Photo Set

Every year, our brothers volunteer at the annual From Hiroshima To Hope community event to commemorate victims of violence and war.

Chat Transcript

Alumni Spotlight: Q & A with Joel Acuario!

  • Q: Name?
  • A: Joel Acuario
  • Q: Crossing date?
  • A: February 14, 1999
  • Q: Pledge class, pledge brothers?
  • A: Charter Class (12 total); Arnold Wong, Stewart Tong, Patrick Patulot, Steve Lieu, Travis Kubota, Stephen Geonanga, Jerry Tsai, Brad Watanabe, Hyun Chung, Kyu Lee, Billy Chow, and myself.
  • Q: School?
  • A: University of Washington
  • Q: Year graduated?
  • A: 2004
  • Q: Major(s) and or minor(s)?
  • A: Double Major in Political Science and Sociology; Minor in Law, Society, & Justice
  • Q: Other degrees?
  • A: Juris Doctor from Lewis & Clark Law School (Portland, Oregon)
  • Q: What are you up to these days?
  • A: I live in Los Angeles. I’m an attorney at Baker & Camiling and practice primarily as litigator. I volunteer as a pro bono attorney at the Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law. I recently served on the Board of Asian Professional Exchange (APEX). Also a full-time sports fan of anything related to Seattle sports!
  • Q: Achievements in life?
  • A: I’ve never watched an episode of TMZ! “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” — Eleanor Roosevelt.
  • Q: Do you have any advice for college students?
  • A: Focus on the journey. Be inspired by the destination.
  • Q: If you could go back to college, what would you do differently?
  • A: Study abroad. It’s a great opportunity to travel and spend extended time outside U.S. It’s more difficult to do so once you start working.
  • Q: What's one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you were 18?
  • A: It’s possible I could’ve dunked a basketball! I had a 37 inch vertical leap doing nothing special. Nowadays, there’s so many exercises to increase your vertical leap, I wish I knew these back then. Lesson: take advantage of your peak physical maleness when you’re young! Haha.
  • Q: Do you have any advice for graduates/alumni?
  • A: Don’t stop giving back to the Asian-American community. It shouldn’t end just because you graduated college.
  • Q: What were your best memories of college?
  • A: Founding the 1st Asian-American interest fraternity on campus and experiencing this journey with my bros.
  • Q: What issues affect Asian Americans now?
  • A: Often times, we’re an after-thought in America. We need stronger representation especially in the arts and politics.
  • Q: Are there issues, struggles, challenges you are dealing with personally?
  • A: Strive to represent Asian-Americans well in the legal community.
  • Q: Do you know of any bros doing anything exciting?
  • A: Manoj Gopinath, Beta Class University of Washington, [doing it big in the] music/entertainment industry.
  • Q: Where would you like to see Lambda at UW go?
  • A: I’d like to see my own chapter, University of Washington, get a permanent house on campus.
  • Q: Where would you like to see Lambda National go?
  • A: Expansion to state of Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • Q: Which brother would you like to learn about?
  • A: Any brothers involved in politics.
  • Q: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
  • A: Courtside seats at the home opener of Seattle SuperSonics as we welcome back NBA to Seattle!
  • Q: Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
  • A: Have my own legal practice or in-house counsel for ESPN or a Seattle sports team.
  • Q: What are some things you hope to achieve in your lifetime?
  • A: Be highly involved in public office, either locally or nationally.
  • Q: Are there any final thoughts you want to share with the rest of the guys?
  • A: L…Phi…E…! You know!
  • Q: Can brothers contact you regarding your replies?
  • A: Yes.
  • Q: Tell us more about your experience as a UW Founder, how it started, and the hurdles if any.
  • A: Yes, I was a founder. UW didn’t have an Asian-American interest fraternity and we were the first. I’m so proud of the sacrifice and commitment we all did to make this happen. It serves as an inspiration to this day.
  • Q: You’re in LA now. How do you like it and any plans on moving back up?
  • A: I love it in LA! I moved here right out of law school because I thought LA would be the best city to experience life as a single young professional. You have beaches to the West, OC-San Diego to the South, San Francisco to the North, and Vegas a road trip away. I don’t have immediate plans to move back home but the pull to settle down and raise kids in a familiar setting may be too strong one day.
  • Q: What’s up with Seattle this year? Music and sports are dominating. Any other things we should expect from Seattle?
  • A: The NBA will be back! It took many years, but Seattle finally has plans to build a new sports arena if an NBA team returns to Seattle. Don’t be surprised if the Seattle SuperSonics returns to Seattle within the next 5 years!
  • Q: Do you keep in touch with your chapter’s alumni and how?
  • A: Of course! I’m lucky to have about a dozen UW alumni living in the LA area. We hang out all the time. I still keep in touch with the bros in Seattle. Some of my closest friends are UW Lambdas, including my pledge brother, Billy Chow, whom I was best man for at his wedding.
  • Q: Do you keep in touch with the undergrad actives? How are things with them?
  • A: The undergrad actives, particularly the ones in my family line, do a great job of reaching out to me and giving me updates.
Image
#TBT #LPhiE brotherhood event at #BiteOfSeattle back in the summer of 2012!

#TBT #LPhiE brotherhood event at #BiteOfSeattle back in the summer of 2012!

Image
Congratulations to Mr. Ren-Kai “Andrew” Yeh for being chosen by our chapter as Brother of the Month for June 2014! Hear what Lambdas are saying about Andrew:
"Andrew’s personal ambitions consistently inspire us to work harder towards our own lifelong goals. His ability to juggle a steadfast commitment to our fraternity, in addition to overseeing several startup ventures singlehandedly, demonstrates the type of resilience we seek among the rest of our brothers."
"I admire Andrew’s involvement with groups outside our fraternity. On top of serving as pledge captain among his Lambda pledge brothers, he was also president of his Alpha Kappa Psi pledge class and is the upcoming Google Student Ambassador for the University of Washington. Watch out, world. This promising entrepreneur is going places!"
"Andrew transforms every failure and setback he encounters into a learning opportunity. There’s no way you can bring down his indomitable spirit. Plus, he’s always willing to make time for bros over a round of bubble tea."

