Sigma Lambda Gamma
Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc. (ΣΛΓ) (also known as Gammas or SLG) is a multicultural sorority. It was founded on April 9, 1990, at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa by five collegiate women who wanted an organization to empower Latina women. The sorority focuses on five principles: academics, community service, cultural awareness, social interaction, and morals and ethics.
|Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc.|
|Founded||April 9, 1990|
University of Iowa
|Motto||Culture is Pride, Pride is Success |
|Colors|| Shocking Pink|
|Chapters||151 undergrad, 7 colonies, 32 alumnae associations|
|Nicknames||Gammas, SLG, Women of Distinction|
|Headquarters||1295 Jordan St., Suite 3
P.O. Box 395|
North Liberty, Iowa 52317
|Website||Sigma Lambda Gamma Website|
Since its beginnings, Sigma Lambda Gamma has implemented national programming, such as the Young Women's Leadership Program, Emotional Intelligence, and their philanthropic "Drive to 25." They have also partnered up with other organizations to raise awareness about different issues, such as the American Heart Association for heart disease and Voto Latino to encourage youth of color to vote. With over 10,000 members, the sorority has a diverse membership, representing over 110 nationalities.
Having expanded to more than 100 universities in less than 20 years, membership in the organization is open to any woman who meets the membership requirements, regardless of religion, race, or nationality. Women may join through undergraduate chapters at a college or university, or after acquiring a college degree through an alumnae association.
Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc. is apart of the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC).
Creation of Sigma Lambda Gamma and beginnings: 1989–2000Edit
In fall of 1989, a group of women met to form an organization that would provide empowerment to Latina women. With its beginnings at the University of Iowa, the vision was to create a network of academic and social support. Although the first meeting had 19 women, membership fluctuated during the planning process. Under the guidance of Esther Materon Arum and Mary Peterson, a retreat was held to establish the constitution and the purpose of the organization. They also participated in volunteer projects such as the National Association of Chicano Studies (NACS), as well as on-campus programs such as the Leadership Conference.
Eventually, only five women remained: Gloria Cuevas, Julieta Maria Miller, Maria Ester Pineda, Danell Marie Riojas, and Guadalupe Temiquel. On April 9, 1990, the University of Iowa Panhellenic Council officially recognized the organization as a sorority. Sigma Lambda Gamma celebrates this as their founding date. The five women became known as the Five Founding Mothers. The first inductees to the sorority in the spring 1991 term helped with the first wave of expansion to the University of Michigan, Iowa State University and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. They expanded outside of the Midwest with the chartering of chapters at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida; California State University-Dominguez Hills in Carson, California; and the University of Texas at Austin at Austin, Texas.
A national headquarter was established at 900 West Penn Street, North Liberty, Iowa. They later move to their current address at 1295 Jordan St., Suite 3, P.O. Box 395 North Liberty, IA 52317. Along with housing national records and staff, it is also home to the sorority's national biannual publication, La Mensajera. The Omega Chapter was later established to recognize and pay respect to deceased sisters.
Development of national programming and "Drive to 25": 2000–presentEdit
As the sorority grew, Sigma Lambda Gamma's membership became more multicultural. In acknowledging this, the organization, which was a part of the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations from January 2001 to May 2010, left due to a desire for autonomy and due to their increasing multicultural membership. The sorority celebrated their 100th and 101st chapter simultaneously with the addition of the Theta Delta chapter at Columbia University and the Iota Delta chapter at Millikin University in 2010, having expanding to more than 100 chapters in 20 years.
While chapters have always organized local programmings on their respective campuses, Sigma Lambda Gamma created the Education Foundation, where national programs were birthed. The Young Women’s Leadership program was designed to promote confidence and leadership skills for middle-school aged girls. In encouraging their members to grow and assess themselves, they started the Emotional Intelligence education program. Scholarships were also added to support members in higher education.
