Founded at Purdue, Latina sorority promotes service and culture to campus, community

Paulina Tangassi Lucio holds a book while posing for a photo.

Paulina Tangassi Lucio, a Purdue University Department of Psychological Sciences junior, has benefited from the service, mentorship and guidance from Delta Phi Mu, a Latina sorority founded at Purdue in 1991. Several chapters have since opened in other universities.Tim Brouk

Written by: Tim Brouk,

Paulina Tangassi Lucio found a “cheat code” to connections, community and potential lifelong friendships when she joined Delta Phi Mu, a Latina sorority founded by five Purdue University students in 1991. Other chapters of the sorority followed.

A junior in the Purdue College of Health and Human Sciences’ Department of Psychological Sciences, Tangassi Lucio lived most of her pre-Purdue life in Mexico, mainly in Aguascalientes. The large city is known for its historic Spanish colonial buildings, art and history.

Her family moved to Zionsville, Indiana, for her senior year of high school. She came to Purdue not knowing anyone, but during her sophomore year, she gained a dozen sisters in Delta Phi Mu. While it doesn’t have a traditional sorority house, the organization meets weekly in Beering Hall, Purdue’s Latino Cultural Center or a sister’s apartment.

“The main reason I joined was because I wanted a community. Most of my (sorority) sisters were born here in the U.S., but for me, coming into the United States as a first-generation student, being Hispanic and not really knowing what’s going on, I missed home and felt kind of isolated,” said Tangassi Lucio, one of 10 active members in the Purdue chapter. “My sorority was my first exposure to everything Purdue had to offer.”

This fall, Tangassi Lucio and her sisters helped with the Tippecanoe Latino Festival, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and Purdue’s Latin Heritage Festival, which was held Oct. 1 in Matthews Hall.

As a member of Purdue’s Multicultural Greek Council, Delta Phi Mu often collaborates with other such organizations. Tangassi Lucio said she has met students in fraternities and other sororities who have the same mindset of community service as well as promoting diversity and culture.

In the last year-plus as a member of Delta Phi Mu, Tangassi Lucio said her confidence has grown immensely. The chapter’s former president, 2021 alumna Tania Torres, was a fellow psychological sciences major. Torres gave her younger sister research and graduate school application guidance while assisting with her resume. This mentorship helped Tangassi Lucio find Assistant Professor Franki Kung’s Conflict and Mindset Collaboratory. There, she proctors surveys and encourages her peers to participate in studies. She also reads numerous journal articles on the psychology of conflict, especially in the workplace.

“We are doing literature reviews, looking through previous articles of research to see what we can add on to those studies,” Tangassi Lucio explained.

Tangassi Lucio knows students can feel isolated during their early years at Purdue, no matter where they come from. To help combat that problem, Tangassi Lucio joined the College of Health and Human Sciences’ Success Mentors Program, which pairs older students like her with first-year students. The newcomers are supported academically and emotionally while finding their Boilermaker fit.

As she is navigating her third year at Purdue, Tangassi Lucio credits Delta Phi Mu for enhancing her college experience so far while giving her sisters for life.

“They have made my experience at Purdue way better and easier as well,” Tangassi Lucio said. “You get to meet people on a deeper level when you spend a lot of time together. I’ve gotten to know a lot of them through the volunteering that we do. We focus on building each other up and providing resources.”