‘More than just a fit’ — D.R.I.P. celebrates its first year

A program on campus is looking to increase the diversity of Allegheny’s Greek Life organizations.

The President of the Diversity Representation & Inclusion Program, Abdikadir Lugundi ’20, described his grassroots inclusionary program to promote identity recognition and inclusion of all people.

“Drip doesn’t always apply to clothing… it could be how (you) talk… the way (you) move… the way (you) operate,” Lugundi said.

Lugundi expressed his concern with the normalization of joining Fraternity & Sorority  Life, a club, or more broadly becoming involved on campus — he found that taking such actions normalize or minimize one’s own identity to adhere to the normalities of the organization.

D.R.I.P originated as a study and inclusionary group in the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access and Social Justice Center until those in attendance began playing UNO after studying.

“To be honest, it happened by accident,” Lugundi said. “We would study then we began playing UNO … (I) had a zero dollar budget and UNO cards.”

Playing UNO after the D.R.I.P program became very popular and played an important role in garnering support and recognition for the program. After hosting several tournaments, D.R.I.P had evolved and wished to do something “unprecedented.”

A program titled “Being Black And…” was cooperatively hosted between Islamic Cultural Association and D.R.I.P and included several members of the community as well as Pastor Markus A. McDaniel from United Faith Fellowship, a local church in Meadville. The event was meant to showcase the different identities within the Black community, by bringing together various members to share their own identities and experiences. Each guest speaker gave their own testimony to their own identity and how they exist in a separate cultural environment. Pastor McDaniel holds services in Meadville,

“The Meadville community is our community as well,” Lugundi said. “After mentoring at the local elementary school, it was shocking how little the children knew about the college despite it being such a large part of their community.”

This was the first event hosted by the D.R.I.P program, but a racial profiling workshop is currently in the works for next semester — the event was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

D.R.I.P is a program structured to promote a relationship between the multicultural clubs and Greek Life, but also supports the diversity of the Allegheny Community by celebrating the individuality of students.  D.R.I.P is a vehicle to promote individuality and discussions about one’s own personal identity.

“It’s a two-way street,” Lugundi said. “(I) could learn something from (you) … and (I) could teach (you) something … Identity and diversity is limitless … there is no one trait to a human being … celebrating only one trait is a disservice to a person’s individuality.”

Celebrating individuality and coming together by fostering discussions about identity and individuality on campus is the expressed purpose of the D.R.I.P program, according to Lugundi.

“(I) didn’t know if I wanted it to be a club or a support system, but currently we are working on D.R.I.P mentoring and undergoing a revamping process,” Lugundi said.

Young Born Leaders is another one of Abdikadir’s programs aimed at mentoring at-risk youth in the Pittsburgh area. YBL is targeted for members of the community who are currently in high school — D.R.I.P is intended to support the transition from high school to college. This support is facilitated by the D.R.I.P mentoring program to encourage members of the Allegheny community to get involved in a club or Fraternity & Sorority Life.

“When (I) got to Allegheny, I knew almost nothing about Greek Life” Lugundi said. “I was able to join a historically white fraternity and expand its diversity during my time as a brother of Theta Chi … (I) wanted to show diverse students that they have a place in Greek Life and a place on campus … and their diversity should be celebrated and not minimized.”

Currently, a D.R.I.P council is being formed with the aid of the members of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.

“Hopefully we can foster communications between alumni and other Greek organizations for financial backing as well as connections … hopefully by the end of October,” Lungundi said.

Contact the President, Abdikadir Lugundi, directly at [email protected]