Students Work Toward Missouri School’s First Latina Sorority

COLUMBIA, Mo. ― University of Missouri students are working to establish the school’s first Latina sorority.

Jessica Banuelos, who is studying psychology, has been working for the past two years to establish a chapter of the Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority at the school. The Columbia Missourian reports that it was started in 1975 at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, and is the oldest Latina sorority in the US.

Banuelos began researching Latina sororities after meeting the founding brothers of Lambsa Theta Phi, the first Latino fraternity on campus during her sophomore year.

She began the process of establishing the chapter in spring 2014.

Banuelos said she chose this particular sorority because “It encompasses the values of unity, love and respect, which I identify with strongly as a Latina woman.”

Banuelos’ group has grown to 14 women, and they are now waiting for approval from the national board of the sorority. The board can either decide to grant them official chapter status or keep them as an interest group, which means they could reapply next fall.

The national organization has conducted workshops to help teach the students management skills as they go through the necessary steps for chapter establishment.

“They’ve been walking us through the process and having classes on how to work on time management so we’re able to establish the sorority and keep it going, as well as doing our school work,” Banuelos said.

If the group becomes an official chapter, the women will be able to participate in formal Greek recruitment. The sorority only allows a maximum of 20 students per chapter.

Lambda Alpha Theta cannot establish a house on campus, Banuelos said, but meetings are held in the Multicultural Center on campus.