— Mission Statement
In 2012, the Panther Dash For Education was developed to generate funds that will support scholastic achievement and leadership training. A virtual race, sisters are encouraged to participate in any run/walk event of their choice and then later upload it to media sites. The sorority has been active in bringing about social changes in the community as well. In hopes of encouraging their members and youth of color to promote positive change in their community, they began a partnership with Voto Latino in 2012, a nonpartisan organization that empowers Latino Millennials to claim a better future for themselves and their community by voting and learning how to make a difference. In the 2014 Voto Latino's RepUrLetters Challenge, in which historically Latino Greek-lettered organizations competed to register voters on their campuses and in their communities, Sigma Lambda Gamma's voter registration efforts accounted for 36% of the total number of voters registered, with the highest number of voters registered.
For their 2013 National Sisterhood Retreat, Sigma Lambda Gamma was honored by the Diosa Nail & Polish company with their colors to commemorate the Educate. Engage. Empower. theme. Sisters suggested names and voted on it. The two colors are: “Women of Dis-PINK-tion” to reflect their color shocking pink and “On the Prowl” to reflect their color majestic purple as well as their stone, amethyst. It was made available exclusively to sisters only and has since been sold out. To commemorate their 25th anniversary, the sorority launched their philanthropic campaign, “Drive to 25,” focusing on empowering women and spreading cultural awareness. Sisters across the nation took part in hosting and participating in community-based events, whether it is coordinating a book drive or volunteering in local women's shelter.
The five Founding Mothers of Sigma Lambda Gamma are:
- Gloria Cuevas
- Julieta Maria Miller
- Maria Ester Pineda
- Danell Marie Riojas
- Guadalupe Temiquel
The sorority supports a variety of charitable organizations; their main philanthropies are breast cancer awareness and the Federal TRiO Programs. Sorority entities conduct and participate in programming events that are designed to raise awareness and educate the public on these topics. Additionally, chapters also organize local philanthropic projects, such as the raising funds for the 2013 Oklahoma tornado disaster, adopting a highway, and animal shelters. In 2014, they launched their "Gammas Go Red" campaign in partnership with the American Heart Association on social media in an effort to raise awareness about heart disease in women.
Breast Cancer AwarenessEdit
Sigma Lambda Gamma's support for breast cancer awareness comes in various avenues: fundraising campaigns; educational workshops to create awareness; active participation in run/walk events; volunteer participation with organizations; or a combination of these forms. Their main organization is Susan G. Komen for the Cure, though they have supported the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization in the past. One member shaved her head to raise money for cancer research, eventually topping $2650, while another chapter organized a fashion show. One chapter organized a ball with the men of Phi Beta Sigma to raise funds for breast cancer and the March of Dimes. In 2014, the sorority raised over $14,000 to donate to 20 different breast cancer research organizations.
They also support the TRiO Programs, which are programs in the United States designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Chapters have organized local fundraisers to donate to the programs, including hosting a bake sale.
These programs are under the Sigma Lambda Gamma Education Foundation, an umbrella philanthropic entity.
Young Women’s Leadership ProgramEdit
An eight-week program, the Young Women's Leadership Program introduces young girls to the principles embodied by Sigma Lambda Gamma. Through series of exercises and activities designed to help them learn about themselves and each other along the way, the program is facilitated by members of local Sigma Lambda Gamma Alumnae Associations who serve as mentors and role models for the participants throughout the program and beyond. The goal of the program is to get a head start with young girls to provide them the self-awareness and self-esteem to help them finish their high school education and consider pursuing a college degree upon graduation. As this program is a volunteer effort that takes place outside of the regular school day, the Sigma Lambda Gamma Education Foundation assist programs across the country to provide materials, transportation, food and other program costs for facilitators and participants.
Panther Dash for EducationEdit
To encourage sisters to mobilize their body as well as give back to the community, Sigma Lambda Gamma created the Panther Dash for Education in 2012. As with all Sigma Lambda Gamma initiatives, the Panther Dash for Education supports the empowerment of women by providing Gammas, friends, and family the opportunity to walk, jog, or run any 5k race of their choice while raising funds to support the SLGEF's Mission and Vision. Sisters are encouraged to upload pictures onto social media websites. To raise funds, sisters can buy packages for the race. Items can include a bib, T-shirt, or water bottle with the sorority's letters and logo.
