- University of Missouri–Columbia Colony, Columbia, Missouri
- San José State University Colony, San Jose, California
- West Virginia University Colony, Morgantown, West Virginia
- University of California, Los Angeles Colony, Los Angeles, California
The National Convention Edit
Delta Lambda Phi is governed by its National Convention, which is officially the highest authority in the fraternity. The National Convention is held annually and, as a body, comprises two members from every active chapter, as well as alumni representatives and the fraternity's board of directors. The first National Convention was held in 1989 in San Francisco, California, and one has been held every year since.
The location of the National Convention changes from year to year and is selected by the preceding convention. Below is a list of every Annual National Convention and the city in which it was held:
- 1989: San Francisco, CA (First Convention)
- 1990: Las Vegas, NV
- 1991: Minneapolis, MN
- 1992: San Jose, CA
- 1993: Long Beach, CA
- 1994: Washington, D.C.
- 1995: San Jose, CA
- 1996: Las Vegas, NV
- 1997: Atlanta, GA
- 1998: Minneapolis, MN
- 1999: Denton, TX
- 2000: San Diego, CA
- 2001: Washington, D.C.
- 2002: Athens, OH
- 2003: Las Vegas, NV (DLPNAA Founded)
- 2004: Minneapolis, MN
- 2005: Denver, CO
- 2006: Seattle, WA
- 2007: Chicago, IL
- 2008: Miami, FL
National Board of Directors Edit
The fraternity's Board of Directors (BOD) governs the fraternity between conventions and consists of 9 elected members, 1 appointed member, and 3 ex officio members. It is chaired by the National Trustee, currently Ernie Hall (Mu Chapter) who was re-elected by the 2007 National Convention. Previous National Trustees, in order of service, are:
- Vernon L. Strickland III (Founder, Alpha Chapter)
- Will Collins (Mu Chapter)
- Kevin O'Keefe (Alpha Chapter)
- David L. West (Iota Chapter)
- Andrew M. Burnett (Alpha Pi Chapter)
Completing the Board of Directors are the elected offices of National Secretary, National Treasurer, Vice-President for Chapter Services (VP-CS), Vice-President for Outreach (VP-O), Vice-President for Alumni Relations (VP-AR), and three Regional Governors (Eastern, Central, and Western). A National Executive Director is also appointed by the National Trustee, subject to the confirmation of the board, whose primary duties include, among others, running the fraternity's day-to-day affairs. Delta Lambda Phi also recognizes those board members who have served the fraternity with distinction as a member of the board for ten or more years with the honor of being a "Life Member of the Board." Dave West, the Fourth National Trustee, is the only member who currently holds the honor.
The current Board of Directors are as follows:
- National Trustee: Br. Ernie Hall
- National Secretary: Br. Russell Martin
- National Treasurer: Br. Andy Tracy
- Vice-President - Chapter Services: vacant
- Vice-President - Outreach: Br. Rob Grau
- Vice-President - Alumni Relations: Br. Jeff Thompson, PhD
- Regional Governor - East: Br. Phil Hernandez
- Regional Governor - Central: Br. Eric Van Sant
- Regional Governor - West: Br. Robbie Thomas
- Immediate Past Trustee - Br. Andrew Burnett
- Life Member of the Board: Br. Dave West
- Life Member of the Board: Vernon L. Strickland III
- National Executive Director: Br. Will Coucheron-Aamot (appointed)
- General Counsel: Br. Joel Corcoran (appointed)
The Board of Directors also has an executive committee which is charged with governing the fraternity in between meetings of the Board of Directors. The Executive Committee consists of the National Trustee, National Secretary, National Treasurer, the most senior VP or Regional Governor, as determined by date of election (If two members were elected on the same date, the brother who was initiated first will serve). The National Executive Director attends these meetings at the pleasure of the National Trustee.
The highest honor bestowed by Delta Lambda Phi is the Vernon L. Strickland Founder's Award for extraordinary service to the fraternity's brotherhood. The award is not given every year but rather when a long-standing Brother is deemed worthy of receiving it.
The fraternity recognizes three broad geographic regions—Eastern, Central, and Western. The Eastern Region comprises most of the eastern seaboard states. The broad Central Region stretches from just west of the Appalachians to the states east of the Rocky Mountains. The Western Region begins in the Rockies and stretches to the Pacific Coast. Each region is overseen by a regional governor and vice-governor, each overseeing a regional steering committees. Each region typically hosts two regional conferences, one in the spring, and one in the fall. Like the location of the National Convention, regional conference locations are generally rotated.
