Student group working to bring new sorority to Sac State

Lambda Theta Alpha Latin sorority has 144 undergraduate chapters and 26 alumnae chapters


Photo courtesy of Andrea Leon

The ladies of Sac State’s Lambda Theta Alpha chapter gather to take a group photo for flyers and tabling purposes. LTA could potentially be coming to Sac State in fall 2019.

Imani Morton

Sacramento State students Cindy Garcia and Andrea Leon are working to bring nationally recognized Latin sorority Lambda Theta Alpha to campus.

Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority is a Latin-based sorority that was established in 1975 at Kean University in New Jersey. After a group of 17 women assembled to discuss the formation of a Latina sorority that would support women in higher education, Lambda Theta Alpha became the first Latina sorority in the United States, according to their website.

Lambda Theta Alpha has 144 collegiate chapters and 26 alumnae chapters across the United States.  

Garcia, a second-year sociology major, was introduced to Lambda Theta Alpha her freshman year when she said she was handed a flyer from the UC Davis chapter tabling on campus. She said she didn’t think much about it until she realized the flyer was advertising for the sorority that her biological sister was a part of at UC Davis.

“I contacted (Garcia’s sister) and she told me, ‘We’re trying to establish a chapter (at Sac State) if you want to join,’” Garcia said.

Garcia said she started attending meetings and eventually joined the chapter with a group of other Sac State students through the UC Davis chapter. The group turned in an application to allow Lambda Theta Alpha to operate at Sac State, but Garcia said the university denied their request because they were missing requirements.

“After we heard the news that we weren’t approved, most of the members went their separate ways and didn’t want to continue, but I was committed to it,” Garcia said.

She said she spoke to the program advisor and asked how she could be successful in bringing Lambda Theta Alpha to Sac State.

“She said, ‘You just need to get more girls and get the word out,’ Garcia said.

Garcia later received a text from someone who was interested in getting the chapter to Sac State.

Andrea Leon, a third-year child development major, said she heard about Lambda Theta Alpha from a friend at Chico State who was trying to found a chapter on her campus.

Leon said she asked her friend if she knew anyone in Sacramento who would be interested in starting a chapter at Sac State, and her friend connected her with Garcia.

Garcia and Leon attributed Lambda Theta Alpha’s principles and focus on education as the reason why the chapter should be active at Sac State.

“The three principles they go by are something that I don’t think our society sees anymore,” Leon said. “They go by unity, love and respect. And especially (with) how divided I feel like our world is, I just think having an organization that has those principles that are kind of different from other organizations is really good to bring in the inclusiveness of a community in school.”

Garcia said the chapter will provide an environment that will place emphasis on academics for members, and does not limit its membership to Latinas.

“Academics come first, I think people of color like us like to have support if you decide to go to grad school and get other degrees,” Garcia said. “It’s Latina by tradition, not definition, so it’s open to everybody.”

Lambda Theta Alpha has been approved by Sac State to be in the Latino Greek Council.

“You’re in a council, you’ve met the requirements to be in a council and did all of that stuff,” Leon said. “Now it’s just appealing to the chapter.”

In order to get the group recognized at Sac State, Garcia and Leon were required to recruit at least five women to prove their dedication to the board of directors of Lambda Theta Alpha.

“We started tabling at the dorms because we knew we needed more undergraduate students than graduate students, so we did get a lot of undergrads,” Garcia said. “Then, we moved to the quad, then tabled here (at the library), and we got other people to join.”

Their group is now comprised of 23 women that they have recruited through handing out flyers and tabling.

The two have already submitted an application to the board of directors of Lambda Theta Alpha in New Jersey and the group was accepted to become an official expansion sorority as of January. Expansion is the process by which a chapter is established or re-established on a college campus.

In addition, a minimum of 10 members with a GPA of 2.75 or higher was required for the chapter in order to be nationally recognized. They were able to meet this requirement.

“We had to throw events to meet the requirements that they were asking of us,” Garcia said. “We had to do community service and write a letter explaining why we wanted a chapter at Sac State and how it would be beneficial. We also had to get recommendation letters from our advisers.”

Just recently, the group found out they were accepted to have a webcam interview with the board of directors from Lambda Theta Alpha on May 6 to become an official chapter next fall.

“Right now, we are preparing for our interview, and trying to get everyone comfortable because it is a web-based interview,” Leon said. “Each girl has to talk in the interview, so we’re just trying to make everyone feel comfortable and confident whenever they’re speaking.”

Lambda Theta Alpha’s philanthropic cause is the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the organization’s website said they chose the hospital “to commit to the hospital’s efforts to bring awareness to childhood cancer, life-threatening diseases and St. Jude within the Latino community.” If they are established, they plan on participating in the St. Jude Walk/Run to end childhood cancer in San Francisco in the fall, Garcia said.

“Recently, we did a community service where we did cards for St. Judes,” Garcia said. “We did it in the quad and people came up to the table to write cards for the kids at St. Jude’s. We’re going to send those out.”

If and when Lambda Theta Alpha is established, Leon and Garcia said that they plan to lead the chapter toward interacting with other organizations.

“Right now we’re just focusing on us just because we’re trying to recruit our girls and get them all prepared,” Leon said. “There’s still a lot of steps within Lambda Theta Alpha that need to be met before branching out to other organizations doing socials or big events, participating in other philanthropies and other events from other organizations. So my hope is doing that in the near future, because then it just gets our word out and shows there is Greek unity.”

Lambda Theta Alpha is not an organization that recruits like a traditional Greek organization at specific times of the year; they have what the group calls an ‘open door policy.’

“Anyone is able to come at any point at any time,” Leon said. “We want to deep down understand these girls, see where they’re coming from and who they are. Lambda Theta Alpha doesn’t really think you can do that with rushing.”  

If you would like to join Lambda Theta Alpha or receive more information, contact Cindy Garcia at (510) 493-6851 or [email protected].