The organization launched the educational program for their members based on emotional intelligence to enhance their members' personal and social competencies. The program encourages members to develop specific skills of emotional intelligence for personal and leadership development.
This program is focused on members addressing the needs of the sisterhood in the most timely and effective way. All members complete the EI Profile: An Emotional Intelligence Self-Assessment. Based on the results of this self-assessment, members will have the chance during the academic year to learn more about the nineteen different skills of emotional intelligence.
The organization supports their members in higher education by offering annual scholarships. It is only opened to members who have been initiated into the organization and are in good-standing, as defined by Sigma Lambda Gamma policy, who are enrolled as degree-seeking student during the academic year. Sisters who are studying abroad are not eligible. The two offered are the Mary L. Peterson Scholarship and the Esther Materon-Arum Scholarship, named after the two women who helped the Founding Mothers in creating the sorority.
Sigma Lambda Gamma has a few accounts of hazing.
In 2012, "University of Nebraska-Lincoln's chapter of Sigma Lambda Gamma, Nu Beta, was suspended this summer for hazing, according to the national organization of Sigma Lambda Gamma" According to the organization, the chapter violated the national chapter's "human dignity policy" and "national hazing policy." The national organization would no release details on the extent of the hazing. The chapter has suspended until June 2013 if the comply with the national office.
In 2018, Sigma Lambda Gamma at Central Michigan University was suspended for alleged hazing. The director of Student Activities and Involvement received the notice of suspension from the national chapter on February 7. Investigations are ongoing and do not have a clear end date. The chapter has been suspended indefinitely.
A criterion for membership into Sigma Lambda Gamma is that a woman must have exceptional morals and ethics with a demonstrated commitment to academic excellence, and is pursuing or has completed courses leading to a degree in an accredited college or university. Memberships are categorized as undergrad or alumnae. According to Sigma Lambda Gamma's national constitution, they believe that a multicultural experience during the college years enhances each member's ability to function in a pluralistic society. They do not discriminate on the basis of age, race, national origin, religious preference, sexual orientation or disability. They encourage their members to celebrate the diverse backgrounds of all the members of the sorority, and currently boasts over 110 nationalities.
Stance on hazingEdit
Sigma Lambda Gamma does not condone hazing, and defines it as “any act or tradition that endangers the physical, mental or emotional well-being of an associate and/or initiated member.” Believing that it is their “responsibility to treat all women with the respect and dignity they deserve,” the sorority strive to “maintain a healthy culture that uplifts and supports one another and our community.”
Despite this, several chapters have been shut down for breaching Sigma Lambda Gamma's anti-hazing policy. The University of Florida chapter, Rho Alpha, was suspended in 2009 after it was found out that they required their members to run and do push-ups, and they also had rules and restrictions regarding eating, make-up, and how to get to classes. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's chapter of Sigma Lambda Gamma, Nu Beta, was placed under one academic year suspension in 2012 for violating the national chapter's "human dignity policy" and "national hazing policy.”
- Tamika Henry, Alpha Gamma Chapter: Miss Guyana Universe 2010 
- Jilisa Milton, Tau Gamma Chapter: Miss Alabama U.S. International 2013 
- Crystal Torres, Central Iowa Alumnae Associate and current member of the SLG San Antonio Alumnae Association: Tejano musician 
- Vannessa Vasquez, Chi Alpha Chapter: Actress 
- Claudia Sandoval, Pi Chapter: Cockrell Hill City Councilwoman, Place 2 
- Monica Lira Bravo, Pi Chapter: Dallas County Community College District Trustee, District 4
- Cindy Polo, Florida State House Representative 
- Destiny Navaira, Xi Chapter: Tejano Singer, Vocalist for Grupo Remedio 
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