- Co-founder, Susan Pina
Texas Lassos first official group photo
The Story of Texas Lassos
written by Co-founder, Kim Gentile
While eating at late night at Jester during their sophomore year [fall 1998], Susan Pina and Ester Mengistu were considering the idea of starting a new student organization. They wanted something for women that focused on community service as well as social and spirit activities. They wanted an organization that was open to all UT women who wanted to foster new friendships while serving the UT and Austin communities. There were several organizations on campus that catered to women, but most had only one aspect of the three they wanted or the application process was too tedious. So, it was established that they would start planning for this new organization. They invited friend Kim Gentile to be a part of it and the three thought about names - a name that would represent UT as well as stand out. "What about Texas Lassos?" Ester asked. It sounded good, stood out and was very representative of the entire state of Texas.
Once the name was established, Alix Morrow was invited to join the girls, making up the four co-founders of Texas Lassos. Their next biggest challenge was getting girls to join! They made fliers announcing info. sessions and placed them around campus. However, at their very first info. session, only one girl showed up! The next day, a few more girls showed up and applications were passed out. Things were going well and planning was getting hectic, but after a week, the four co-founders had their first pledge class of seven girls. Their first year was rough but they got involved with all that they could from Longhorn Halloween as their first service project to the Guadalupe Street Fair. To make themselves more visible and united, the girls made official T-shirts with their name on it to wear to events and around campus. The girls also participated in Orange Santa and won first place for decorating a box, thanks to Alix, to put canned food in. They got to know each other and got along well, but at other times, their differences clashed and made for some interesting discussion.
The first initiation took place at Kim and Ester's apartment in West Campus and was the perfect size for the small group of Lassos. Little did the co-founders know that their group would eventually outgrow that apartment and require a larger room! This is when the tradition of wearing black at initiation and having a celebration party afterwards began. They planned parties, their first one being a Valentine's Day party and hired a small band to play. They also worked with the Texas Wranglers helping them to raise money for the Ester Seals. Planning for events took time and getting the Lassos name out was even harder, but by the end of their first year, all of their hard work paid off. The pledge class doubled and it was definitely too hard to have initiation at someone's apartment. The girls were stable yet missing something and it was the after their first year that the Constitution was created and the rest of Lassos is history in the making!"