R.O.S.A.S. in Bloom
Planting the seeds of a new multicultural organization
April 21, 2017
Filed under Features
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The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life at Texas A&M University – Commerce has around 20 chapters spanning four councils and the Rising Organization of Señoritas Aspiring Sisterhood (R.O.S.A.S.), plans to add another option.
R.O.S.A.S, the interest group for Sigma Lambda Alpha Sorority, Inc., was recently registered as a student organization and is in looking to become an active part of the Greek community as a member of the Multicultural Greek Council on the campus of A&M – Commerce.
Jaqueline Tovar Yañez, president of the organization, and Lauren Melcher, secretary, reached out in April 2016 about joining and starting the organization on campus.
“So I heard from a friend of mine that there were rumors that another multicultural sorority was looking to get established here,” Yañez said. “So, I emailed the Director of Expansion, as well as Lauren, and she got back to us and that’s how we started communication with her, and we decided to try to look for more girls who would be interested in joining us.”
The group focuses on academics, community service, and cultural awareness for the Latino community. Until they became a registered organization with the university, the R.O.S.A.S. focused on academics and community service with the sorority’s philanthropy, Boys and Girls Club of America.
“We started communication with the director last April and then we actually started getting more girls, because this was towards the end of the semester,” Yañez said. “But then, the beginning of this semester, that’s when we finally got registered and we finally started doing more, getting out there.”
Founded in 1992 at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX, Sigma Lambda Alpha Sorority, Inc. would be the second active multicultural sorority on campus.
“Here we have a very small MGC [Multicultural Greek Council], there’s only one more [sorority], so it would pretty much be another option just because, again, for me I personally didn’t see myself fitting in another sorority, especially when I got to college. So, we’re offering another option to people, so if they like what we’re about then they would definitely be welcome…,” Yañez said.
Yañez became interested in starting the organization because of the community service aspect of the group as she traces her roots back to Mexico.
“It was definitely the community service, because like for me, I’m really attached to my roots, so for me coming to the U.S., I just felt so grateful and blessed to be here in this country,” Yañez said. “So I knew that when I got to college there were sororities. But for me, I never really felt like I was interested in them for one or another reason. But just hearing about them and hearing that it was going to start here was going to be fresh, there’s definitely going to be time to focus on the parts that I like, like community service.”
Melcher like the idea of the organization for the multicultural aspect of it.
“For me, I really like the multicultural aspect of it because I grew up in a multicultural family and in Commerce I didn’t really see many multicultural groups I really felt like I belonged with,” Melcher said.
R.O.S.A.S recently paired up with the Muslim Student Association in an event to learn more about both groups at the Campus Crossroads.
“I thought it would be something really meaningful to the school,” Yañez said. “I know that some students may have some misconceptions about Muslim students and so we wanted to clear up those misconceptions. We just wanted to show what we’re about and what they’re about.”
As a new organization, the group has difficulties raising funds as they are still largely unknown around the university, but that has not stopped them from working towards their goals.
“That’s one of the limitations for us, since we’re a new student organization, we are not getting any funds and that’s another reason we haven’t been able to do as much as we would like to,” Yañez said. “We’re still pretty much unknown, but so far I think that we’ve been able to establish a bond and we need to work more on those things since we’re just now getting here.”