The YUAIs: more than you’d expect

Emily Passey

Looking for a cause to contribute to in order to make your life complete? The YUAIs want to help you, by suggesting you give a few dollars to their charity of choice: Helping to purchase a llama for an underprivileged farmer. If this sounds like the kind of undertakings you enjoy, then the YUAIs are the group for you!
According to Minister of the Internal Dave Stultz, “Many moons ago,” in the ’80s that is, the organization was a nationally recognized chapter of Phi Gamma Deltas. As the world changed politically, however, the frat remained the same and refused to admit minorities to their brotherhood. Lawrence’s chapter, ever-representing a community of liberal thinkers, refused to comply with these standards. The people involved in the frat decided that, again according to Stultz, “not being a backwards racist halfwit was more important than being a fraternity.”
They evolved into the YUAIs, a name representing the transliteration of two Japanese characters meaning “friendship” and “community,” two things that they take to be the basis of their organization. The organization is devoted to promoting acceptance, diversity, and tolerance and a place to be for those who are exceptionally free-spirited and don’t feel like they fit anywhere else in the Lawrence community.
Maureen Schneck, minister of the external, says that, “It’s hard to describe who’s a YUAI.” The members agreed that it’s someone who upholds all the ideas they represent and is laid-back and can take a joke. The description gives the impression that, though the YUAIs are seriously committed to diversity and tolerance, they are not activists or extremists, and actually enjoy what they do.
What DO they do, besides buying well-deserved llamas to boost some unknown farmer’s income? They host many activities, such as movies and dances promoting intergroup diversity, and are always involved in events little and big. In the past, the group has hosted a religious mixer, a political mixer – inviting the College Republicans and the Democrats over to have a nice little cheese platter – and a homosexuality summit. Like most fraternities, the ex-frat does some philanthropy, contributing to charities such groups as the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom and Planned Parenthood. And, seriously, they wish to contribute to the purchasing of a llama for a poor farmer. But, like I said, they take a light note on everything, and as Schneck says, “We just like llamas.”
In ’05-’06 the YUAIs will continue living in their house, next year being their third in a row. The house is something that’s been on and off since they stopped being a fraternity, but it is something they enjoy. Currently eight members live there, and they encourage people to stop and say hi when in the neighborhood! Those interested in joining the group are also welcome to come to meetings, Tuesdays at 9:45 in Riverview, to mingle and meet the 17 or so members. They do have the equivalent to a “rush” as other frats do, but most members join by word of mouth.
Currently the YUAIs are discussing their upcoming events, including a formal and an unofficial secret zoological event, the details of which will be disclosed later in the term. The formal, called a Ball Bazaar, generally revolves around the theme of “drag” and will take place April 30 at 10 p.m. Possibly the coolest achievement of any LU group: the YUAIs organize Skappleton, the largest ska-fest in the Midwest, which will take place this year on the May 14. It is the ninth or tenth year of this annual festival, and all the members seemed really excited. The whole Lawrence community should be too!