Going Greek: Delta Tau Lambda

Audra Gamble

When the average person thinks of a typical sorority girl, they generally draw upon the images of sororities they see in movies and pop culture. That image usually is of a young, blond, Caucasian girl.

However, the women of Delta Tau Lambda are trying to change that image at Grand Valley State University.

Delta Tau Lambda is a new sorority on campus, though it has been a few years in the making. The sorority is a multicultural organization, geared toward Latina women.

There are two other Latina sororities on campus, but the founding members of the GVSU chapter of Delta Tau Lambda felt that there were not enough options for Latina women interested in being involved in Greek life.

“There were only two Latina multicultural sororities, so it kind of limits the Hispanic population if you’re interested in Greek life with your culture,” Brenda Garcia, a founding member, said. “You only have two options, and the philanthropies are completely different. So if it’s something that you’re not passionate for, you wouldn’t be able to fit in with them.”

Delta Tau Lambda has multiple charities that it is devoted to, including breast cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and mental health.”

“It’s not just one charitable cause, it’s kind of a variety,” Garcia said. “Each one of us related to a different charitable cause.”

The organization also values reaching out to the community and appealing to potential college students.

“Another thing that we really saw that was different was this sorority raises money for a high school senior or university freshman woman,” Garcia said. “Little things like this that we didn’t see in the other two (Latina sororities) is what really motivated us to do this. (We) want to bring more diversity to Grand Valley.”

For Garcia, coming to Grand Valley was a bit daunting due to the lack of diversity she saw on campus.

“From my personal experience, when I came to Grand Valley I was kind of culture shocked,” she said.
“I grew up in the Grand Rapids area, I went to an inner city school where it was predominantly
Hispanic and African American. When I enrolled in Grand Valley, I was the only minority in my classes.
I wanted to make more connections with other people who have a similar background to myself. I feel
like with organizations like this one, you’re able to meet those people. It’s a bond you create.”

Though the sorority is Latina-based, it is open to all women of GVSU.

“We are a Latina based sorority but not Latina exclusive,” Kayla Mayhue said. “I personally am not a
Latina but I admire the culture and the sorority. Other women who admire multiculturalism should join
Delta Tau Lambda because we celebrate all women of color. Many of our goals, mission and principles
revolve around building relationships with other communities of color. I believe it is important to unite
with others who want to make a difference.”

Founding member and treasurer Emny De Leon agrees.

“The different qualities and life lessons that you learn while being in a sorority exceeds those race
boundaries,” De Leon said. “I believe other women should join Delta Tau Lambda Sorority because it
seeks to help women become the best that they can be.

“Our sisters set a path for other women to develop professionalism, build a sisterhood and always
remember to give back to the community that helped them grow. During this time, we remember to
stay humble and use our stories and experiences to provide guidance, comfort and support for those
women that are going through hardships.”

For those interested in joining the five founding members next year, they may join informational
sessions in the fall, where De Leon, Mayhue, Garcia, and the other members will assist new members
through the application process.

“We’re taking small steps,” Garcia said. “Doing things like this is very good for Grand Valley and
hopefully in the next couple years, we can see the population expand and have more diversity.”