Congratulations to Mr. Ren-Kai “Andrew” Yeh for being chosen by our chapter as Brother of the Month for June 2014! Hear what Lambdas are saying about Andrew:

"Andrew’s personal ambitions consistently inspire us to work harder towards our own lifelong goals. His ability to juggle a steadfast commitment to our fraternity, in addition to overseeing several startup ventures singlehandedly, demonstrates the type of resilience we seek among the rest of our brothers."

"I admire Andrew’s involvement with groups outside our fraternity. On top of serving as pledge captain among his Lambda pledge brothers, he was also president of his Alpha Kappa Psi pledge class and is the upcoming Google Student Ambassador for the University of Washington. Watch out, world. This promising entrepreneur is going places!"

"Andrew transforms every failure and setback he encounters into a learning opportunity. There’s no way you can bring down his indomitable spirit. Plus, he’s always willing to make time for bros over a round of bubble tea."

Photo Set

Congratulations to our Charter, Mr. Patrick Patulot, on his recent wedding! We wish you a lifetime of love and happiness. 

Photo Set

Lambdas hitting up the EDM scene this summer. #EDC #Paradiso2014

Image
Just another summer night in Seattle. #bonfire #beach #brotherhood

#LPhiE

Just another summer night in Seattle. #bonfire #beach #brotherhood

#LPhiE

Photo Set

(This personal submission is a part of the “No Longer Invisible: In Their Own Words” project, a story series established to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at the UW.)

###

My name is Ren-Kai Andrew Yeh and I identify as a Taiwanese American. I am currently in my third year at the University of Washington and majoring in Communications. Aside from my major, I was also admitted into UW’s inaugural cohort for the Entrepreneurship minor.

Throughout my time in college, I have had the opportunity to make lasting memories and build lifelong friendships. These experiences have made me a better person and I attribute that entirely to Lambda Phi Epsilon, an Asian-American fraternity that I joined in my freshman year. When I first came to UW from California, I was still unsure about how I wanted to spend my college years. I was essentially leaving all of my friends behind and starting a new life in a new city and state. Joining Lambda Phi Epsilon allowed me to not only build a community with students that I identified with, but also find a group of driven individuals whom I shared similar passions. By networking through Lambda Phi Epsilon, I was able to intern with the Associated Students of the University of Washington as the Assistant Director of the Asian Student Commission, the umbrella organization of all Asian interest organizations on campus.

Because my parents emigrated from Taiwan over 20 years ago, I would consider them more Americanized than most traditional Taiwanese parents. However, there still remain cultural values that my family finds important—the first of which is the family aspect. When I was growing up, family was considered the most important priority. If there was a family outing or event, I was not allowed to hang out with my friends. My parents wanted to reinforce the idea that even in hard times, our family would always stick together. The second aspect was respect. When I was younger, I was taught to always treat my elders with respect and greet them with a bow. Because wisdom was regarded as the most important thing a person could obtain, an individual’s age usually correlated with the level of respect. Lastly, language and identity were very important to my parents. When speaking to them, they would refuse to respond unless I spoke to them in Mandarin or Taiwanese. They wanted to make sure that even though I grew up in an American culture, I would still remember my Taiwanese heritage.

Every year, I try to visit my grandparents in Taiwan. During these visits, I would always go to the night market around my residence. These night markets would always be full of energy and have the best tasting foods. My favorite Taiwanese dish would definitely be stinky tofu because it has such a strong flavor. Essentially, the stronger the smell, the better it tastes! Aside from food, I have always enjoyed the New Year celebrations. When the clock strikes 12 on January 1st, fireworks erupt from the Taipei 101 Mall and there are always people in the streets cheering. The unique thing about the Taiwanese calendar is that it started in 1912 when the Republic of China was officially founded. This means that the country of Taiwan is only 103 years old!

Retaining my own cultural identity occasionally gets pretty difficult. Whenever I tell people that I am Taiwanese, their follow up question is usually, “So you’re like, Chinese, right?” To be honest, this question used to bother me to no end. When I was growing up, my parents always told me that I was Taiwanese and to stay proud of my heritage. As a result, my usual response is to disagree and explain how Taiwan is a separate country from China. However, when a lot of people equate Taiwan with China, it gets tiring trying to explain how they are different. My advice when faced with this question would be to think about the ethnic group that fits your identify. It is important to never stop being proud of where your family originates and to your own self-identity.

It is important for the AAPI community to be visible because of how rapidly our community is growing. A few decades ago, the voices of the AAPI community were easily drowned out and it was difficult to be heard by the public. However, today’s society is completely different. Organizations such as Lambda Phi Epsilon and the Asian Student Commission have united the AAPI community both internationally and locally and allowed us to collectively promote our opinions and create change. Thus, one of the major issues that I think the AAPI community needs to be aware about is political activism. Even though our community has strong opinions about many issues, a large number of people choose not to vote or are not aware about how to register. This creates a problem because voting is the ultimate deciding factor. My vision for the AAPI community is for us to be more involved in politics. Whether it’s simply just voting or even running for public office, I believe that the AAPI community has the potential to become a powerful force in America.

Image
#LPhiE volunteering at #WalkForRice to fight hunger. Every grain counts for the ACRS Food Bank!

#LPhiE volunteering at #WalkForRice to fight hunger. Every grain counts for the ACRS Food Bank!