The fraternity is a member of the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) and a member of the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO).
The concept of forming Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity, Inc. began in 1978. During the period of the mid to late 1970s protests and acts of civil disobedience became commonplace as students asserted their disappointment with Rutgers University, professors' tenure, national issues, and Latino student rights. The protest became so fervent they began closing down institutions and buildings, specifically the Livingston Library as well as Rutgers men's basketball games.
As the acts of civil disobedience continued, students began to meet and be acquainted with each other from the protests. Some students were particularly upset with the treatment of Latino student interests and issues. A small group of these students began to meet at the Livingston Student Center and discuss the formation of an organization that would help students meet their goals and provide a family away from home. As the discussion continued, more men began to join the conversation eventually the group reached 20 members. Most of these men had met, at some time or another, during the protests or acts of civil disobedience, and thus shared common interests in the need for taking action to bring about positive change.
In the spring of 1979, after speaking for a number of weeks, these 20 students suggested that the group form their own brotherhood, a Latino Social Fellowship. These men decided that a Social Fellowship would best provide a support, focus, and family for the Latino community on college and university campuses. These men began to meet on a regular basis, holding their final meeting in Tillett Hall at Rutgers University, Livingston Campus on April 5, 1979, at which time Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Social Fellowship, Inc. was established. The official motto of the fellowship was "Latinos Siempre Unidos" (Latinos Always United), thus the acronym "LSU". They effectively became the catalyst for change, and a vehicle for pertinent conversation regarding relevant issues between student and the university administration at Rutgers University.
The twenty founders of Lambda Sigma Upsilon are:
The 20 founders of LSU were men who believed that underrepresented groups, particularly ethnic minorities, at colleges and universities were not getting the attention or services needed to advance their academic successes. They created Lambda Sigma Upsilon to act as a support group for these groups, as well as to provide a family away from home. The founders developed four Goals that would embody the purpose of Lambda Sigma Upsilon. These goals are:
After the establishment of the Pioneros Chapter at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the brothers of this chapter saw certain difficulties in sustaining the chapter due to the organization's designation as a social fellowship. Not being designated “fraternity” disallowed them from participating in certain events as well as creating and hosting some of their own events and programs with the support of their institutions. They also saw great difficulty in their ability to promote the organization as many special rights were given only to “Greek” organizations. This eventually led to a debate within the organization surrounding the idea of changing the designation from "Social Fellowship" to "Fraternity". This debate centered on the idea of giving in to a “Greek” system that the founders of the organization originally sought to avoid. In the fall of 1987 a proposal was submitted by the brothers of Pioneros Chapter to the governing board of Lambda Sigma Upsilon. An organization-wide vote was held to change the designation and was passed, thus changing the official name of the organization to "Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity".
Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity is a Member of the National Greek council North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC). NIC is a confederation of 73 men's college fraternities with over 5,500 chapters on more than 800 campuses throughout Canada and the United States. The NIC represents over 350,000 collegiate members and four and a half million alumni. Its volunteer leaders and professional staff serve fraternity leaders in university, government, and media relations.
Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity is also a Member of the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO). The purpose of NALFO is to promote and foster positive inter-fraternal relations, communication, and development of all Latino fraternal organizations through mutual respect, leadership, honesty, professionalism and education. Currently, NALFO consists of 19 different organizations.
Since 1979, Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity, Inc. (LSU) has been the first Latino fraternity to embrace the tradition of stepping. LSU believes stepping is historically and culturally relevant to Latinos by paying homage to their Indigenous and African ancestry. LSU's step teams have competed in various competitions across the nation and won the first ever LatinoStep Summer Step Competition in 2002 and regained the title in 2008. LSU is also the first Latino-based fraternity to compete against the traditional Greek-lettered African American organization the Divine Nine.
LSU placed first in the 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010 Silk Stroll Championship and other nationwide stroll competitions. From early on in the history of LSU, machetes have been incorporated in their step performances as they have special meaning and purpose to the fraternity. Although LSU's cultural identity symbol is the Taino, it has a consistent tradition of embracing and honoring indigenous peoples across the Americas and Africa such as the Aztecs, Zulu, Iroquois, Inca, Mohegan,and Mayans. The organization is commonly known as the most culturally diverse Latino fraternity in the nation.
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Latino Fraternity, Inc.
Membership is open to all males enrolled at a college or university with or without an existing chapter of Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity, Inc. Although a Latino fraternity, the word "Latino" is largely used to keep in sync with tradition. It is important to note Lambda Sigma Upsilon does not discriminate based on race, creed, color, marital status, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, parental status, or political affiliation.
After the passing of one of their founding fathers, Alberto Rivera in June 1989, due to H.I.V. / A.I.D.S. complications, Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity has selected H.I.V. /A.I.D.S. research and awareness as its primary philanthropy. The Fraternity participates nationwide in the donation of funds, cause walks, and informational programs towards the goal of curing, and creating a vaccination for, the disease. Lambda Sigma Upsilon has worked with the following H.I.V. / A.I.D.S. related organizations
Although, Lambda Sigma Upsilon holds H.I.V. /A.I.D.S. as its main philanthropy, many chapters take on chapter philanthropies in addition, and the organization also continues to participate in many volunteer and community service work geared specifically towards under-served communities. Some examples of the programs with which Lambda Sigma upsilon Latino Fraternity has participated are:
The Latinos Siempre Unidos Foundation is a 501 c(3) non-profit foundation. It operates separate and independent of the fraternity. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide scholarships to Latinos, as well as other minorities, enrolled in high school or college who has shown a commitment to leadership and education. The Latinos Siempre Unidos foundation also endows surrounding neighborhoods and communities with new prospects to further learning by supporting fiscally and physically organizations, groups, clubs, associations, and companies who show values in line with those of The Latinos Siempre Unidos Foundation. All donations to the organization are tax deductible.