Brother Spotlight: Gino Faris, Western Michigan University
Gino Faris is about to start his last year at Western Michigan University. During his college years he has been no stranger to making change and achieving success.
Born and raised in Flint, Michigan, Faris became interested in Western Michigan. Once there, he decided he was going to rush Lambda Chi Alpha in an attempt to meet new people. He visited various houses on campus, but none of them made him feel as at home as the diverse Lambda Chi house.
Faris has a passion for people and began a work-study job at the University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
“The Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Western really just prepared me to socialize with the diversity of the US,” stated Faris. “There are so many things that people are saying or doing, that they don’t realize are offending or making people uncomfortable; that office really prepared me to properly outreach to a diverse crowd and that really helped me in starting the Middle Eastern Men’s Club.”
After attending a Middle Eastern Convention in Grand Rapids, Faris remembers how the strangers made him feel at home the same way the Lambda Chi house did back at Western. He decided he wanted to make others who may feel like outcasts feel the same inclusion, so he started the Middle Eastern Men’s Club.
“My mission is to unite the Middle Eastern community…at a collegiate level because it will get us in the habit of giving back to the community, doing charity work, and continuing to be united,” explained Faris. “The Middle Eastern community in the United States is kind of spreading thin now, and I’m really focused on keeping it a family.”
Faris is a third- generation American but holds his culture as one of the most important things to embrace. The club allows him to learn from people who are directly from other countries, as well as enabling him to learn more about himself.
“Some of the students I’m working with, I would say most of them, are from directly overseas, so trying to be on their level is a little difficult sometimes,” discussed Faris. “Some things I feel like I should know about my own culture, and they basically kind of educate me, and there is no shame in that. That’s the entire point of the club is for us to be able to share our culture.”
Faris explains that the many experiences he has had within his Lambda-Tau chapter have inspired and helped him to develop his own path and has taught him many useful communication skills.
“Being in Lambda Chi Alpha, I became familiar with socializing with other people, other fraternities and sororities, all these different things, but to these guys, the social culture in the Middle East is so different to the social culture in the U.S.,” said Faris. “So I’ve had to kind of guide them along the lines of how to confidently socialize in the U.S.”
In addition to his involvement with Lambda Chi and the Middle Eastern Men’s Club, Faris plays collegiate paintball for Western Michigan. The eight-man team plays against other schools around the Midwest.
Faris is also in the process of creating his own music website, something he hopes could lead to a future using his degree in sales business marketing.
As of now, Faris is unsure of a specific job he would like to pursue after college, but knows he wants to go into a business that places emphasis on the community.
“I really want to focus on community outreach and being involved with the community; I love business, but I hate how some businesses … act like they’re very high and mighty and the community is just the little guy,” said Faris. “I want to break that barrier.”
Change is something that does not come easy, but Faris’s achievements have proven he is making a difference, his goal from the beginning.
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