|Sigma Lambda Gamma|
|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|
Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc. () (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.
National programmings 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 and Voto Latino to encourage youth of color to vote. 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 headquarter was initially 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 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 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 later 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. An Emotional Intelligence education program was also started up. Scholarships were later 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:
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, animal shelters, and male sexual assault. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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."