By the end of Spring 2006, Hsuan Chen and Lillian Van, after having ventured through their first year as undergraduates at the Georgia Institute of Technology, both realized they shared two significant things in common; they both wanted to belong in something that was not only worthwhile and rewarding, but everlasting. Being first year students at Georgia Tech, they not only found challenges in being young Asian female student in the male-dominated Georgia Tech campus, but also challenges in finding loyalty and unity amongst their female peers due to the lack of a unified Asian community.
They wanted to set precedence to other Asian women by forming a faithful group of young women who are well respected by their peers. The lack of unity in the Asian community was disheartening as others failed to explore and learn about other cultures as well as their own. Having seen the undertakings of the sisters of Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. on neighboring universities, they yearned for a similar entity. Seeing the pride and dedication that each sister displayed, they envied these young women for having the privilege of being a part of a sisterhood that impacted the community. They acknowledged these yearnings and settled on the decision to pursue chartering a Georgia Tech chapter of Delta Phi Lambda, a sisterhood that would satisfy their desires.
In the summer of 2006, Ms. Chen and Ms. Van met with the National Board of Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. to discuss the possibility of establishing a chapter at the Georgia Institute of Technology. This meeting paved the way to the formation of LUMA, Ladies United in Multicultural Awareness, Georgia Tech's Delta Phi Lambda Interest Group. With the help of Thao Ngoc Le, a sister of Delta Phi Lambda® who transferred from the University of Georgia, Lillian Van, Hsuan Chen, Alison Weyun Kao, Elizabeth Nhu Thai, and Lin Mei were able to form the foundation of LUMA. These five women united together in the pursuit of a common goal, to make a difference by leaving a lasting legacy and presence at Georgia Tech and its community.
Throughout the year LUMA worked relentlessly to expand and strengthen the group. Despite skeptical peers, innumerable challenges, and endless struggles, these five young women ceaselessly continued to establish themselves on campus, allowing others to recognize their strength and determination by working with existing student organizations on campus as well as the local community to promote Asian awareness. By increasing their involvement on campus and in the community, they gained respect and support through their works. As obstacles presented themselves, the women of LUMA overcame those hardships and emerged as stronger individuals but more importantly as a stronger group.
Guided by Maria Criselda S. Iglesia, the National Affiliate Member Educator, and Stella Ungchi Kim, the Assistant Affiliate Member Educator, the women of LUMA - Lillian Van, Hsuan Chen, Alison Weyun Kao, Elizabeth Nhu Nguyen Thai, and Lin Mei, chartered the tenth chapter of Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. on March 25, 2007. They also became the first recognized Asian-interest sorority on the Multicultural Greek Council at Georgia Tech on April 24, 2007.