“We have formed out of necessity,” the women of TCU’s first Asian sorority state in their constitution.Kappa Lambda Delta was formed this semester to provide unity, participation, awareness and sisterhood to the Asian students on campus, said Cleda Wang, the sorority’s president.
But Wang said membership is open to any female regardless of race, creed, color, sexual orientation or physical ability.
“If you notice in the Greek community at TCU, we’re the only ethnicity left out – like we don’t exist,” said Wang, a sophomore biology major.
On Monday, Kappa Lambda Delta was recognized as an official organization by TCU.
It already has seven officers and about 15 members, said Ambika Sharma, the sorority’s vice president of external affairs.
After researching different Asian sororities in the United States, Wang said she felt none of them fit her expectations.
Wang said she and Sharma, a sophomore political science major, decided to start their own sorority, one that would be both social and service-oriented.
Most Greek organizations focus on only one philanthropy, but Kappa Lambda Delta plans a variety of efforts, said Nancy Stockton, administrative assistant of fraternity and sorority affairs.
The motto for the sorority’s philanthropy is “Empowerment Through Education.”
Sharma said the organization’s long-term plan is to raise money for different educational programs with an emphasis on developing countries. The members plan to help provide technology, school supplies and other necessities to less fortunate countries, she said.
Students’ reactions to the new organization range from excitement to concern about academics.
Thuy Tran, a sophomore biology major, said the sorority is a good opportunity for Asians to get involved.
“It gives Asians more options, and I like the idea of sisterhood,” Tran said.
Panhellenic President Whitney Merritt, a senior history and finance major, said she is excited the sorority will tailor to a different group of people.
“I’m loving the fact that the Greek community is becoming more diverse and not just a Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council,” Merritt said.
Panhellenic and IFC are the two councils that encompass predominantly Anglo fraternities and sororities.
Some students worry the new sorority will damage Asians’ academic image.
Thuc Uyen Nguyen, a freshman business major, said many international Asian students come from a cultural background that focuses more on academics than social activities.
“We are Asian – we are not accustomed to parties like the typical sororities,” Nguyen said.
Uyen Phan, a junior biochemistry major, said she fears the new sorority will associate Asians with a negative party image and questions whether many Asian women will join.
Wang said the organization is more focused on creating change through its philanthropies and said she has not received any comments from her members about the need to have parties.
Darron Turner, assistant vice chancellor for inclusiveness and intercultural services, said 129 female students identify themselves as Asian.
Cyndi Walsh, assistant dean of student development, said the department is excited about what the new sorority will offer to the campus.
“Any kind of cultural awareness we can bring into the fabric of TCU is a good thing,” Walsh said.
Wang said that in 15 years, she sees the sorority expanding to other Texas universities and she hopes the sorority will gain national status.
“We need all the support we can get; we are learning every step of the way,” Wang said.
Kappa Lambda Delta will have an Asian bazaar fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today in the Student Center Lounge.
For information, contact Wang at firstname.lastname@example.org.