We celebrate Iota Chapter's 20 year anniversary with some photos from the archive and an interview with Allen Yu.
Founder's Day ~2001 with Charters & Alphas
Why did you join the fraternity? How did you learn about it?
- I didn’t know much about fraternities when I first attended Michigan. When I decided I wanted to join/start, I knew I wanted a fraternity with history and time-honored traditions. After much research, we discovered Pi Alpha Phi and reached out to them. The rest is history …
What did you gain from being a member? What were the drawbacks?
- Starting out from scratch was a huge commitment in terms of time, finance, and dedication. In many ways, parallels to an entrepreneurship or start-up can be drawn. We were learning and building the chapter as we moved forward with the limited budget, manpower, and resources we had. There were many applicable, real-life experiences one can learn and gain, if one was involved and dedicated. The drawback was the immense commitment to the fraternity, which took away involvement and commitment from other clubs, organizations, and activities.
What activities did the chapter focus on in the early years?
- In the early days, the chapter was mainly focused on building a strong foundation and operations that will stand the test of time. From chartering to establishing – the odds were against us; therefore, the overall chapter survival was the main focus. The secondary focus was the expansion of new chapters. We wanted to build up a strong-hold of chapters in different regions to help support each other. This was a win-win for the chapters, as well as for National. We fulfilled our promise on that.
What were some initial successes?
- The fraternity is now 20 years old and counting, so obviously all of us (from past to present) are doing something right. However, that does not mean current and future members can take their eyes off the goal. We must learn from our mistakes and failures. And continue to adapt, evolve, and change for the better as we build upon our successes.
What were some initial failures/learning experiences?
-There were plenty of failures and learning experiences. The most important lesson is to learn from it, make changes, take necessary actions, and move forward. Always think and plan for the long-term.
What was the reputation of the chapter on campus?
-Building a respectable reputation is very important. Not sure we were able to 100% reach that goal, but at the very least, we stayed clear of any scandals. We did have a reputation for throwing great theme parties with correlating (non-alcoholic) cocktails.
What impact did the chapter have on campus?
-We created an option for students looking for Asian Interest fraternity. Soon after our establishment, another sorority was started on campus. From there, our members and members from different organizations were able to come together and establish MGC. I believe subsequent classes made the biggest impacts on campus and I hope our members continue to do so in the coming years.
What was the fit? What was the Greek council / community make-up?
-We were the lone chapter outside California. We had to rely on ourselves most of the time. The other Greek organizations did not provide much assistance or resources, while some were actively trying to sabotage us at every turn. In the beginning, there was only IFC. Multi-Greek council did not exist until a few years after establishment.
What was the relationship with other members of the community (students/organizations)
-We were generally on fair/good terms with most student organizations and clubs. However, subsequent classes really improved the chapter relationship with other student organizations by being active members and taking up board level positions. Their efforts and dedication took our relationships to the next level.