The month of May is filled with amazing celebrations, one being Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month! It’s a time to celebrate Asian and Pacific American culture, history, and impact. The University of Tennessee is proud to welcome two new Asian interest organizations to campus: Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. and Lambda Phi Epsilon International Fraternity, Inc. These two established organizations are not only the first Asian interest groups on campus but the first national Asian interest groups on any college campus in the state of Tennessee!
I had the chance to talk with members of Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. and Lambda Phi Epsilon International Fraternity, Inc., two new fraternal organizations supported by the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life under the Multicultural Greek Council-MGC, about Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month and what it means to them. Being an Asian American myself, I believe this month is so important to celebrate and recognize. And I’m glad to have two amazing organizations on campus that can represent the Asian community so well.
Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc.
An Nguyen, the president, and Chanel Briones, the vice president of finance, gave me some amazing insights on Delta Phi Lambda, an Asian-interest sorority for women, but not Asian exclusive. The sorority focuses on strong female leadership, building a diverse community, and having an Asian interest. Chanel adds, “We really want to emphasize that we’re open to anyone because that’s a part of our preamble: focusing on things like the diversity of our experiences and how all of that has brought us along together.” An shares what the sorority missions and values are, “We want to bring awareness to the Asian community on campus, to break stereotypes, and celebrate different cultures.” Delta Phi Lambda Sorority is definitely making an exciting history! They are the first Asian American interest sorority on campus and in the whole state. Chanel mentions, “We’re pretty proud to be the first, but we’re not really seeing it as something to boast but more to live up to.”
An and Chanel believe that Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month is super important. It’s a time where the Asian community can receive the visibility that every community deserves. Chanel adds, “I think it’s really important to get our message out there.
This sorority is a great organization that helps Asian American students identify with their culture. An shares her experience, “Throughout us chartering, it made me really reflect on who I am, and it made me proud to be Vietnamese American. Because growing up, I’ve always hidden my Asian identity, so it’s definitely been a huge learning process for me. I am still trying to learn about my identity.” Chanel also shares her experience, “It’s helped with my Asian heritage in the sense that I can learn more about others. Seeing the diversity of all Asian cultures is really something that I appreciate.” This chapter also promotes diversity and inclusion on campus by being an Asian-interest, but not Asian exclusive, sorority, so anyone is welcomed! This chapter is about bringing people together, making campus diverse, and highlighting different identities.
Lambda Phi Epsilon International Fraternity, Inc
I spoke with Taylor Chayavon, the first alumni of Lambda Phi Epsilon at UT, about the new Asian interest fraternity on campus. Taylor shared the mission and values of the fraternity, “We strive to raise leaders among men by focusing on authenticity, courageous leadership, cultural heritage, love, and wisdom.” The UT chapter of Lambda Phi Epsilon is the first Asian American interest fraternity in the state. Taylor is very excited about the impact that the chapter will make on campus in the upcoming year. When discussing how this chapter helps Asian American students, Taylor says, “It’s a place where students can learn about Asian heritage, have a group of men to bond and connect with, and it’s a rewarding experience.” It’s a chapter that promotes diversity and inclusion on campus because anyone can join no matter what race. Taylor adds, “We’re going to be able to show that greek life is not exclusive to any set race or culture ”
When recognizing and talking about Asian Heritage month, Taylor believes it’s important because it’s a month to share knowledge and experiences about Asian culture by educating people about all the great things. Lambda Phi Epsilon is celebrating this month by promoting on social media with facts and show off anything Asian culture like the traditional dress.
If you would like to join Lambda Phi Epsilon International Fraternity, Inc, follow their Instagram @utklphie!
To learn more about these two new organizations and other cultural-based fraternal organization under OSFL, register for Meet the Greeks! Meet the Greeks is an educational program hosted in the fall to learn more about cultural-based fraternities and sororities within the Multicultural Greek Council-MGC and National Pan-Hellenic Council-NPHC/D9. Registrations for “Meet the Greeks” starts June 1 at noon at gogreek.utk.edu.
Bailey Ly is a sophomore majoring in public relations with a minor in business administration. She is the undergraduate public relations intern for Student Life Communications. Bailey is also the marketing chair for Campus Events Board Arts and Culture. She loves cooking and learning about new cultures.