By Kristine “Aster” Medina, Editor-in-Chief

The National APIA Panhellenic Association (NAPA) will be inducting its 2016-2017 executive board tomorrow at the close of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA) annual meeting, appointing Hanah “Mocha” Seoh, former national president and University of Cincinnati alumna, as the executive chair.

The organization also appointed Vigor Lam of Pi Delta Psi as vice chair and Teri Chung of Kappa Phi Lambda as secretary. We asked the incoming NAPA board questions about their goals during office, issues concerning APIA fraternity/sorority members today and thoughts on working with Seoh. See the responses below.


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Hannah “Mocha” Seoh, Executive Chair

Why did you pursue the executive chair position?

I have been involved with NAPA since it’s inception and have seen previous sisters Melissa Montenegro and Maria Jaochico also serve as Chairs. They served as my inspiration and encouraged me along the way. As you may know I also succeeded Melissa as President of DPhiL.

What are your short-term/long-term goals?

Short-term: I hope to build more unity within the AAGLO community and spread the NAPA brand. We started that a little bit this past year and I want it to continue.

Long term: I hope to make NAPA a well-respected umbrella organization in the greater fraternal community. I want us to be able to have honest conversations about really tough topics (hazing, sexual assault, hookup culture). I want us to dive deep and not just look at symptoms of problems, but to get to the root causes and think about how our own different identities play a role in these issues. I hope to elevate the reputation of AAGLOs and ensure that our members turn out to be the best versions of themselves.

In your service as executive chair, what are you the most excited about?

I am most excited about my team. We have close to 20 volunteers from different organizations that have expressed interest in serving NAPA and I think we will be able to accomplish a lot.

What challenges do you foresee? How will you overcome them?

Because we are the youngest both in organizational age and average age of volunteers/officers NAPA may not be seen by some as credible as other umbrella groups. I hope to continue to build strong interfraternal relationships and make NAPA’s presence known by attending and presenting at various FSL related conferences.

How will you approach collegiate members in pursuit of education about the history of Asian-interest Greeks?

We have created a new position, Director of Undergraduate Affairs, that will focus on the needs of our collegians. Many times we find that undergraduates aren’t aware of NAPA and it’s purpose and we hope to rectify that. We also hope to increase NAPA brand/presence at various undergraduate conferences and events and create slide decks that organizations can share with their members.  

How will you address the issues of Asian-interest Greeks in society today concerning hazing policies?

Although hazing is a large problem in society, not just our organizations, NAPA must do our part and remain vigilant. Just because an organization changes their member education program doesn’t mean that hazing has been stamped out. We must first admit that a problem still exists and then work to figure out why it exists. Until we talk about it though, nothing will change. We plan to create a Hazing Prevention Task Force that can make recommendations to our member organizations.

 


Vigor

Vigor Lam, Vice Chair

What was your objective in pursuit of becoming a member of the NAPA executive board?

When I attended my first Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors annual meeting about four years ago in Indianapolis, I was new and unaware of the work that NAPA does for our fraternal community. Mentors, including Hannah Seoh, Gordon, Wong, Brian Gee and Brenda Dang, quickly brought me into the fold, shared knowledge and experiences, and I was hooked! The passion, drive, and genuine care these folks have for the Asian American fraternal community was insurmountable to me. I knew I wanted to stay engaged with them, as alumni, and the organization itself. Brenda took a chance by appointing my as a newly created Director of Public Engagement this past year. I enjoyed working with the officers and board so much, that I decided to run for Vice Chair. I’m ecstatic to be serving alongside a NAPA gladiator, like Hannah.

What are your short-term/long-term goals in fulfilling your duties?

Short-term: Address the needs of the NAPA fraternal community with our undergraduate membership; liaise and create stronger bonds with our affiliate organization’s leaders

Long-term: Create a sustainable financial model for NAPA; launch and sustain an annual undergraduate summit exclusively for our members; conduct and house original research on the Asian American greek letter fraternal experience

Looking forward, what are you the most excited about?

