Campus Celebrity: Tony Ho Tran
Finding your niche in college is not always easy. Once you do find somewhere you know you fit it, though, it can be one of the best decisions and feelings out there. This is what happened to Tony Ho Tran, who found his passion in Pi Alpha Phi, an Asian interest fraternity of which he is a founding father at the University of Iowa.
Tony, a third year English and Creative Writing major from Sioux City, IA, had dreamed at the young age of twelve of joining a fraternity after first seeing Animal House. “I really wanted the crazy toga parties and wild nights with John Belushi,” Tony admits. However, upon initially arriving at Iowa, Tony’s interest in fraternity life had fizzled out, and instead, he found himself joining other organizations, such as the Vietnamese Student Association and the Hawkeye Marching Band, where you can find him proudly playing the trumpet in Kinnick and Carver.
Some friends in the Vietnamese Student Association told Tony of their plans to start a chapter of Pi Alpha Phi at Iowa, and not thinking much of it, Tony began to attend meetings. “I figured, "Hey, I'll show up to a few meetings and boom I'll become a founding father of a frat. Why not?” Tony describes. He was reluctant at first, but once Tony noticed how interested everyone around him was, he began to really care about the fraternity. Upon becoming an official brother, Tony reflects, “I realized that I was really apart of something great; something new on campus that could help spread the same ideals I had throughout the campus”.
The fraternity started out small, but with time, the group kept growing and growing, and now, Pi Alpha Phi is on their way to reaching their goal of becoming an official chapter within the year.
Like many other fraternities, Pi Alpha Phi does some awesome philanthropic work. Whether it’s insulating local homes with Habitat for Humanity or planning fundraisers for the Jade Ribbon Campaign, which spreads awareness about Hepatitis B and liver cancer amongst Asian people, the men of Pi Alpha Phi are always busy.
What’s Tony’s favorite part about Pi Alpha Phi? “My brothers,” he says, “They're kind, gentle, smart, and the coolest men I've had the pleasure of interacting with and I can honestly say that they have had a profound effect on who I am now”.'
So, besides being an Asian interest fraternity, what differs Pi Alpha Phi from other fraternities on campus? According to Tony, “We’re the best. No question."