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Washburn University Celebrates First Latina-oriented Sorority on Campus

     Topeka, Kan. – Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority, Inc., a Latina-oriented sorority, has officially recognized the Washburn University prospective chapter as a full chapter. The Washburn chapter, designated as the Alpha Alpha Chapter, is the first Kansas chapter of Gamma Phi Omega and the organization’s 24th chapter. This is the vision and hard work of several Washburn students.

     “In 2018, a group of minority women came together wanting to create an organization that was a safe environment and empowering; that spoke to our core values while supporting us as we went after different education, career and life goals,” said Casandra Razo-Bravo, Washburn junior and president of Gamma Phi Omega. “We did research, and this sorority was the best fit for our desires and for Washburn.”

     “We currently have eight members but now that we are an official chapter, we will be actively recruiting more,” said Razo-Bravo. “We’re working to build a strong organization with a well-respected reputation, that is welcoming. This sorority is Latina and minority focused but we want all the ladies at Washburn to know they have a home with us!”

     The university now has a total of 11 Greek organizations - five fraternities and six sororities across three councils (the Interfraternity Council, the Multicultural Greek Council and the Panhellenic Council). Gamma Phi Omega is a founding organization of Washburn’s Multicultural Greek Council. Each Greek chapter is a self-governing organization that allows members to hold leadership positions, which support the positive growth within the chapter. At Washburn, 85% of the Greek community is involved in an organization outside of their fraternity or sorority.

     “The goal of Greek life at Washburn is for those students involved to achieve higher standards of academics, leadership and service, while encouraging community and campus involvement,” said Dr. Eric Grospitch, vice president of student life for Washburn University. “Casandra Razo-Bravo and Victoria Smith have demonstrated all those qualities in the work they and the other students involved have done in establishing this sorority at Washburn. They had the vision, brought it to the administration and worked to bring it to life for the betterment of our entire campus.”

     “They further demonstrated that diversity and inclusion should exist in our classrooms, student organizations and in each fraternity or sorority’s membership but also in the Greek organizations themselves that are included on our campus,” said Grospitch.

     Razo-Bravo is biology major with a focus on pre-medicine. She plans to continue on to medical school upon graduation. Razo-Bravo is also an active member of the Hispanic American Leadership Organization (HALO) at Washburn. Smith is senior studying vocal and violin performance. She is president of the Washburn Student Government Association (WSGA), vice president of Sigma Alpha Iota music sorority, president of the Washburn Opera Studio and is vice president of Gamma Phi Omega. Upon graduation, Smith plans to attend graduate school for voice, and eventually run for a position on the Gamma Phi Omega National Board of Directors.    

     Six Indiana University students founded Gamma Phi Omega on April 17, 1991 after they explored the traditional Greek system available to them. Their vision was to become part of an organization where Latina women could relate in their shared cultural values and experiences. There are now 24 chapters across the Midwest. The organization states that sisterhood remains their core foundation and they strive to empower women through set goals. Although they are Latina-oriented in their roots, Gamma Phi Omega unites women across an array of cultures. They are committed to the values of diversity and inclusion in order to attain and maintain excellence within their sisterhood, providing women an equal opportunity without regard to race, age, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, marital status or disability.

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For further information: Joy Bailes Assistant Director of Public Relations Telephone: 785-670-2153 Cell: 785-230-1648 Email: joy.bailes@washburn.edu

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