When Jose Umana joined ODU’s chapter of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc., he was the only member on campus.
“I was a fraternity of one,” he said with a laugh.
Still, the feeling of community he got from belonging to the wider organization made him feel at home.
“So, for the past few years I’ve been trying to grow our chapter,” he said. “My goal was to leave it in a position where it can flourish at ODU.”
By the time he graduates this spring with a degree in computer engineering, Umana will have accomplished that goal, with five members at ODU.
“Jose has provided a thread of consistency for his chapter and the community in the past few years,” said Jen Cohen, assistant director of student engagement and traditions at ODU. “As a student leader, he has used his connections and personality to help amplify the reach of both the organization and the Multicultural Greek Council community.”
It’s not the first time Umana has had to set out on his own. Originally from Manassas, he was the first in his family to leave home when he came to the University in 2019. His parents are from El Salvador and Honduras, and he said their work ethic pushed him to go to college and make a better life for himself.
“I would see my mom and dad wake up really early in the morning for work, even when they were sick,” Umana said. “They had to do it to put food on the table and to give us a chance at better opportunities. To this day, they continue to amaze me with the work ethic they display, and it has undoubtedly shaped me into the individual I am today.”