After working for more than three years to get a bid to charter a chapter on campus, Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. is now officially the first Asian-interest sorority at Elon University. The organization was formerly the interest group known as EMPRESS— Elon Maintaining Pan-Asian Respect, Equity and Social Service. 

A charter presentation was held in LaRose Theatre on Dec. 1, with students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina at Greensboro in attendance. Students from the Elon chapters of Chi Upsilon Sigma, Lambda Upsilon Lambda, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. were also there in support, as well as executive members of the Panhellenic Association and fraternity and sorority faculty and staff.

The chapter founded Kappa Phi Lambda on Nov. 12. Members have spent the weeks since then working on their charter presentation, complete with strolling, greeting the fraternities and sororities in attendance and thanking those who helped them get to this point.

Elon senior Jennifer Tran is a member of the charter class and described the presentation as “surreal” and one of the best moments.

“It definitely feels very surreal,” Tran said. “We put a lot of hard work into what we've been working for these past three years, especially with COVID and everything. It's an unreal feeling that I've had nine people on my side and a lot of mentors and a lot of friends have supported me through the way.”

Program educators came from North Carolina State University. Two of the educators who helped EMPRESS become an official chapter of Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. at Elon. Jenny Vo and Jessica Tran are both graduates of North Carolina State University and applied to be in positions that would provide support for Elon’s charter class. 

“A lot of sisters put faith in us to guide them into this sisterhood,” Tran said. 

Assistant Director of Student Involvement for Fraternities and Sororities Alexis Swider works closely with the leadership staff of the organization. She said she’s excited to see the hard work pay off as it became a formal chapter on Elon’s campus.

“As we are developing more multicultural organizations, we are wanting to make sure that their voices are still heard, and they are still supported while we are developing what a fourth council would look like,” Swider said.

Swider said Elon’s chapter of Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. is going to be the very first line of this organization, which means that from now on, the organization will operate just like all other chapters within the Elon fraternity and sorority community. It is seen as a full, active charter in the national headquarters’ eyes, which means that it is a part of the national and local community in full.

Elon junior Sonali Schroder is a member of the charter class and joined when it was formerly the interest group EMPRESS during her first semester at Elon in fall 2020. She said she’s extremely happy, and she’s been waiting for charter day for over two years.

“We've been working on this for so long, and it feels incredible to finally be here and be able to talk about it and that it's fully real,” Schroder said. “I'm just so grateful for all the people who came out to support us and all of the kindness that we've received over the past few weeks and excited to be paving the way for multicultural and Asian life and starting a new path with Asian interest and Greek life at Elon.”

Schroder said now that the organization can act as a sorority, it will be hosting events, fundraisers and participating in service in the community. It will begin recruiting in the fall of 2023.