Students who were former members of a disbanded fraternity started a new organization for Asian men, seeking to start a new fraternity in the ashes of the disgraced Pi Alpha Phi.
Much like the Japanese art of Kintsugi, the members focused on not discarding the pieces of the organization but putting them carefully back into place, creating something entirely new in the process.
The approximately 10 founding members of Kintsugi, all friends from the brotherhood's past, are gluing their community back together, hoping to soon step out as one of the Multicultural Greek Council's new fraternities.
"This is our opportunity to start fresh and build something that we are proud of," Quinn Fukawa, a junior studying business and data analytics, said. "An organization that is meaningful to us."
The former fraternity, Pi Alpha Phi, was nationally disbanded on August 1, 2023, and removed from the National APIDA Panhellenic Association in Oct. 2023 following “the fraternity’s dissolution of all of its undergraduate chapters,” according to a press release.
There was a chapter formerly at Arizona State University, but it disbanded on the same day as the national dissolution.
In Nov. 2021, a Pi Alpha Phi chapter at Michigan State University was disbanded for a minimum of 10 years following the hazing death of a potential member. As of June 2023, the family of the victim was suing members of that chapter of the fraternity for negligence in Michigan’s wrongful death law.
However, Fukawa said the new organization is moving away from that legacy.
"We were apart of Pi Alpha Phi before, but the fraternity was shut down, nationally disbanded," Fukawa said "We are working hard to move away from it, distance ourselves and start fresh."
For now, Kintsugi, which was founded only at the beginning of the fall semester, remains a registered student interest group focused on Asian awareness.
Fukawa recalled a conversation with friends about the University’s lack of Asian representation that inspired the group's creation.
He was not the only one who noticed.
Leon Wu, a junior studying supply chain management and data analytics and president of Kintsugi, remembered not having people that "he connected with on campus" his freshman year.
"I came from Chicago, which has a concentrated Asian community," Wu said. "But then I found a few guys handing our flyers and information about clubs, and it took off from there."
Wu eventually found brotherhood at ASU, and said he doesn’t want other students to feel isolated like he did.
"I wanted to continue that culture and those connections," he said. "That way, there’s nobody who feels like they don’t have close friends or that they aren’t a part of a community."
According to Data USA, approximately 8% of the student population at ASU is of Asian descent.
"The Asian American minority group is very underpowered and underrepresented here," Antonio Nguyen, a junior studying finance, said. "So, our goal is to create a community, promote Asian American awareness in our community, and act as a pillar of support."
The organization functions with a focus on its self-proclaimed three major pillars: brotherhood, philanthropy and awareness.
"We are building a close-knit community of people who care about each other and care about the culture," Fukawa said. "We are building relationships that are going to be there in the long term."
He said that they are a "big philanthropic organization" driven by opportunities to give back to their community and work with other diverse organizations at ASU.
According to Fukawa, the group often collaborates with other interest groups and Greek life organizations when doing philanthropy in order to expand their network and social connections.
Kintsugi does not exclude any organization or new member from its mission, and anyone is welcome to join their cause.
"It’s great to get Asian people included with other Asians they might not know or seek out, as well as other races and ethnic groups on campus," Wu said.
All three agreed that at the heart of Kintsugi is acceptance and awareness.
"We want to give a sense of brotherhood, a sense of belonging, because our organization is closer knit than most," he said. "You should join us if you want to build a strong foundation and really impact the community."
Edited by Katrina Michalak, Sadie Buggle and Caera Learmonth.
Correction: Top editors added context about the Pi Alpha Phi fraternity that was not included in the original version of this story. The new version of the story was updated at 7:00pm on Feb. 1, 2024.