First-year students found Jewish sorority

Four freshman Jewish women responded to the anxieties of leaving high school by creating their own greek community.

by Logan Carroll

When Margarita Lyadova came to the University of Minnesota last fall, the first-year student said she had a hard time adjusting.
Lyadova and several other first-year University students founded Kappa Lambda Epsilon — a Jewish sorority — last month to combat that feeling, she said. The local sorority hopes to be officially active next fall.
The idea for the sorority arose when Lyadova, the sorority’s standing president, began integrating herself into the campus Jewish community. 
She said though the community is strong, she was disappointed that much of its activity was organized around the University’s two primary Jewish fraternities.
Her sentiment was echoed by the sorority’s vice president, Tracey Warsett, a first-year sociology student.
“I realized there’s a strong bond amongst the guys on campus with their fraternity life but not so much a strong girl bond — not as much as there is the potential to be,” Warsett said.
Warsett and Lyadova knew each other before coming to the University. They reconnected at a fraternity event and talked of forming a Jewish sorority, Warsett said.
By starting the sorority as first-year students, they hope to spend four years building the organization and cultivating its next generation of leaders, she said. 
The four founders became close friends through the process of forming Kappa Lambda Epsilon, Warsett said.
“It speaks wonders about what this whole organization can do if it’s [expanded] to a broader scale,” she said.
Many Jewish women are looking for a space that supports and empowers them, Warsett said. This is reflected by the nearly 20 members who have committed, Lyadova said.
Warsett said support could take the form of presenting leadership opportunities or giving encouragement after members experience 
“[Other Jewish women] know what our past is; they’ve been in similar situations,” Warsett said.
First-year biomedical engineering student Leah Novik, the sorority’s philanthropy coordinator, said Kappa Lambda Epsilon — like most fraternities and sororities on campus — will partner with another organization to fundraise.
Novik said they are considering Jewish and non-Jewish organizations to partner with. Lyadova said that the sorority will have settled on one before the end of next year.
Over the next few years, Kappa Lambda Epsilon plans to expand their membership and try to secure a house, Lyadova said.
“We want to make a busy calendar for ourselves,” she said.