Walking up and down the UCLA campus, it is almost impossible not to point out students wearing their Greek letters. As the Latino population continues to grow at UCLA, more and more have looked to join these organizations.
Their presence on campus is being felt now that the Latino Greek Council has grown to include six organizations: Gamma Zeta Alpha, Lambda Theta Alpha, Lambda Theta Nu, Nu Alpha Kappa, Phi Lambda Rho, Sigma Lambda Gamma, and one colony (a probationary organization), Sigma Lambda Beta.
Each organization has made it known that they do not want to be seen as the stereotypical sorority and fraternity depicted in movies.
These young Latinos look to these organizations as a backbone to help them throughout their college and professional careers, and as a home away from home that can be used as a vehicle for change.
Many of the students have a wide array of issues that they want to address, and they look to their organizations to do that.
Edwin Orozco-Sanchez, a second-year sociology student and member of Nu Alpha Kappa, makes it clear that the stereotype of party animals is something that his fraternity fights on a regular basis. These stereotypes made him not want to join any fraternity.
“Before arriving to UCLA I told myself that I didn’t want to get caught up with the Greek life and that I had more important things to concern myself with,” said Orozco-Sanchez.
He later stated that what actually changed his mind was talking to a fraternity member. He could relate to the organization’s goals of academics, brotherhood, and culture.
His story is not very different from other Latinos on campus who want something other than the traditional activities of Greek life.
Samantha Castillo, a fourth-year psychology student and member of Sigma Lambda Gamma, preferred the Latino based sorority over others.
“It was more of a close-knit group of girls because of the smaller numbers in members,” said Castillo.
Ruby Arias, a fourth-year sociology student and member of Lambda Theta Nu, was excited to talk about her organization’s philanthropies.
“The girls work very hard to make sure that our conference happens. We bring girls from all over the city to show that they too can come to a four-year university and succeed. We try to plant the seed to help them mature into intelligent, beautiful young ladies,” said Arias.
Throughout the year, these organizations put together on-and-off-campus events.
“This year we have a lot of community service events we are trying to accomplish. A big and new one this year is a dodgeball tournament to raise money for a scholarship that will be awarded to an AB540 student, bringing awareness to that issue on campus,” said Henry Rivera, a fourth-year Chicana/o studies student and member of Gamma Zeta Alpha.
Latino greek organizations strive to promote a better way of life for themselves and for everyone who comes into contact with them.