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Clemson students bring first Asian interest fraternity to South Carolina

Contributed by Jordan Minoda

There is excitement in the air this semester, and it comes from Jordan Minoda, a senior computer science major. That’s because this is the first semester that Pi Alpha Phi is nationally recognized at Clemson.
Although it’s currently a colony, the precursor to being an official chapter, Pi Alpha Phi is Clemson’s first Asian interest fraternity. And as president, Minoda has big goals for the semester, with cultural events such as a lantern festival mixed alongside more universal events like a huge reveal with music and singing.
Founded in 1929 at the University of California, Berkeley, Pi Alpha Phi is the nation’s oldest active Asian interest fraternity. Its addition to Clemson Greek life would make Pi Alpha Phi the fourth chapter in the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC), after Sigma Iota Alpha (SIA), Lambda Theta Phi (LTP) and Delta Phi Lambda (DFL).
Minoda said that it was the formation of the Asian interest sorority Delta Phi Lambda in spring 2016 that got him thinking about forming an Asian interest fraternity.
“We knew a lot of people from there, they all came from the Asian Student Association, that’s where we all came from,” Minoda said.
Trish Robinson, associate director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, spoke highly of Minoda and of what adding Pi Alpha Phi will do for Clemson.
“He’s always been very passionate about Pi Alpha Phi, or the potential of what it could be,” Robinson said. “[He] really bought into the big picture, the legacy they were creating as a group and what that could mean for Clemson as well as underrepresented students here at Clemson.”
Robinson went on to add that Minoda had spearheaded the formation of Pi Alpha Phi, with the group growing from an interest group last semester to a colony this semester.
As for Minoda, one of the biggest reasons to create this organization was community — especially since Clemson’s Asian population is so small. Data from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE) for spring 2016 shows that just above three percent of Clemson’s total student population identifies as Asian.
Minoda said he wants to “create a sense of community within a place that doesn’t have a lot of Asian influence.”
However, Minoda made sure to point out that everyone was welcomed into Pi Alpha Phi.
“It’s not just about the Asian people getting together, it’s also about helping people understand our culture and people who are interested in our culture,” Minoda said.
When asked about what he hopes in the future, Minoda said he’d like to see the chapter grow and for it to be an option for new incoming students.
“I want to come back in five years and have that sense of community to be present,” he said.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story abbreviated Delta Phi Lambda as DPL instead of DFL. The Tiger regrets this error.

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