Over twenty-five years ago I met a group of ladies. It was all by chance that we all met and our lives were changed and linked forever.
We were all attending the University of Iowa and either had a class together, lived on the same dorm floor or met through a mutual friend.
The campus had many Greek organizations but none for Hispanic women. We decided to pursue and investigate what it would take to change that on the campus of The University of Iowa.
In order to do this we found ourselves needing help and a lot of information and guidance. We met two wonderful women, Mary Peterson and Esther Materon-Arum. These two women were part of The University of Iowa and became a big part of our lives. When Mary walked in the room and sat down with us we realized the wealth of knowledge she had and assistance she was going to be for us. We would meet with Mary in one of the rooms located in the Union. She became someone to look up to and a friend. Mary was upfront with us that this was going to be a difficult road we were going to take but it could be done.
We were going to have to do a lot of work and be ready to explain why we wanted to start a new Sorority. She gave us our options and she guided us the whole way. What I remember most is the questions she brought to us, it made us think deeply about all the parts of the sorority that helped us along the entire process. I remember Esther being there for us academically and emotionally. She also let us know that we could accomplish our goal to have a sorority that celebrated everyone’s cultural differences.
Throughout the process we met many days and nights meeting to discuss how to word every part of all the documents. We would plan a time and day to meet at the Chicano House. Upstairs in the back room we met for hours writing and rewriting. The room had a large chalkboard where we did all our writing and rough drafts. When we thought we had it we took it to Mary Peterson to look over. While we were meeting, we also were attending our classes and staying on top of our grades and projects.
In between classes, work, and the sorority we were hanging out and building friendships. We spent time going to stores to look at colors, we thought about the Greek letters, and we bonded as friends.
By the time the sorority was founded and we were formally initiated into the Sorority, there were other young ladies we had met and would later become our first and second groups. The sorority was started!
I could have never imagined at the time the impact the sorority would have on so many young women across the nation. It is such a wonderful feeling to know that all the work and dreams that we had in 1990, came true and more.
Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority has been such a positive influence and been a big part of the lives of so many women on University campuses. I love listening to the women, hearing all the ways they have been involved with the sorority and the impact it has had on their lives.
Photo: four of five founders: Julieta Miller, Lupita Temiquel, Danell Riojas, Maria Pineda
Photo (below): SLG Sisterhood Retreat 2009 Group 10 Emotionally Intelligent Leadership at The University of Minnesota. Sisters are from all over the country including Massachusetts, New York, Iowa, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Wisconsin