Gaby Montes, ’20, is a member of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc. There are five Cultural Greek Council organizations on Lehigh's campus. (Courtesy of Gaby Montes)

Cultural Greek Council members find family in nontraditional sororities

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For some Lehigh women, sorority recruitment takes place during the week before the spring semester. For others, recruitment is a month-long process and is as demanding as taking another class.

Gaby Montes, ’20, is a member of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc., and just went through the Cultural Greek Council recruitment process. She compared it to taking a four-credit class for a month, on top of her regular academic schedule.

“I decided to join because I loved all the sisters and they made me feel like I was already like family,” Montes said. “When I looked at the sisters, I saw strong and empowered women who are very successful and I thought to myself, that’s what I want to be.”

Alejandra Silguero, ’17, is also a member of LTA. She said CGC recruitment is an agreement between the potential candidate and the organization.

There is no formal recruitment process, instead, interested students come to information sessions also known as “informationals,” to learn more about the different organizations and their members. Silguero said the organizations look to create a bond with potential new members and genuinely try to get to know them.

Montes said new member education puts a huge emphasis on teaching new members about the organization but is also designed for new members to learn more about themselves. There is also a focus on how to manage conflict, deal with emotions, be a leader and be more confident.

She said professional development is involved in the process, too.

At the end of the new member process, cultural Greek sororities host an event called a probate. A probate is a public show in which new members demonstrate what they’ve learned to the rest of the community.

During a probate, the new line, or new member class, salutes its sisters. Members of the new line introduce themselves as a unified group by doing things in a synchronized manner, such as reciting the names of their founding members and principles.

Cultural Greek sororities are small organizations compared to Panhellenic sororities. Montes said her sorority only has eight members, but she sees the small size as an asset.

“It’s definitely easier to get to know each other on a much closer level,” Montes said.

Elizabeth Dent, ’19, is a sister of Mu Sigma Epsilon Sorority Inc. She said CGC sororities have less of a social aspect compared to Panhellenic chapters and are value-oriented.

“We hold our foundations and our values very close to us,” Dent said. “CGC does a lot of independent events that are self run, and we always stress our values in everything we do.”

Dent said there is a big divide between Panhellenic organizations and cultural Greek organizations, but she wants to bridge this gap. She thinks it’s important to do more together, because at the end of the day, all the organizations are built on similar values.

After joining their respective sororities Silguero, Montes and Dent all said they are always looking forward to giving back to the Greek community, the Lehigh community, the Bethlehem community and to their specific chapters and national philanthropies.

“I chose to join my sorority because I felt that a lot of the women in the sorority were people that I aspired to be,” Silguero said.

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