The diversity and human collage of New York served as the backdrop for much of Jack Mok’s (Vanderbilt, ’22) childhood and high school career. But when he moved to Nashville and Vanderbilt University, Mok was unsure of how he could remain true to his identity.
As a prestigious Chancellor’s Scholarship recipient, Mok looked forward to doing big things on his campus but knew there was room to grow.
“Even though I was high school president, I never felt I demonstrated any exceptional leadership or social justice or diversity building,” said Mok. “It’s not until recently that I’ve started to live up to that scholarship.”
Through his first year at Vanderbilt, Mok focused on growing his identity as a member of the Asian American community through the Asian American Student Association (AASA). Mok began to find his niche and meet other students who shared similar experiences, including several juniors who happened to also be members of Lambda Chi. Mok was intrigued, but he was not initially sold on the Greek Life aspect.
The Brothers told him that this could be a great opportunity for him to find the brotherhood spaces he was sorely missing from high school, such as being part of a sports team or growing up in the Scouts.
Mok finally decided to give Greek Life, and more specifically Lambda Chi, a chance during his sophomore year.
Now as a junior, Mok has witnessed the demographics of the chapter slowly changing but has also seen his chance to start to make a difference in his chapter.
In his current role as High Kappa, Mok is starting to create spaces for Brothers to have the tough conversations and what it means to share space with so many other organizations on a campus.
But now as the president of the AASA, Mok has a difficult path to navigate: How to be true to his cultural identity and an advocate for social change while also being part of Greek Life.
“The conflict I have is I’m the leader of a major cultural organization, and a lot of students in that organization feel uncomfortable with Greek Life to be honest,” said Mok.
So as a member of both sectors, Mok is figuring it out every day.
“We’re in a transitory period where tensions are high, political dialogue is low, and my thought is, ‘What am I supposed to do here?’,” said Mok.
There is a constant fear of not doing enough for Mok, but he is starting to find the sweet spot where he can use his voice and be that agent of change within Greek Life and beyond.
That all starts with his continued membership in Lambda Chi. It might sound simple, but as Mok sees it, with his continued involvement at an officer level, he can continue to push the envelope and help his Brothers be in that uncomfortable space where real change happens.
“I am a person of color, I am in this Fraternity, and I am still doing good to the best of my ability,” said Mok. “I do my best to be a good Asian Brother of Lambda Chi Alpha; that sounds really simple, but I feel like it’s important and showing that as a minority, you too can be part of Greek Life.”
Another major part of Mok’s continued plan is to construct an education plan where members of Lambda Chi are truly listening and seeing what other organizations are saying. In Mok’s view, Greek Life has the opportunity to do something big on campuses across the country if they are just willing to open the door to different views.
“I do believe in Greek Life as a vehicle for big changes,” said Mok. “I feel like fraternities and sororities on campus, if they put their minds to it, could actually help people of color on campus and…work with us…and overcome these tribal differences to help make a Vanderbilt experience that is better for everyone.”
Even though Mok has been challenged during his time at Vanderbilt, he is thankful for the platform he has been given to help push the school forward into a space of understanding and respect.