NAPA is a collective of alumni that are dedicated to creating and sharing knowledge around how to give our members the best experience not only in their undergraduate years, but as alumni as well. I am excited to share this vision with others and work with our partners to ensure it is being fulfilled.

What challenges do you foresee? How will you overcome them?

NAPA has historically and still currently has little to no voice in the larger fraternal community. Compared to the larger national trade associations and councils, our membership is much, much smaller. We tend to get marginalized in national conversations regarding the fraternal experience. I will continue to create strategic and personal relationships with stakeholders to ensure NAPA gets a seat at the table. With Hannah being so well connected in the community, I can foresee her relations helping NAPA be recognized and invited to these conversations.

What are the current hot topics for the APIA Greek community today?

Mental health, risk management, sexual assault, and hazing prevention.

Why is it important for NAPA’s members to be aware and educated about these issues?

Too regularly, our members’ national leaders are busy working to make sure their organizations are operating efficiently and effectively, that the issues and membership experience may be forgotten. Mental health in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, for example,  is a national agenda and topical focus for the White House Initiatives on AAPIs as well. These topics need to be at the forefront of our membership; they need to be discussed and our members need to take proactive steps to ensure their members are getting the right resources and care.

On Hannah, have you worked/met with her previously? If you replied yes, what characteristics does she possess that fit being a dedicated leader?

Hannah has been my colleague on the NAPA board this past year, as she served as the Director of Interfraternal Relations. The amount of drive and institutional knowledge Hannah has is incredible. She has served and knows so much about our community that she is an outstanding asset and leader for NAPA. Her drive, relational charisma, and strategic thinking give her a unique perspective to lead NAPA to greater heights.

 


Teri Chung

Teri Chung, Secretary

What was your objective in pursuit of becoming a member of the NAPA executive board?

I have been very involved with my sorority, Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority Inc. and I had previous work with NAPA through the Youth Vote Campaign back in 2012. And so, even after graduation I wanted to stay involved within both my sorority and the Asian American Greek Life community as a whole. And so, becoming a part of the NAPA executive board fit that desire to learn more about this community as well as contributing and working with other dedicated and motivated NAPA leaders.

What are your short-term/long-term goals in fulfilling your duties?

Short-Term: Develop undergraduate communication in order to address their needs as well as generating interest for an undergraduate summit.

Long-Term: Further develop the NAPA brand grow through effective programming and communication plans.

Looking forward, what are you the most excited about?

I’m very excited to meet so many different people involved in the NAPA community as well as working with them towards bettering the Asian American Greek community.

What challenges do you foresee? How will you overcome them?

A potential issue I foresee is trying to be as effective and efficient with everything that we do within a year. As a board, we have been on the same page and we have constantly been very strategic on how and when to do programming, communications, etc. and so we will utilize the term to the fullest.

What are the current hot topics for the APIA Greek community today?

Sexual assault, hazing prevention, civic engagement, race relations

Why is it important for NAPA’s members to be aware and educated about these issues?

These are a number of issues that NAPA leaders and our undergraduate members face frequently. It is important to not only be aware of these issues, but also to be knowledgeable on how to prevent them and how to address them as individuals and as a community.

On Hannah, have you worked/met with her previously? If you replied yes, what characteristics does she possess that fit being a dedicated leader?

I met Hannah a few years ago when I was in college. I was the University of Connecticut Intercultural Greek Council President and I attended the NGLA conference, where I met Hannah when we were looking for other NAPA members attending the conference. I did not know her before that, but I learned how involved she was with NGLA and I thought she was very dedicated and committed to the greek community. Getting to know her now, she is very approachable and optimistic, which are all qualities that come together to make a strong and dedicated leader.

 


For more information, visit NAPA’s website at www.napa-online.orgTo apply for a position with NAPA, email a letter of intent along with a copy of your resume to interfraternal.relations@napa-online.org.

If interested in becoming NAPA’s project lead for international partnerships, contact Seoh directly at hannahseoh@gmail.com.

 


Featured Image: National APIA Panhellenic Association 

Article Images: Special to The Jade Times