On October 22, 1989, a group of women gathered at the Chicano Native American Cultural Center to form an organization of Latina/Hispanic women at the University of Iowa. Their goal was to form a group that would provide social and academic support to Latinas/Hispanics and women of all cultures. The organization began with a group of nineteen (19) women during the fall and spring semesters of the 1989-90 school year. These women met once a week with the help of their advisor, Esther Materón-Arum.
On April 9, 1990, The University of Iowa Panhellenic Council recognized these women as a sorority. This is the day Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority recognizes as their Founding date. Thanks to the contribution of the nineteen (19) women, Anna Arteaga, Vanessa Bonilla, Gloria Cuevas, Laura Flores, Pamela Little, Patricia Mares, Rosalee Mares, Patricia Marroquin, Patricia Marquez, Julieta Miller, Cintya Molina, Maria Pineda, Julieta Rapoza, Danell Riojas, Emma Rodriguez, Zerina Segoviano, Guadalupe Temiquel, Maria Temiquel, and Alejandra Torres as well as the assistance of Esther Materón-Arum and Mary Peterson this was accomplished.
On May 7, 1990, a retreat was held with Mary Peterson at the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU) to brainstorm ideas for the sorority, to write these ideas on paper, and to determine the next step. At this retreat, the founding principles were determined. In attendance were Julieta Miller, Zerina Segoviano, Guadalupe Temiquel and Esther Materón-Arum.
The first meeting for the fall semester of 1990 was held on August 23rd at the Chicano Native American Cultural Center. The number of women had decreased to six since the 1989-90 school year. They were Gloria Cuevas, Patricia Marquez, Julieta Miller, Maria Pineda, Danell Riojas and Guadalupe Temiquel.
Members of the sorority participated in volunteer projects such as the National Association of Chicano Studies (NACS) as well as some on-campus programs such as the Leadership Conference sponsored by the IFC/Panhellenic Council.
At the end of the fall 1990 semester, there were five women left. These women were Gloria Cuevas, Julieta Miller, Maria Pineda, Danell Riojas and Guadalupe Temiquel, which are recognized as the five founders. They spent countless hours together along with Esther Materón-Arum, the founding grandmother, working on the first manuals allowing the sorority to continue and to grow. The beginning manuals marked the sorority’s continued progression.
On February 15, 1991, the first ritual of Sigma Lambda Gamma took place and the first groups of associates were formed. They were inducted at the Chicano Native American Cultural Center at 7:30 p.m. This group consisted of five young women, which included Patricia Arroyo, Noemi Diaz, Angel Martinez, Seema Singh and Gabriela Villafuerte. The members that performed the ceremony were Gloria Cuevas, Julieta Miller, Danell Riojas and Guadalupe Temiquel.
On March 13, 1991, four of the five founders participated in an initiation ceremony that was performed by Esther Materón-Arum and Mary Peterson at the Danforth Chapel. These women were Gloria Cuevas, Julieta Miller, Danell Riojas, and Guadalupe Temiquel. Esther Materón-Arum and Mary Peterson, wrote the ceremony, and performed the initiation.
The first groups of associates inducted into the sorority on February 15, 1991 were initiated into Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority on April 9, 1991 at 9:05 p.m. at the Chicano Native America Cultural Center.