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Celebrating the Señoritas Latinas en Acción: Two early members look back

TWU’s sorority scene is steeped in history with numerous organizations, but few have as many roots to the school as Sigma Lambda Alpha, which is celebrating 30 years this year. 

Established in 1992 at TWU, SLA is a service-oriented sorority that promotes education and excellence in Latino culture. Two of the very first members of the organization talked to the PAA about the creation of SLA and why TWU was the perfect birthplace for the group. 

Aliza Rivera

“We really didn’t know what we were doing,” says Founding Mother Aliza Rivera, ‘94, of the early days of establishing the group. The group originally had read about a Hispanic sorority at the University of Pennsylvania and tried to establish a chapter of that group at TWU, but those plans were abandoned because of the geographic distance. They’d have to start a group of their own. 

Aliza, who’d become Vice President, and her good friend, Angeles, who’d go on to become the first President of the group, decided they wanted to create the sorority based on Latino traditions and culture. “Our culture is one of helping each other, so we thought, what would that look like out in the world?” Thus the focus on service and volunteering, a core principle that remains today. 

Juanita Muniz Blanco

For Juanita Muniz Blanco, ‘95, SLA was an opportunity to find her people. “In high school I was the only Hispanic girl for years, we were the only Hispanic family for years. I heard about the sorority they were starting to get together and thought, ‘Oh, I want to be involved in that!’” Juanita would go on to serve as President of SLA and is still a proud alum. “I’m so proud of the sorority for what it was when I was there to what it is now,” she says. “I’m so proud to be a part of that because it is the true history of Texas Woman’s University.”

Today, SLA has expanded to include six other chapters at universities as far north as Oklahoma State University and down to UT San Antonio. “It’s nice to see the young members,” Aliza says. “They have the jackets and the letters and the line – we didn’t have that back then, but I always try to express to them, don’t forget the reason behind the sorority.”

“For me going to TWU made it feel like I could be myself,” Aliza says. “I saw TWU as a place where I could define my own self, get to know who you are, what you believe in.”

Photos courtesy of SLA