Latina Sorority Fosters New Relationships
Lead with Integrity, United through Service.
Kristi Lenderman, president of Southwestern University’s Kappa Delta Chi sorority, has taken the group’s official motto to heart. Since joining the Latina-based sorority, also known as KDChi, Lenderman has not only assumed a leadership role among her sisters, but has also worked hard to extend the sorority’s reach to the wider community.
KDChi was founded in 1987 by four women attending Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas. Each of the founding sisters shared a driving desire to foster relationships between the Latina population at their university and to serve their community. They valued qualities such as unity, honesty, integrity and leadership, and used them to develop a rich service-based sisterhood that supports the American Cancer Society as its official philanthropy.
Since becoming a nationally recognized organization in 1991, KDChi has grown to include about 3,000 sisters in more than 40 chapters across the United States. It will soon expand further to include Southwestern.
Lenderman, who would like to work for a Latin American nonprofit group and become an immigration lawyer, said she wanted to join KDChi before it was even present on campus.
“I knew the women involved have the same goals of serving the Latin American community as I do,” she said. “I also appreciated the benefits of sisterhood; that you have women who are your family for life and you can have access to even after graduating.”
Lenderman was one of 16 Southwestern students who approached Mary Gonzalez, assistant dean of students for multicultural affairs, about the possibility of starting a KDChi chapter at Southwestern. Gonzalez has extensive ties to KDChi herself, including serving as the organization’s vice president of collegiate affairs and overseeing its 40 chapters around the country.
The group has 11 charter members who will be initiated April 17. After securing their first pledge class in the fall, the group will qualify for official chapter status.
Until then, the members are keeping busy. Community service remains important, and the sisters have had opportunities to take part in several different local philanthropies. Lenderman’s favorite was a leadership workshop aimed at working with young women in local high schools.
“We were able to come together as a whole to teach the girls how important college is and build their confidence,” Lenderman said. In addition to their work encouraging young ladies, the sisters have been involved in reaching out to other groups of high school students, running test prep classes and assisting them with the college application process.
The women have also been involved in preparing for the rush process. As they anticipate welcoming new pledges, Lenderman stresses that while the sorority is focused on the Latina community, it is open to women of all ethnicities.
“We have a multicultural membership. We welcome everyone and work hard to create women who are brilliant and able to do awesome things,” she said.