Gamma Phi Omega was inducted as the first Latina-based sorority in the state of Kansas 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25. The public ceremony was held in the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center.
The newly inducted members included Diana Calderon, Dina Razo-Bravo, Lesly Muñoz-Villalobos, Tanya Rodriquez-De La Torre, Yamilex Zemora, Victoria Smith, Abigail McBee, Jeanette Valencia, Melanie Hernandez and Jennifer Dark.
In 2017, five women got together with the intent to bring a Latina- based sorority to Washburn University. By 2018, they started recruiting women who wanted to be a part of something greater; they searched for service opportunities to try and get their ideas out to the public.
The spring of 2019 was the deadline that the women were given to find a national sorority. The window was starting to close until Christopher Miofsky, the assistant director of student involvement and development, suggested Gamma Phi Omega.
By the summer of 2019, Gamma Phi Omega officially decided to expand to Kansas.
“This ceremony is absolutely life changing,” said Gamma Phi Omega President Diana Calderon. “It means that we have brought something completely new; it means that a lot of women that are Latina have a new home here at Washburn University. A place to belong.”
Keynote speaker Mayor Michelle De La Isla reminded the women to recognize those who helped get the group where they are today.
“Remember you stand on the shoulders of your family,” said De La Isla. “These girls should feel a great sense of pride.”
Gamma Phi Omega Alumna Jackie Flores gave her testimony at the ceremony. Flores explained how important the four goals of the sorority are: academic excellence, community service, cultural awareness and sisterhood.
“Our sisterhood is incomparable,” said Flores.
The ceremony consisted of the pinning, the presentation of pledge mom and the presentation of the fire and ice rose.
“You know it’s only the beginning and we’re hoping for the future. I can’t wait to have 10 billion more public ceremonies,” said Gamma Phi Omega Vice President Yamilex Zamora.
The 10 members of Washburn’s Gamma Phi Omega chapter are grateful for their opportunity to make history. It was an emotional day for them and their families.
Vice President Zamora described the event as “pure bliss.”
Edited by Adam White, Jason Morrison, Wesley Tabor