Gamma Rho Lambda officially becomes a chapter

BY EFE AYANRUOH | MAY 07, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Gamma Rho Lambda National Sorority is now a chapter at the University of Iowa.

Gamma Rho Lambda was created at the UI in order to provide an LGBT-friendly space for students, sorority president Crystal Terman said.

According to its website, the GRL national chapter was founded in the fall of 2003 by 12 original members at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.

The sorority was established as a social support system for lesbian, bisexual, ally, transgender, and alternative lifestyle-friendly female students.

At the University of Iowa, the sorority was first created as an interest group for three semesters, with a few people coming in here and there, Terman said.

At the time, the group was not affiliated to the national sorority.

Soon after, they became a colony in February 2014.

“We had to prove that we could create a sustainable and successful organization,” Terman said.

Before the group became colonized, they had fluctuation in members because people were skeptical about a chapter actually forming.

“There were huge shifts in people’s involvements but after the colonization, membership became stable,” Terman said.

Gamma Rho Lambda currently has 23 members across its three classes — Alpha, Beta and Gamma — with each determined by what year a sorority member joined.

Gamma Rho Lambda was expected to fulfill certain major requirements before it could be chartered.

“We had to show continued sustained interest in the group, community involvement and the ability to maintain structure,” Terman said.

Although the process might have seemed never-ending, the members still felt positive.

“Like with any process, we had to be patient and dedicated, but with the outcome in mind, it wasn't difficult,” said Taylor Claman, a Beta class member of the sorority.

Terman expressed her excitement in becoming the first chapter president of Gamma Rho Lambda at the University of Iowa.

“It’s crazy I’m the first chapter president,” she said. “ It’s exciting to see all the hard work pay off. It’s the most anchored part of my college career.”

Gamma Rho Lambda is very inclusive to all females on the gender spectrum, Terman said. It is open to all members in the LGBT, LGBTQ, and all allies.

“I like being a part of this sorority because it's a group on campus that welcomes individuals regardless of their identities,” Jamie Hicks, a member of the Beta class, said. “We're an inclusive and supportive group that has the potential to make a difference in a lot of people's lives while they're on campus by being a support system in their lives and giving them an opportunity to grow as individuals through leadership and service.”

Unlike other sororities, Gamma Rho Lambda members call each other a unique name.

“We refer to each other as siblings,” as way of accepting, supporting and respecting all identities, Terman said.

Through the entire process of chartering, bonds were built amongst the members.

“We have become a family, especially in the midst of all of the work that we've been doing this semester to found this group,” Hicks said. “Being in this group has taught me a lot about myself and about other people, and I'm proud to say that I've taken part in founding it on campus.”

For Claman, joining GRL was an opportunity for her to connect to her community.

“[One of the many things] that pushed me towards this particular sorority was the need for activism,” Claman said. “I grew up in a town of a thousand that managed to fit five churches and three bars within its one square mile area. I wanted to be a part of something bigger, and not only find myself, but while helping others, be involved in a community that I didn't have that much experience interacting with.”

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