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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Asian-American fraternity comes to MU

Kappa Pi Beta is MU’s first Asian-American interest fraternity.

March 19, 2014

Kappa Pi Beta, an Asian-American interest fraternity, is officially at MU.

Kappa Pi Beta was chartered Dec. 19, and it became the first Asian-American service and social fraternity to be successfully chartered at MU.

The fraternity, which was founded in 2000 at Northern Illinois University, aims to give Asian Americans a voice in the Midwest.

Junior Zhizhou Huang said Kappa Pi Beta’s charter was a big deal to its members because they were the first group to try to bring this kind of fraternity to MU.

“For us, it’s not only that we became the first (Asian-American fraternity) on campus but that we made history,” he said.

The fraternity is concerned with helping its brothers and becoming better citizens, according to its website. It is also focused on fighting stereotypes and spreading cultural awareness in the community.

Senior Vincent Su said that while MU has a diversified campus, everyone is separated and scattered around campus.

“We want to reach out to all of the ethnicity groups on campus and bring everyone together,” Su said. “We want to cooperate and make things happen for our campus and community.”

Kappa Pi Beta’s mission on campus is very similar to that of Delta Xi Nu, the new multicultural sorority that was chartered on campus Jan. 18.

The founding charter members include Su, Huang, junior Phillip Nguyen, freshman Mark Won, graduate student Zhun Xu, Adrian Hong and junior John Hu. The group researched Asian-American fraternities and decided Kappa Pi Beta was the fraternity that was most aligned with their beliefs.

Hu said the newness of this fraternity was one of the things that attracted the charter class to Kappa Pi Beta.

“With this new fraternity, we can put our own ideas into it and help build it up,” he said. “We can make a difference about the way this fraternity works. We have a say about it.”

As of now, the MU colony of Kappa Pi Beta is not a member of the Interfraternity Council or the National PanHellenic Council, but the members are looking at becoming members of IFC.

Hu and Huang pointed to One Mizzou as a positive force on campus. One Mizzou, which began in February 2011, is dedicated to embracing diversity and creating a space where discrimination is not acceptable, according to its website.

Hu said although there are still racial barriers on campus, they are not as pertinent as before because of efforts of groups like One Mizzou. But he pointed out that MU can still make progress.

“There are still individuals who are intolerant and racist, and they believe in too many stereotypes,” he said. “What I think people can do to prevent this kind of hate is to try and learn about different cultures and to try and stay active in learning about those cultures.”

Half of the members of the MU colony of Kappa Pi Beta are international students, Huang said. He said he wants to create a home for incoming international students and others.

Although it’s labeled as an Asian-American interest fraternity, Kappa Pi Beta accepts all ethnicities into its fraternity as part of its mission to fight stereotypes on campus.

“We’re open to all ethnicity groups and any type of orientation … just as long as they’re a guy,” Su said. “We hope that people who want to join would be willing to learn, and they need to have a passion for their own self-development.”

Kappa Pi Beta will be hosting various events throughout April, including an Asian market game night in the MU Student Center and an upcoming fundraiser for Type 2 diabetes.

“Starting this (fraternity) for us is us wanting to accomplish something,” Huang said. “We don’t want to just fit in with the Greek party culture, we really want to make a difference on campus. That’s why we’re doing this.”

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