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May 8, 2014 | 12:00 a.m. CST
As vice president of Kappa Pi Beta, Vincent Su is taking on quite a bit of responsibility. Outside of performing his official duties, which include overseeing the fraternity, advising members and acting as social chair, Su is also a representative for MU’s first Asian-interest fraternity. He hopes that Kappa Pi Beta can give its members the necessary platform to combat stereotypes associated with both Asian-Americans and Greek organizations.
In the few months since the fraternity’s inception, the officers have been looking for ways to make a positive impact in the community. They’ve organized events focused on Asian culture and collaborated on community service projects with Latino-interest fraternity Lambda Theta Phi. That was just April alone.
Su talks first impressions, the value of brotherhood and what it takes to bring together such diverse groups of people.
What has been the local response to Kappa Pi Beta?
I think it’s very interesting because it’s the first Asian-American fraternity in Missouri. So it’s a brand new thing on campus that’s just shown up, and everyone’s, “Oh, it’s a new fraternity, and they have different traditions than ours.” That kind of thing.
Do you feel like there’s pressure to represent Kappa Pi Beta as the first Asian-interest fraternity in Missouri?
We do feel the pressure since we’re the only one, and whatever we do, whatever we say, people are all looking at us. We are defining the Asian-interest organization in Missouri. So, yeah, representing is hard but also pushes us forward. In the end, it helps us keep our discipline and helps us keep up with our work.
By the time you graduate, what progress would you like to see the fraternity make?
I’m graduating December of this year, so I hope we’ll have our first class, so-called Alpha class, next semester. I hope we’ll have been doing a lot of service events and gaining a certain amount of reputation. I’d like to see the organization being known and being recognized on campus and within different communities.
What impact do you hope the state’s first Asian-interest fraternity will make in Columbia?
A lot of the minority groups, they stick to their own tiny circle. They have great ideas, great plans, a lot of things to contribute to the community, but they don’t have a platform. By presenting the voice of minority groups, I want to unify everyone so we become a larger group. Hopefully, the ideas will be conveyed to the larger community, and we can all work together for the better of this community and this campus.
What are the challenges of bringing together a diverse group within a fraternity?
I think the main challenges are the differences in cultures and in backgrounds. At first we thought, maybe these differences would be a barrier, but actually, it wasn’t. We embrace all differences. I think within our fraternity, the brotherhood and the things we go through and the bonds we have help us overcome the differences. That’s what makes us so close and makes us a family. And outside of the fraternity, of course, differences still exist between organizations or between us and other Asian-interest fraternities because we have different values. But like I said, it’s not like this one’s better than that or that one’s better than this. We want to embrace all our differences because we know that we all contribute to society in different ways. That’s what we talk about. We talk about unity.
Photo by Andrew Schriver