Lambda Theta Nu Sorority Inc.: The Sexy Silver Roses on campus

Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, Inc. Alpha Epsilon consists of 14 students and is one of nine multicultural sororities and fraternities on campus. 

Lesly Espinoza

Burgundy, silver and white are the representative colors of the designated “Sexy Silver Roses” of Iowa State University — better known as Lambda Theta Nu Sorority Inc.  

The sorority’s Alpha Epsilon chapter at Iowa State is ready start its biannual week of recruitment. The week, dubbed Silver Rose Week, will kick off Monday. Bethmari Marquez, freshman in animal ecology, said the week is also a chance for members of the greek and non-greek community to come together.

Marquez hails from Puerto Rico. She joined Lambda Theta Nu in fall 2016.  

“When I came to Iowa State University, I [was interested in joining] a traditional sorority,” Marquez said. “I was craving something more from sisterhood.”

After attending “Meet the Greeks,” an event hosted by Iowa State’s Multicultural Greek Council, Marquez realized she had found her place on campus through Lambda Theta Nu. She felt that members of the sorority bore the sisterhood that she sought.

The Alpha Epsilon chapter consists of 14 student members. It is part of the Multicultural Greek Council, which includes eight other multicultural sororities and fraternities.

Cynthia Banda, senior in family and consumer science education and studies and president of the Alpha Epsilon chapter, said Lambda Theta Nu is all about the quality, not quantity, of its members.

When Banda was in high school she found a role model in a student who was attending Iowa State. Banda said the student shared the same life experiences. The student was a member of Lambda Theta Nu.

“While I was in high school, I saw she was involved with an organization full of girls who held their fingers up,” Banda said. “I just wanted to know what it was.”

Once she arrived at the university, she wanted to know more information on how she could join the organization.

“I saw the woman [my role model] became after going through some struggles,” Banda said. “But whatever she was involved in empowered her and allowed her to be the woman she is now.”

Banda joined Lambda Theta Nu in spring 2014 during her freshmen year. She is a part of theta class. She is the designated “deuce,” or No. 2 in her recruited class.

Since joining Lambda Theta Nu, Banda has focused on her academics while staying true to her sorority, as she believes it is not about the number of members in the sorority but the hard work each sister puts in every day. Banda said she is proud of her chapter. The chapter has grown in numbers since she joined in 2014.

“To be a Lambda is special because you surround yourself with people you never imagined being friends with,” Banda said. “Once you are a Lambda, you share values [with others] that make you one — the values only a Lambda knows.”

Lambda Theta Nu was founded by 18 women on March 11, 1986 at California State University, Chico. The 18 founding women, or “founding mothers,” were dedicated to starting an organization that would meet the needs of Latinas in higher education, according to the organization’s website.

The sorority was founded on three pillars — academic excellence, community service and sisterhood. These pillars were established to allow the sorority to foster a legacy of prosperity for its members as they navigate higher education.

Community service is through the Tijeras National Philanthropy Program, Lambda Theta Nu’s philanthropy. Tijeras, which means scissors in Spanish, symbolizes academic excellence, community service and the bonding by one pin — the pin representing sisterhood.

Gabriella Ramos, faculty adviser and member of Lambda Theta Nu, is a founder of the organization’s Alpha Upsilon seeded at the University of Iowa.

“There [weren’t] many [greek organizations] to choose from at the University of Iowa at that time,” Ramos said. “I wanted something different.”

Ramos’ brother, and his close friend, are founders of the University of Iowa’s Sigma Lambda Beta chapter. They peaked her interest in bringing Lambda Theta Nu to the University of Iowa. After doing research, Ramos fell in love with what the sorority stood for and became sure that it was something she wanted to join.

“It took us forever [to establish the chapter],” Ramos said. “It took us almost three years, but after those three years, we were finally able to bring the Alpha Upsilon chapter to the University of Iowa.”

Ramos joined Lambda Theta Nu in fall 2014, making her the founder and “ace,” or No. 1, of her class. Ramos was appointed adviser for the Alpha Epsilon chapter of Lambda Theta Nu at the start of the spring 2017 semester.

“I love it because no matter what stage in your life you’re in, you can still give back to your organization,” Ramos said. “Now that I’m a professional, I can still use the skills I have learned before to be a successful full adviser.”

Every year, Lambda Theta Nu strives to raise money for resources that build Latina leadership skills and enhance Latinx literacy in an effort to increase accessibility to higher education for the Latinx community.

The organization’s representative colors, as well as machetes and roses, are symbols that represent Lambda Theta Nu. The silver rose symbolizes the femininity of every sister in Lambda Theta Nu. Members call themselves “Sexy Silver Roses.” Machetes represent the breaking down the barriers of machismo. Machetes are also used when Lambda Theta Nu does its traditional step routine, or stroll, to symbolize the culture and strength of women.

Silver Rose Week will kick off with “Reading for Literacy” on the first floor of the Memorial Union. “Reading for Literacy invites students and community members to donate a book to help stock up Little Free Libraries — free-standing child- height libraries in neighborhoods where children have few books at home and don’t often visit the public library — around the Ames community.

Tuesday will consist of a study table open to the public. The week’s events will conclude Wednesday and Thursday with informational sessions.