Chapter Lambda Xi of the Romance Languages and Literatures Department at Colgate University was reactivated in 2020 by Professor Osvaldo Sandoval-León, the chapter advisor. Between 2020-2022, Lambda Xi held two initiation ceremonies per academic year with more than 35 new student members. The rapid growth, success, and recognition of Lambda Xi is the result of the academic support, enthusiasm, and teamwork among the chapter officers, students, and faculty members. From the beginning in 2020, chapter officers Gabriela Rodríguez-Lebrón (co-president), Victoria Pino (co-president), Anna Brown (secretary), Amelia Goodloe (treasurer), and Vincent Betti (social media chair), embraced Sigma Delta Pi’s mission and were committed to establish an active agenda that would foster and promote a better understanding of our Spanish language and Hispanic culture. To fulfill these goals, Lambda Xi’s officers created an online presence with social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, in addition to a webpage within the department’s official website. After increasing its visibility, they chapter organized several events that continue to be offered annually. Most importantly, the leadership of Gabriela, Victoria, Anna, Amelia, and Vincent inspired future chapter officers.
During the academic year 2020-2021, Lambda Xi organized a Creative Writing Workshop in Spanish, which was led by Professor Fonseca-Malavasi with five weekly sessions and a total of 15 registered students: members and prospective members of Sigma Delta Pi. The event served to motivate students to explore and/or improve their creative writing skills in different literary genres. At the series’ conclusion, the chapter held a festival where students shared their creative writings of poetry, short-stories and autobiographical essays, which were ultimately published in an anthology. This workshop is planned again for the academic year 2022-2023.
Lambda Xi also initiated a Spanish film series where Sigma Delta Pi members presented films from México (Ya no estoy aquí), Spain (100 metros), and Uruguay (La noche de 12 años). Students led the film presentations and moderated the discussion afterward. Due to the success of this event, the chapter decided to continue the film series as one of its annual events. In academic year 2021-2022, Lambda Xi presented films from Cuba (Viva), Perú (Retablo), and Guatemala (Los gigantes no existen). Lastly, chapter officers organized an alumni connections event where recent graduates from the department were invited to join a conversation about how they used their Spanish degrees in various fields such as medicine, law, and literature. Alumni also shared their testimonies and gave advice to current undergraduate students of Spanish.
In addition to organizing its own events, Lambda Xi was also participated in the lectures “(In)visible (In)justice: Cristina Michaus’s Mujeres de Ciudad Juárez” by Professor Gail A. Bulman of Syracuse University, and “What do we mean by Latinx theatre today?” by Professor Debra Castillo of Cornell University. Although 2020-2021 was a challenging year due to the global pandemic, the students’ persisted with their enthusiasm, motivation, and leadership to organize, participate, and successfully carry out all the events.
During the academic year 2021-2022, the chapter officers, Vanessa Pérez Márquez (Co-President), Alex Millard (Co-President), Nicole Weiss (Secretary, and Sarah Neubecker (Social Media Chair), kept their commitment, leadership, and increased our chapter’s mission and visibility. Besides the annual Spanish Film Series, and Alumni Connections events, Lambda Xi organized a Spanish Social Hour event to provide information about the honor society. Faculty members and students were able to have fruitful conversations about the requirements to join Sigma Delta Pi, its benefits, and how to get involve. Another event was A Roundtable Discussion: Latin American and Spanish Peninsular Culture, Politics, Literature. This roundtable discussion was led by senior students in Spanish, and members of Lambda Xi. They presented their interdisciplinary research, which involved different topics, such as Romanticism in Ecuador, the Chinese community in Costa Rica, youth during the Spanish Civil War, and the humanitarian crisis in Central America. The great reception of the Spanish Social Hour and the Roundtable Discussion highly inspired our chapter; thus, we are planning to establish them as annual events. This academic year 2021-2022 was also very significant in terms of collaboration with other student organization. Lambda Xi co-organized various events with the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), the Senior Honor Society (SHS), and the Latin American Dance (LAD). For example, our chapter co-organized a Creating Community event where students and faculty members shared a meal and discussed the importance of Spanish language at the personal and cultural level, as well as the challenges of promoting the language on campus. Another collaboration was A Conversation on Latinx Culture and Identity, in which several students and faculty members gathered to discuss the meaning of Latinx culture and identity, as well as the symbolic value of language in different communities and academic institutions in the United States. Lastly, our chapter co-organized a Learning Latin American Dance event, where students presented the cultural significance of different types of traditional dances in Latin American (cumbia, bachata, salsa, merengue), followed by a dance workshop led by our students. Finally, our Lambda Xi members continued to get involved in other events, such as the lecture “Criba y la novela peruana sobre la violencia política” by Professor Eric Carbajal (CalState University, Fullerton), and participation in the performance Autoceguera, a play adaptation by advanced level students of Spanish in the seminar Posdictatorial Transatlantic Theater.
For the 2022-2023 year, the elected chapter officers, Hannah Burgess (co-president), Emma Silverman (co-president), and Isabela Málaga (vice-president), will continue fostering and expanding academic relationships, student collaboration, and cultural awareness. In the initiation ceremony in September, Lambda Xi will hold elections for the positions of secretary, treasurer, and social media chair, so new members have the opportunity to become involved from the beginning. The chapter looks forward to holding its two initiation ceremonies, annual closing ceremony, and cultural events in the upcoming year.
All the hard work by the previous and current chapter officers and members has been recognized by Sigma Delta Pi’s Executive Committee. Lambda Xi was selected as an Honor Chapter for two consecutive years (2021, 2022), and also received the Phoenix Award (2021), the Ignacio and Sophie Galbis Award (2022), and the Professor Sandoval-León was recognized with the Lucy F. Lee Award (2022) as outstanding chapter adviser of the year. The chapter was also proud of its Professor Frederick Luciani, initiate in the prestigious Order of José Martí in 2022 for his outstanding service to Spanish and Hispanic studies. Lambda Xi is honored and grateful for these prestigious recognitions, which motivate the group to continue its pursuit of excellence in the study of Spanish language and Hispanic culture.