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Texas Exes Asian Alumni Network » Organization Spotlight » May Organization Spotlight: Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority Inc.

May Organization Spotlight: Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority Inc.

Established in November of 2009, the UT Kappa Phi Lambda was founded by seven motivated young women (Shirley Luong, Jaclyn Nguyen, Jocelyn Lo, Erica Hui, Victoria Thai, Sunny Ruy, Christine Su). The seven women’s efforts in bringing this sisterhood to Austin, TX made them the first to expand towards the west. Since then, Kappa Phi Lambda has grown and has been constantly involved in various activities on and off the UT campus.

1. What inspired you all to start a chapter in the South?

We were inspired to start Kappa Phi Lambda here at UT because we truly believed in the 3 pillars this sorority stands for: Sisterhood, Service, Cultural Diversity. We felt that maybe some girls might not be interested in a sorority because they could not find one that fit to their own values, because most of us felt that way in the beginning. After having done some research on Kappa Phi Lambda, we thought that us, UT, and Kappas nationally will benefit greatly by having a colony here in the South. Us because we found something that we are truly passionate for. UT because we will be giving the Asian interest community a bigger voice in the Greek community. Kappa Phi Lambda nationally because we wil be expanding their sorority and interest to a new region. Hopefully we can inspire other colleges and universities around us to think of Kappa Phi Lambda when wanting to start an Asian interest sorority.

2. What are some things that the UT Kappa Phi Lambda has done in regards to the mission statement in “striving to strengthen Sisterhood amongst women by providing Service and promoting Cultural Diversity?”

This line is part of our Preamble, which is the formal statement of our entire sorority. It states our three pillars “Sisterhood, Service, and Cultural Diversity”, and we try our best to stand by those pillars in our everyday life. We exemplify the phrase “striving to strengthen Sisterhood amongst women by providing Service and promoting Cultural Diversity” by volunteering and bringing awareness about our Pan-Asian culture to our community. We plan many cultural workshops and events to educate one another about our individual ethnic backgrounds. We have volunteered at many events such as Project 2011, Project Reach Out, and service events with other registered student organizations. We also volunteer at Inside Book Project where we send books and letters to Texas prisoners and Capital Food Bank regularly. By doing so, our bond as sisters will strengthen since we are working together towards one common goal.

3. As a colony, your local philanthropic contribution is to the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. How has Kappa Phi Lambda contributed to this cause?

The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-International (CATW) is a non-governmental organization that promotes women’s human rights by working internationally to combat sexual exploitation in all its forms. Founded in 1988, CATW was the first international non-governmental organization to focus on human trafficking, especially sex trafficking of women and girls. We have held workshops and brought in speakers to talk about human trafficking and how it is apparent today and happens anywhere, even in Austin. Every semester we host a philanthropy week where we raise money throughout the week through different events to donate to Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and National Asian Pacific Pan America Women’s Forum. This semester we held a bingo night, a scavenger hunt, and a benefit concert and raised almost $500 for the cause.

4. Can you explain what the Worlds Unite festival is, and what this festival means to Kappa Phi Lambda?

Worlds Unite is an international festival where we promote cultural awareness on our campus. We have different cultural organizations host tables with cultural games, different performances, and free food so that we can have everyone come together and celebrate their own unique culture. Every year we host this festival, we focus on a specific country and we give out trivia facts throughout the night so attendees can win prizes. This festival means a lot specifically to UT Kappa Phi Lambda because we started this when we were first an interest group called PASSION. With so many organizations on campus and so many different events, we rarely get to see everyone working together. This is a way for us to get everyone together in one single place at one time to just have fun and celebrate.

5. What is NAPAWF? How do you represent NAPAWF? What has your organization done for NAPAWF?

NAPAWF, National Asian Pacific America Women’s Forum, is Kappa Phi Lambda’s National Philanthropy. NAPAWF came together due to two causes and pledged to build and sustain a national, progressive, multi-issue movement of Asian Pacific Islander (API) women in the United States. The two causes were that Asian or Pacific Islanders from the United Sates had no organized voice to participate in the official UN conferences and all their individual work were not sustainably linked or meaningful. Thus the founding sisters of NAPAWF identified six issues to serve as the platform and foundation for NAPAWF’s work: Civil Rights, Economic Justice, Educational Access, Ending Violence Against Women, Health, and Immigrant and Refugee Rights. We represent NAPAWF by helping educate our respective schools about these platforms and help raise money to continue on NAPAWF’s good work. A couple of events that we have thrown for NAPAWF this semester are: Killing Me Softly Workshop where we discussed the portrayal of women in media and how women can learn self-confidence through inner beauty; True Life: I am an Immigrant where we discussed the cultural gap between 1st generation Americans and their parents and how we can continue to pass down our culture and traditions to future generations; A whole philanthropy week where we raised money to donate to NAPAWF.

6. UT’s motto is “What starts here, changes the world.” What is one thing you would like to see change at UT?

One thing that we would like to change here at UT is the stereotype about sororities and Greek life in general. We would like to change the people’s negative perception of Greek life. Many people perceive sororities to be group of girls who likes to party and meet guys. But we would like to change that perception and let people know that sorority girls can be active leaders on campus and they work hard to help the community.

7. As the founding members of the UT Kappa Phi Lambda chapter, what advice can you give incoming freshmen or current students?

If you want to make a difference on campus, do it and don’t let anything stop you from doing so. Make an impact on campus. Join an organization that embodies what you envision. There is more to college than just partying and having fun all the time. Leave a legacy so that you can inspire others to do so as well. Anything can happen through hard work and determination.

Written by Gary Hwu

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