National Alumni Association Edit
Delta Lambda Phi has a national alumni association  that is governed by its own elected board of directors. This board comprises a President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, and three Regional Alumni Representatives (Eastern, Central, and Western). The President of the DLPNAA also serves on the National Board of Directors of Delta Lambda Phi as the Vice-President for Alumni Relations (VPAR). The current NAA Board Officers are as follows:
- President/VPAR: Br. Jeffrey M. Thompson, Ph. D. (Delta Chapter)
- Vice-President: Br. Shawn J. Brown, Esq. (Alpha Psi Chapter)
- Treasurer: Br. John Frey (Beta Beta Chapter)
- Secretary: Br. Adam Moore (Alpha Beta Chapter)
- Eastern Region: Br. Troy Hoffman (Alpha Epsilon Chapter)
- Central Region: Br. Troy Ziesmer (Delta Chapter)
- Western Region:
The Delta Lamdda Phi National Alumni Association (DLPNAA) was founded on July 21, 2003, and lists 42 brothers as it's Founding Members. Since January 2004, the DLPNAA has sponsored an annual alumni retreat. This retreat provides alumni from around the country an opportunity to get acquainted or reacquainted. These alumni retreats have been hosted in the following cities:
- January 2004: Miami, FL
- January 2005: Santa Fe, NM
- January 2006: Tampa, FL
- January 2007: Lake Tahoe, NV
- February 2008: Las Vegas, NV
The DLPNAA also allows for the creation of local alumni associations. Two distinct types of local alumni associations are recognized; Chapter-based alumni associations and City-based alumni associations. Chapter-based alumni associations draw membership from Brothers who all come from the same chapter (regardless of where they reside today), and are formed primarily to support that active chapter. City-based alumni associations draw membership from a particular town or city, and are formed primarily for social purposes.
The Delphi Foundation Edit
Delta Lambda Phi also has a separately incorporated 501(c)3 educational foundation, The Delphi Foundation . The current president of The Delphi Foundation is Marshall Smith (Beta Alpha Chapter).
The Delphi Foundation was established shortly after Delta Lambda Phi by its founder, Vernon Lee Strickland, III, Esq. Other founding members of Delphi were: Lou Camera (Iota Chapter), Paul Dattillio (Alpha Chapter), Kevin O'Keefe (Alpha Chapter), Wade Price (Alpha Chapter), and David West (Iota Chapter). It was created as an autonomous and independent non-profit corporation to allow charitable, educational, and philanthropic efforts that were in support of Delta Lambda Phi and met the controls and oversight required by the IRS for 501(c)3 entities. In the past, Delphi has conducted several donation campaigns to members and alumni of the Fraternity that brought in a limited set of donations that funded a limited program for educational grants for cash-strapped Brothers to attend annual national conventions and sponsor leadership development programming.
Most Recently, Delphi has received their official 501(c)3 determination letter from the IRS and has kicked-off a bold initiative to establish academic scholarships for brothers of Delta Lambda Phi. The Foundation has already secured around $5,000 in initial capital from a small group of alumni to be used as a basis for soliciting additional matching funds and other contributions. The foundation may start offering the scholarships as early as the 08-09 school year.
The "Hands-Off" Policy Edit
Because of the unique nature of Delta Lambda Phi, the organization observes a strict Brother/Pledge relations policy. While the words 'gay fraternity' may tempt the imaginations of some, sexual relationships between Brothers and Pledges are forbidden. The policy governing these relationships is the National Brother-Pledge Relations Policy; known informally as the "Hands-Off Policy." The policy has existed in various forms since the early years of the fraternity, and it was codified and adopted by the DLP National Convention in 1998. Many chapters and colonies also adopt their own local hands-off policy consistent with the national policy, often intended expand or clarify it.
The National Brother-Pledge Relations Policy states that Brothers and Pledges may not engage in "extra-fraternal relations" during the course of the rush and pledge education periods. The policy ensures that bid distribution remains fair, that pledge education remains focused on platonic fraternal bonding, and that the risk of sexual harassment is virtually eliminated. The policy also bolsters chapter morale and enables the Fraternity to uphold high standards of fairness and dignity.
No national policy exists prohibiting two members from engaging in extra-fraternal relations after they have both become Brothers. Because the student-teacher relationship that existed during the pledge education process no longer exists, all Brothers are regarded as peers and are simply encouraged to exercise their best judgment.
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