Sigma Lambda Gamma
|Sigma Lambda Gamma|
|Founded||April 9, 1990|
University of Iowa
|Motto||Culture is Pride, Pride is Success |
|Colors|| Shocking Pink|
|Chapters||151 undergraduate, 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|
Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Incorporated (ΣΛΓ) (also known as Gammas or SLG) is a multicultural sorority. It was founded on April 9, 1990, at the University of Iowa in 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.
National programming includes 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, Voto Latino to encourage youth of color to vote, and the American Red Cross for water safety. With over 10,000 members, the sorority has a diverse membership, claiming to represent 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.
In fall of 1989, a group of women met to form an organization that would provide empowerment to Latina women. By April 9, 1990, the University of Iowa Panhellenic Council officially recognized the organization as a sorority, which Sigma Lambda Gamma celebrates as their founding date. The five women who were instrumental in establishing the organization–Gloria Cuevas, Julieta Maria Miller, Maria Ester Pineda, Danell Marie Riojas, and Guadalupe Temiquel–are collectively referred to as the Five Founding Mothers.
A national headquarters was initially established at 900 West Penn Street, North Liberty, Iowa. They later moved 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 was once 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.
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 (NALFO) 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 chapters simultaneously with the addition of the Theta Delta chapter at Columbia University and the Iota Delta chapter at Millikin University in 2010, having expanded to more than 100 chapters in 20 years.
While chapters have always organized local programming on their respective campuses, Sigma Lambda Gamma later created the Education Foundation. The Young Women’s Leadership program was designed to promote confidence and leadership skills for middle-school aged girls. An Emotional Intelligence education program was also started up. Scholarships were later added to support members in higher education. 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.
— Mission Statement
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 a 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 Cruz Temiquel
Sigma Lambda Gamma's first philanthropy is to raise awareness about breast cancer. Although Sigma Lambda Gamma's website once stated support for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, they currently do not affiliate with either one. In 2013, one member shaved her head to raise money for cancer research, eventually topping $2650, while the Theta Gamma Chapter organized a fashion show and raised over $800 in 2014. The following year, the Xi Beta 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 collectively to donate to 20 different breast cancer research organizations.
The sorority also support the Federal TRiO Programs, which are programs in the United States designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Similar to breast cancer awareness, chapters have organized local fundraisers to donate to the programs: the Beta Epsilon Chapter hosted a bake sale in 2017 while the Tau Delta Chapter organized a volleyball tournament in 2018.
Social issues awareness
The sorority have also partnered with different organizations to raise awareness about different societal issues. 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. In 2014, the sorority 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. Additionally, they launched a partnership with the American Red Cross after attending the 2017 Diversity in Aquatics Symposium, focusing on educating about the importance of water safety. In 2020, they publicly voiced their support for the Black Lives Matter movement after Ahmaud Marquez Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old African-American man, was pursued and fatally shot while jogging near Brunswick in Glynn County, Georgia.
Additionally, chapters also organize local philanthropic projects and have hosted events about other social issues. The Chi Gamma Chapter raised funds for the 2013 Oklahoma tornado disaster the same year it occurred, the Beta Gamma Chapter adopted a highway in 2015, the Gamma Chapter held a fundraiser for animal shelters in 2015, the Kappa Gamma Chapter hosted a panel about LGBTQ identities in 2017, and the Epsilon Zeta Chapter raised awareness about male sexual assault with the men of Alpha Phi Alpha in 2019.
These programs are under the Sigma Lambda Gamma Education Foundation, an umbrella philanthropic entity.
Young Women’s Leadership Program
An eight-week program, the Young Women's Leadership Program is a series of exercises and activities for school-age girls. Members serve as facilitators of these activities, in addition to mentors. 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 Education
To encourage members to mobilize their body as well as give back to the community, Sigma Lambda Gamma created the Panther Dash for Education in 2012. Members can participate in any 5K race of their choice and purchase Sigma Lambda Gamma packages, such as bib, T-shirt, or water bottle with the sorority's letters and logo, to raise funds.
This Emotional Intelligence program focuses 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.
Annual scholarships are given 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.
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 claim to have over 110 nationalities.
Stance on hazing
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 
- Vannessa Vasquez, Chi Alpha Chapter: Actress 
- Claudia Sandoval, Pi Chapter, and SLG Education Foundation Trustee: Cockrell Hill City Councilwoman, Place 2 
- Monica Lira Bravo, Pi Chapter: Dallas County Community College District Trustee, District 4
- Cindy Polo, Iota Alpha Chapter: Florida State House Representative
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