Sigma Lambda Beta Hosts Beta Week
GVL / Kaitlyn Bowman
Host Eric Villafuerte quizzes contestants during the Are You Cultured? Trivia night.
Last week, the brothers of Sigma Lambda Beta, a Latino-based multicultural social fraternity at, hosted “Beta Week”, a week to honor the receipt of their charter and recognition as Alpha Gamma Chapter of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Inc, which took place in 2004. Beta Week at Grand Valley State University was full of documentaries, workshops, fundraisers and cookouts.
The aim of Beta Week, which started in 2009, five years after the chapter was official, is not only to celebrate the accomplishments of the 10 charter brothers, but also to display the four principles of the fraternity: Brotherhood, Scholarship, Community Service and Cultural Awareness and exemplify their involvement with CPR Awareness (National) & the Supporting Our Leaders Program (Local).
“In planning our Beta Week events, we try to come up with programs that will be able to connect us not only to other GV students, but faculty, staff, and the Grand Rapids and Allendale communities as well,” said Eric Villafuerte, Alpha Gamma Chapter Vice President of Communications.
Beta Week was initiated Nov. 4, and continued through Nov. 11. The first event was the Charter Celebration Day, held in the Campus West Community Center on the fourth. On Monday, the fraternity held a showing of “Sicko,” a Health Care Documentary directed by Michael Moore which takes a closer look at health care as provided by profit-orientated Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) compared to free universal health care in Canada, the U.K. and France. Discussion and opinions were held after the showing.
“We chose to do this event as it is an election year, and health care in our country has always been a hot topic of debate”, Villafuerte said.
On Tuesday, Beta Week got more involved as a workshop entitled “This Isn’t High School Anymore” was held in the Academic Success Center in Kirkhof. This workshop aimed to teach students how to study effectively. Professionals offered their tips and tricks for success. The group walked over to Zumberge library after the event to implement their newly learned practices at study tables.
Things got spicy on Wednesday, as coupons for 20 percent off Buffalo Wild Wings takeout or dine-in were distributed. That percentage went to the chapter to support their SOL Program. Brothers attended the event between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
On Thursday, the chapter hosted their feature event, “So You Think You’re Cultured?” a Jeopardy-like game where participants are quizzed on other countries’ facts: Flags, national animals, popular cartoons, etc. Prizes were awarded to first, second and third place winners.
“This event is a fun and interactive way to spread cultural awareness among a broad spectrum of topics,” Villafuerte said.
Things got physical on Friday during “Beta Your Health, Beta Your Bodies” from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Rec Center. Pick-up basketball and volleyball games were held and attendees had access to the rest of the Rec Center’s offerings.
“This event is also important to us because being a multicultural organization certain cultures are more prone to different diseases and conditions that can sometimes be prevented through exercise and a healthy diet,” Villafuerte said. “Therefore, we hope to raise awareness of the importance of staying active and being healthy in order to stop these statistics from going up.”
The Third Annual Community Clean Up and Cookout, a favorite of the brothers, took place on Saturday in the Roosevelt Neighborhood along Grandville Avenue. The event is a partnership between the chapter brothers, the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association, Multicultural Greek Council, our local philanthropy (SOL), community members, Latino Student Union, GVSU’s Women Center, Sigma Lambda Gamma from GVSU and MSU, Delta Phi Lambda, Alpha Sigma Tau, as well as alumni and brothers from DePaul, Toledo, Calvin, Wayne State, Western Michigan and the University of Michigan.
Groups were formed – some groups took on the house of an elderly person in the community, raking leaves and performing other yard maintenance, while other groups did highway cleanup, volunteered at the Hispanic Center, or covered up graffiti. Following the event, the brothers hosted a big cookout, free of charge for everyone involved.
On Sunday, the official end of Beta Week, information was offered to gentlemen who were interested in joining the Brotherhood during a meeting.
“As an alumnus of the chapter, I am very proud of the direction that the members have taken Beta Week,” said Santiago Gayton, Fraternity and Sorority Life Coordinator. “As many of the fraternities and sororities at Grand Valley it is always great to see events and programs that reflect the values of their organization that are also fun and open to the public.”
“(Being in the fraternity) has allowed me to connect with many students and faculty of Grand Valley, and other universities nationwide,” said Mario Gelano, chapter brother of two years. “It has also helped me grow as a person and learn more about myself by giving me opportunities to be a leader and involved in the whole community.”