While the University of San Francisco publically prides itself on student diversity, the reality on campus–i.e. only 5.6% and 18.1% of students are African American and Hispanic/Latino, respectively–for many students of color stands in stark contrast to the promise made in pamphlets. Fortunately, a wide range of student organizations at USF are doing their part to buck the trend.
One such group bringing a bit of Latin flair to the equation is Lambda Theta Nu, Inc, a Latina-based sorority founded in 1986 at California State University, Chico and started at USF in June 2007. The sorority is centered around “three pillars of academic excellence, community service and sisterhood,” explained Chapter President Desiree Guanzon, who happens to be Pilipina.
Lambda Theta Nu, Inc. at present, only has two active student members, President Desiree Guanzon and Vice President Alissa Oropeza, and is heavily recruiting new members. Two recent USF alumni (and former sorority presidents), Rosie Ceja and Raven Sanchez, round out the group and are still both heavily involved in the organization today.
President Desiree Guanzon and Vice President Alissa Oropeza are looking to recruit women passionate about leadership and a strong desire to bring about positive social change.
In a cozy apartment on January 27th, as Lambda Theta Nu, Inc. crafted their display for the Student Involvement Fair the following day, Ms. Sanchez noted, “While we are a Latina-based sorority, we want women of all colors to join our sorority.” Emphasizing the all-inclusive nature of their organization, “If you’re looking for a close, tight-knit family at USF” look no further, continued Ms. Sanchez.
In order to maintain their status as a Greek organization at the university, Lambda Theta Nu, Inc. must have at least five members by the end of the school year. “We want to recruit eight to ten new members this semester, “ explained Ms. Sanchez, “otherwise we risk losing our status as a Greek organization on campus.”
While Lambda Theta Nu, Inc. is considerably smaller than other sororities and fraternities on campus, according to Ms. Oropeza, “It’s about quality, not quantity…We might be smaller than the other Greek organizations at USF, but what we lack in size we makeup for in spirit and friendship.”
“Everyone in this room is incredibly close to one another. All of our current and former members are lifelong friends,” she pointed out.
The women of Lambda Theta Nu, Inc. do just about everything together, ranging from simply hanging out on a Friday night to being there for each other in a rough patch. Unlike some sororities which simply preach the notion of ‘sisterhood’ as a vague belief, “we live it,” said Ms. Ceja.
They even dance together. “We step and stroll,” Ms. Ceja exclaimed proudly “meaning we choreograph dances and perform as a team.” She described step and stroll as a style of dance where each participant uses their entire body as an instrument to produce rhythms and sounds.
Beyond their tight-knit structure, being a part of Lambda Theta Nu, Inc. comes with plenty of other perks, according to Ms. Ceja. “Approximately 85% of our sisters go on to pursue some sort of graduate degree,” she said. The support structure provided by the sorority is academic, professional, and social in nature.
“I landed a job at one of the top four financial accounting firms now that I wouldn’t have gotten [without the help of Lambda Theta Nu, Inc.],” commented Ms. Oropeza. According to her, being a part of Lambda Theta Nu, Inc. has been critical to her professional success.
Because of its emphasis on community service and social outreach, the sorority dedicates a significant amount of time each semester to raise money for Latino literacy and other worthy communities throughout the Bay Area. Since the chapter’s initial establishment in 2007, they have raised thousands of dollars for the cause.
“Each year, we donate the funds we raise to a different organization to help foster literacy and education in underserved Latino communities,” stated Ms. Guanzon. “We believe it’s important to give back and support those who helped us get here in the first place.”
In doing so, their goal is to help foster and raise the next generation of Latino college students, in a self-sustaining social feedback loop. Their goal is to make the ladder to higher education as accessible as possible for Latinos and other underrepresented groups.
With its emphasis on social justice, inclusivity, and diversity, if you happen to be a woman on campus looking for your niche, perhaps Lambda Theta Nu, Inc. is the place for you.
Note: Anyone interested in joining Lambda Theta Nu, Inc. is encouraged to contact Desiree Guanzon by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (909) 660-0543.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lambda Theta Nu, Inc.