Kent State University’s First Latina Sorority Steps Out
Kent State University’s first Latina sorority, Lambda Theta Nu Sorority Inc., introduced themselves to the Kent State and Greek community in its step out show on Feb. 20 at the Kent Student Center Kiva. The sorority’s purpose is to give the population of identified Latina students on campus support and a sense of community.
At the show, the sorority announced its coming out to the community with stepping, strolling and bringing out traditional Latino machetes during their performance.
“It was a really fun event,” said Rachel Hook, the sorority’s president and a senior managerial marketing major. “For over a year, we worked hard. The event was the culmination of our efforts, and it shows that a Latina sorority is now here. We showed the Kent State community who we were, and we were so happy with the turnout because there were so many people there to see us and show support.”
Hook and the sorority’s secretary, Krystal Torres, a senior fashion design major, say that the organization will help Latinas focus on sisterhood, academics and community service.
“Our community service programs have us go into the community and talk to students in middle and high school and share our life stories,” Torres said. “We want Latinas and minorities in general to know that higher education is an option. Sometimes, it can seem unobtainable if you don’t see people that look like you attending college.”
THE SORORITY’S START
Torres says the organization was started because all of the women in this group, especially the Latinas, felt that something was missing from their college experience and they needed some support, especially since graduation rates among Latinas are low.
“When I first heard about the opportunity of starting the first Latina sorority, I didn’t know what we were getting into, but after the first meeting, I fell in love with the ladies there, and we started our journey there,” Hook said. “No lady should come to Kent State and have the same experience that we had because it was very heartbreaking not feeling that we had support or unity.”
SUPPORT THROUGH SISTERHOOD
Hook says that she wanted to give Latinas the support that she didn’t have when she first moved to Ohio from Mexico. Because both of her parents are white, she was expected to define herself as white based on her peers’ views but considers herself 100 percent Latina because she was raised in Mexico her whole life and only came to America when she was 18.
“When I came here, I definitely started to see that I didn’t know who I was because I was never exposed to a different environment,” Hook said. “During my freshman year, I wanted to transfer because although I looked like everyone else, I felt like I stood out more than ever, and I wanted to find people that I could relate to and who would understand my background. This is why I pushed for this organization.”
Torres is half Puerto Rican and half white, and was raised in Puerto Rico. Like Hook, she came to the United States for the first time when she was 18 and felt the void of Latina representation.
“We just really want Latinas to have a place to call home on campus,” Torres said. “We started this organization so they will never feel like we felt.”
THE DESIRE TO PROMOTE DIVERSITY, SERVICE AND LEADERSHIP
Although Lambda Theta Nu Sorority Inc. is Latina based, women of all ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to join.
“If anyone is interested in joining they definitely can,” Hook said. “In fact, one of our sisters is Filipina. We definitely want to promote that diversity.”
Hook and Torres say their advisor Yvette Mendoza, an administrative assistant at the Kent Student Center, is one of the people who helped them the most with starting the organization. Mendoza says Kent State members of Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity Inc., the first all-male Latino fraternity in the country, showed a lot of support and encouraged them to start the organization.
“As our organization progresses, I see the ladies of Lambda Theta Nu Sorority Inc. being very involved and leaders on campus,” Torres said. “In five years, I can see the ladies representing our growing population on campus very well.”
While the organization is still working out the details of its upcoming events, the ladies will be leading community service events and holding informational meetings throughout the semester for students who would like to join.