Sigma Lambda Beta
A New Idea from Iowa
Baltazar Mendoza Madrigal
During the fall of 1985, Baltazar Mendoza-Madrigal began to explore the idea of establishing a Latino-based Fraternity at University of Iowa. After months of intensive research, Baltazar called a special meeting on Monday, March 7, 1986 with some of the Latino students at the Chicano Indian American Cultural Center (presently known as the Latino Native American Cultural Center) at the University of Iowa. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the need and feasibility of creating a new social Fraternity with an emphasis on the Latino culture.
At that point in time, the student body at the University of Iowa was predominantly Caucasian, and the Latino community was divided into different social groups. As a result, the students who attended the meeting wanted to solidify and unify the Latino community while promoting a positive image for Latinos at University of Iowa.
The enthusiasm in favor of establishing a Fraternity was so great that word spread throughout the University of Iowa. Everyone knew that something special was about to take place. After much planning and many meetings, the students finalized the philosophy and ideology of the organization to be on April 4th, 1986. Hence, this date became the official founding date of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity.
Founded on the principles of Brotherhood, Scholarship, Community Service, and Cultural Awareness, the 18 Founding Fathers envisioned the creation of a diverse organization that would promote a positive image of the Latino community at the University of Iowa and other campuses through scholastic achievement, eternal Brotherhood, dissemination of our rich cultures, and service to our communities.
Over thirty years later, our Fraternity has grown to over 120 collegiate entities and 30 alumni associations that span across 30 states from Coast to Coast. Moreover, our membership has expanded beyond the Hispanic-Latino cultures to encompass a vast, diverse and multicultural membership.
Upon the return to the fall semester of 1997, Brother Jose "Sabio" Phillips and Brother Juan "Pachuco" Izaguirre met to discuss the possibility of establishing a new Fraternity on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus that would focus on the needs of Latino students. The idea was carried forth and it was decided that upon their trip to the United States Hispanic Leadership Conference, the two would gather information about a Latino-based Fraternity.
After the Conference, the Brothers held an interest meeting on November 12, 1997 at the UNL Student Culture Center. At this meeting, they were joined by Brother Stephan "Ojos" Reyes, Brother Louis "Travieso" Damian, Jr., Brother Alejandro "Malo" Torres, Brother Patrick "Futuro" Foster, and their on-campus advisor, Timothy Alvarez (an academic advisor in the UNL Teachers College). During the meeting, information concerning the expansion of a Latino-based Fraternity was distributed and discussed. At the next meeting, held on November 19, 1997, Brother Armando "Maestro" Bustamante joined the aforementioned Brothers in their quest to bring a Latino-based fraternity to the UNL campus.
In the month of December, several more meetings were held along with presentations by the Brothers of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Inc,. and another prospective Fraternity. After the presentations, the Brothers met and under secret ballot, voted unanimously to expand Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity, Inc. onto the UNL campus. The Brothers agreed that upon their return from winter break, they would begin the work necessary to accomplish the task at hand.
With the beginning of the New Year of 1998, the Brothers were joined by Jose "Comprometido" Bustamante and Brother Rene "Chino" Santiago as they worked diligently to gain Colony status at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The response on campus was very positive as numerous other Fraternities and Sororities hung banners and placed announcements in the Daily Nebraskan (campus newspaper) wishing them good luck, for it had been over 25 years since a new Fraternity had been established on the UNL campus.
In March 3, 1998, the organization was officially recognized as a Colony of Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity, Inc. Later that year on April 4, 1998 at 18:30:00pm, the Brothers were inducted into the Fraternity as Associate Members by their Dean of Pledges (D.O.P.), Brother Ian "Jefe" Bautista of the Phunky Phi Chapter in Manhattan, Kansas. Soon after the induction, the Brothers would take several road trips to Kansas State University to meet other Brothers including their Assistant Dean of Pledge's (A.D.O.P.), Brother Santos "Gordo" Ramirez, also of the Phunky Phi Chapter, and Brother Tim "Sombra" Prott of the X-rated Xi-Alpha Chapter in Kirksville, MO. As the spring semester came to an end, the Brothers were already preparing themselves not only for the fall semester, but the education process also.
As the 1998 Fall Semester began, the Brothers began the work needed to accomplish the goal they started earlier that year. In the month of October, the brothers once again attended the United States Hispanic Leadership Conference in Chicago, IL where they were fortunate enough to meet Brothers from all over the purple and white nation. They also had the honor of meeting Founder and Almighty Brother Juan Valdez. Upon their return from the Conference, the Brothers used the words of encouragement given to them as a source of inspiration as they continued their education process.
The hard work all paid off as it shall forever be known that the Brothers of Los Soldados (L.S.D.S.L.B.), in all of its glory, on November 14, 1998 at 22:55:55pm at the Phunky Phi Chapter joined the eternal Brotherhood and became a part of the most honorable Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Incorporated.
With one goal accomplished, the Brothers of the Colony knew that the journey was not over. They began the necessary work towards expanding the Colony of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Inc. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Upon the start of the Spring Semester of 1999, the Brothers met and agreed to have an informational meeting for prospective new members. On February 16, 1999, the Brothers held their first informational meeting in the Nebraska Student Union.
On February 25, 1999 at 9:30pm, the first class of Associate Members was inducted into the Colony. Throughout the semester, the Colony got involved in many different activities on the University campus, never losing sight of their long-term goal of gaining Chapter status.
On May 2, 1999 at 1:10:15am the Alpha Line, Los Caballeros (L.C.D.S.L.B.), was introduced into the most honorable Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity, Inc. Brothers from the Phi and Xi Alpha Chapters joined the Colony in this occasion.
On Friday, June 25, 1999, during the National Leadership Retreat held in Sante Fe, New Mexico, after months of work and sacrifice, the Colony was bestowed the honor and privilege of becoming the Phi Alpha Chapter of the most honorable Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Inc.
It all began in 1998, and not once has the Phi Alpha Chapter died. In a predominantly Caucasian campus, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has been increasingly exposed to diverse cultures, thanks in part to our eternal brotherhood.
Written by Brother Juan “Pachuco” Izaguirre and Brother Jose “Sabio” Phillips
Revised By: Brother Louis “Travieso” Damian, Jr. and Brother Romulo “Combatiente” Vega, Jr.