Southeastern Regional Expansion Officer Armando Rijo is involved in expanding the fraternity. He began his career in Lambda as an undergraduate student at the University of Central Florida in the Alpha Alpha chapter.
“My Lambda involvement is my passion project,” Rijo said. “Our brothers are there for life, not just for four years, and you will see that with any multi-culturally based organization. When we do things, we do things with a purpose.”
Crystal Quesada serves as the Southeast recruitment and retention supervisor for LTA. She joined as an undergraduate student at Florida Atlantic University. She marked being an 11-year member this month, and she still keeps in touch with the sisters she pledged with years ago.
Interest in having a Lambda chapter at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga grew when Assistant Director of Students Affairs Christopher Stokes attended an LTA informational event at East Tennessee State University. He was accompanied by interested student members who saw the potential it could have at the UTC. ETSU and UTC are both in the recruitment stages.
Currently, informational meetings and events have been taking place at UTC for both organizations this semester and many are lined up for the fall. Several events allow interested members to engage with current members of Lambda across the region.
Although the fraternity and sorority were founded in 1975 and mainly serve the Latinx community, they are not constitutionally bound to each other.
There are requirements that need to be completed by every interested member, and the expansion officer’s job is to facilitate the process. For LTP, interested members cover one educational topic of their choosing, and it is up to the students to accomplish their requirements.
While they complete the requirements, LTP has a structured process of professional and personal development workshops as well as brotherhood workshops.
LTA follows a recruitment manual, which begins with an informational meeting and an overview of the organization to help recruit students. They later do various workshops as well ranging from political awareness to mental health.
Currently LTA has 16 interested members, and five of them are non-graduating seniors. They require 10 non-graduating seniors who uphold a minimum grade point average of 2.75.
Interested members go on to present a mini biography, but UTC needs five more members in order to present Oct. 30. Once they do that, they are passed to the LTA orientation team in Spring 2022, which fully establishes LTA on campus.
“The interested members have to do a lot of the leg work for us, because they’re the ones on campus,” Quesada said. “We’re just a mentor or a guide to help them host events and bring out whatever they want from the organization in the university.”
Junior Estefani Gorostieta, an interested member, said she is excited to be bringing LTA to UTC since it is a space for ladies to embrace and learn about each other’s culture.
Lamba’s recruitment begins when officers see an influx of Latinx students or students connecting with others who have the organization at their university. Rijo said he occasionally searches schools and their demographics that show a 3% of Latino enrollment and reaches out to greek life directors to see if there is room for expansion.
UTC has an undergraduate Hispanic student population of about 5%, according to the 2016-2020 racial demographic.
The sorority, however, does not only focus on Hispanic population but also the minority population as a whole.
“I know that our name is Latin in our title, that’s just tradition,” Quesada said. “Our motto is ‘Latin by tradition not by definition’; we have over 120 nationalities represented in our organization.”
Multiculturally-based organizations are much smaller in nature. For example, Lambda has 12 or fewer chapters as opposed to mainstream ones that have up to 30, according to Rijo. Their networking styles and the way they help individuals are also different from other Greek organizations because of their dedication to unity.
“We really value brotherhood,” he said. “For us it is not about the quantity of individuals and the money coming in, it’s really about the quality.”
Both recruiters suggested that students ask questions about Latin Greek life. All students are welcome to participate in informational meetings to get a better understanding of what Lambda is and how it is different.
“What you put into the organization is what you’ll get out of it, so if you go to the events and get to meet the sisters that come to events with me and bond with the girls, you’ll get more of an experience than if you just decided to sign up and not attend any of the events,” Quesada said. “It’s all about the sisterhood.”
“Keep your mind open,” Rijo said. “Expect to learn lots of things and be ready to be embraced, because we have a family across the nation that is rooting for your success that will be a resource for you for the rest of your life.”
To see updates on UTC’s Lambda follow @utclambdas or @lta_southeastregion