By Stephenie “Remedi” Lai, Staff Writer

The annual Southeast APIA Unity Mixer was brought back to its home in Athens, Ga. this year.

The Unity Mixer is a regional conference held for Southeast Asian Greek-letter organizations. Melissa Montenegro, Sister Faith of Alpha Chapter, and Akash Kuruvilla, a brother of the Nu Chapter of Sigma Beta Rho, founded Unity Mixer in 2005 at the University of Georgia.

The conference consists of a seminar, an interactive outdoor activity, a stroll competition and concludes with a banquet. Each year, Unity Mixer is moved to another school in the Southeast. In the past it has been held at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla., Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Ga., and Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla.

This year, Unity Mixer was brought back to its home at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. After so many years, the original purpose of the mixer has been somewhat modified and may be lost by some. The co-founders created Unity Mixer with the purpose of creating networks between Southeast APIA Greeks to collaborate in the future and to gather as a community to discuss APIA issues and Greek life.

The theme of the 2011 Southeast APIA Unity Mixer was, “Back to the Basics.” This theme fit the focus of the conference very well this year. As stated earlier, the 2011 Unity Mixer Executive Board wanted to redeem the conference to its true purpose as a networking event to bring Southeast APIA Greeks together as a community.

The conference this year featured Miguel Hernandez, the director of the University of Georgia’s Multicultural Services and Programs and, also, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. His interactive workshop concentrated on the power that Southeast APIA Greeks could have by working together instead of competing against each other. Each organization has different, unique values and members.

Bringing together these diverse groups could help impact the APIA community in a positive way with great force and strength in numbers. After all, that is the whole point of unity. The seminar utilized different activities to split up the group to mingle with other people who are not in the same organization or school. It gave people an easier opportunity to meet each other and facilitated meaningful conversations between them.

Over the years, the focus of the conference shifted more towards the stroll competition rather than building relations with other organizations. Bringing Unity Mixer back to its home helped bring it back to its original purpose as well.

It is hoped that with the true purpose of the co-founders in mind, Unity Mixer will only grow to be bigger and better in the years to come. It has been recently announced that the 2012 Southeast APIA Unity Mixer will be held at the University of Florida. For those interested in keeping the mixer alive and well, look out for executive board applications in the fall.

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