Students consider starting Asian sorority

It has been three years since MU had an active Asian-interest sorority.
Monday, April 18, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:26 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 1, 2008

MU’s Greek community might be getting a new sorority.

On Tuesday night, eight college women of Asian descent gathered in Memorial Union to discuss starting an Asian-interest chapter.

Jollene Kuo, a freshman journalism student, officiated the meeting and provided information about seven Asian-interest sororities the group is considering.

“Coming to college, I knew I wanted to join a sorority,” Kuo said.

But after she took a tour of Greek life at Summer Welcome, there was something holding her back.

Kuo realized she missed the Asian community she had left in New Jersey, especially her predominantly Asian church congregation. In search of a similar atmosphere, she contacted Annie Guo and Paula Kim, her first good friends at MU, and asked them to help her start a sorority.

Guo, a freshman studying journalism at MU, was excited at the prospect, she said, and quickly began sharing ideas with Kuo and Paula Kim, a freshman biological sciences major. At the recent meeting, attendees were asked to choose from among the sororities of interest. They also discussed the time it would take to move from being an interest group to an officially recognized sorority.

Guo emphasized the importance of getting the group running quickly. She said she wanted upperclassmen who had expressed interest to be able to join before graduation, but she didn’t know whether that would be possible. The group also is facing recruitment difficulties, she said.

“We’ve been using all our resources to recruit girls,” she said. “It has been hard identifying ‘Asian’ girls.”

Kuo said the organization is open to non-Asian women as well.

“We have no problem with anybody joining, as long as they have an interest in Asian culture,” she said.

Until three years ago, MU had an active Asian-interest sorority, Alpha Phi Gamma. The group disappeared because of lack of interest, but members from the University of Kansas chapter traveled to Columbia to help persuade the women to restart the MU chapter.

“The girls told us that they would support us even if we decided to go with a different sorority,” Guo said. “Although we are rivals (MU and KU), we still want to help our Asian American sisters.”

No matter which sorority they choose, Asian awareness on campus is the primary goal, Guo said.

“It is a great way to give Asian American women the chance to get involved with campus, represent their cultural backgrounds and create lasting friendships,” Guo said. “At the same time, MU students will receive a better understanding of Asian culture.”

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