By: Tiffany Contreras, Member of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. – Zeta Gamma Chapter
This blog was originally posted by AFLV Connections
When I started as a freshman at Iowa State University, the thought of joining a sorority was intimidating. During my first year, the Multicultural Greek Council hosted an event called “Meet the Greeks,” and I decided to attend. At that time, I was navigating life at a predominantly white institution, which I had never experienced before. When I started looking at various chapters, one thing I considered was a Latin-based organization.
When I came across Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc., the motto stood out: “Latin by tradition, not by definition.” I love this motto. For me, it meant I could join an organization that would provide a community for me, a space where there are people who look like me, and an inclusive space for anyone who believes in the purpose and values of Lambda Theta Alpha! Although many of us share similar cultural identities and life experiences, we are also very different and constantly learning from one another.
I joined in 2017, and when I look back at some of my favorite memories, they’re the ones when we felt like family! We found comfort in each other in many ways. There’s a comfort in going to your sister’s hometown and her mom making carne asada, or meeting up with a sister from another town because you need a place to stay while traveling.
There’s something special in getting to know EVERYONE in your chapter because it is smaller than Panhellenic sororities. I know many people in culturally based organizations appreciate that dynamic. It’s great to be able to invite the whole chapter to an event because you know it will be 20 people or having everyone over at your apartment for a movie night. It may be a tight squeeze, but you can make it happen!
When I joined Lambda Theta Alpha, I knew it would be my home away from home and give me a sense of security. For many of us, our friends in college (and after) were the other members in our chapter. We spent almost all of our time outside of class with each other, whether that was planning an event, attending chapter, or just hanging out! We are there for each other in our greatest life milestones and some of our low points. Many of us joined culturally based organizations because we could not find the space we needed anywhere else.
When I reflect back on my undergraduate experience, I ask myself “Why do I value what I value? Why did I want to join a sorority? Why did I choose Lambda Theta Alpha?” I then think of family. Latin culture is family. Lambda Theta Alpha is family. Sorority and fraternity is family.