Street: What made you join Sigma Psi Zeta?

Victoria Chen: I actually came for the food, just because they’re known for the food. There’s an entire week of open rush. I went to the rush events, and I really enjoyed the people that I met there. 

Street: What do you think Multicultural Greek Life or an Asian–interest sorority offers that a Panhellenic sorority or IFC doesn’t?

VC: I don’t want to say anything bad about Panhel or IFC. Sigma is really small. It’s around 50 people total. It offers a lot of close–knit connections. You can really get to know the entire sorority if you want to. 

Street: What is the biggest misconception that people have about Multicultural Greek Life or about Asian–interest sororities?

VC: It’s common to think that multicultural organizations are exclusive. That’s because generally we’re a lot smaller. We don’t have huge programming where we can broadcast ourselves. So it’s usually through the current networks that we have, which are all Asian, Latino or black. It’s kind of hard to branch out into what mainstream Penn is like, which is predominantly white still. So I think that a common misconception is that we’re exclusive to one ethnic background.

Street: What’s been the best part of your experience as President?

VC: We have this thing called National Convention. This past summer, it was in Boston. So there was a group of us that went to Boston, but we just weren’t feeling the conference, so we ditched the entire day and went to explore Boston Commons. We took a bunch of photos, saw a movie and celebrated someone’s 20th birthday. It was a lot of fun. But then we got in a lot of trouble for ditching. It was worth it, though.

Street: Do you have any regrets about your time as president?

VC: No. I’m not one to have regrets. But it was a lot more than I expected. It’s an entire year from January through December. I think during junior spring, I was still busy applying to dental school. I had to make sure my GPA was decent enough. There were a lot of things on my plate, and I wasn’t able to give myself completely to the positions that I was involved in at that point in time. So I felt like I wasn’t a good enough president.

Street: You’re the co–founder of Penn Queer & Asian. How did that come about?

VC: Every year, Penn sends a bunch of people to a conference called IVQ. It’s like a queer Ivy League Conference. It sounds really elitist. I went my sophomore spring and while we were there, I was hanging out with some other queer Asians who I didn’t really know at the time. We were like, 'Okay. The Ivy League is statistically at least 20% Asian, but it's probably 5% Asian at this conference right now. WTF? Statistically speaking, there should be more Asians.' ... 'Do we know queer Asian friends who are going through a hard time?' The answer was yes...So we were like, 'Damn it. We’ll just create a group.'

Street: Do you think there’s a unique experience being queer and Asian?

VC: I think with any intersectional identity, there’s a very unique experience. With Asians, a lot has to do with duty or filial piety essentially. I think it’s really hard for queer Asians to come out to their families in particular. I think from our entire club, which has over 80 people, I know only a handful that are out to everyone. It’s really sad. There’s a common theme where people want to have financial independence before they come out because they’re afraid they’re going to get cut off.

Street: But it’s okay that this will be published online? There won’t be any angry phone calls from relatives?

VC: There might be actually. But it’s okay because one of my resolutions this year was to come out to my parents.

Street: Wow.

VC: Yeah, bomb. Kind of scary.

Street: Do people feel a safe space at Penn Queer & Asian (Q&A)?

VC: I think so. Q&A offers a lot of events that are similar to those of different Penn organizations, like a big–little program. We offer social events and mixers. We used to do gay clubbing downtown because a lot of our members haven’t explored the social scene yet.

Street: You’re in four senior societies. Does that make you four times as elite as someone who’s only in one senior society?

VC: No, not at all! It probably was a mistake to actually join four. I didn’t realize I would get into all four. 

Street: What would be your dream job?

VC: I’m going to dental school. This is hard because I still haven’t formulated my dream job yet. I’m not sure if I want to specialize. Maybe an oral surgeon. But ideally, I would also want to be the president of the American Dental Association (ADA), which is the national overseer organization that unites dentists.

Street: What are some of your favorite spots outside of Penn’s campus?

VC: This sounds kind of basic, but I like Joe’s Café right by Rittenhouse. It has a great view, is nice and warm and has free wifi. I like going there sometimes to work. I also like Vic Sushi. It's so good. And it’s not because of its name.

Street: First AIM screen name?

VC: vickyswimmergirl

Street: Describe yourself in three words:

VC: Neurotic, approachable, pseudo–basique

Street: What is your spirit animal?

VC: Honestly, it would probably be a house cat. Kind of boring, but it has a really long life expectancy compared to wild animals.

Street: What advice would you give to your freshman–year self?

VC: Don’t tie yourself down with anything, like with commitments to certain organizations or people. That type of thing. It sounds like dating advice, but it’s not supposed to be!

Street: If you were going to be infamous for something what would it be?

VC: At one point in my life, aka just a few years ago, I wanted to settle in the South or somewhere really conservative and have a liberal stronghold there regarding LGBT issues. I think if I were infamous for anything, it would be parading around my gayness and getting in trouble for it.

Street: In the South?

VC: Just anywhere that’s somewhat conservative. Somewhere in Asia where I would get arrested for being too queer. Is that a thing? (Ed. note: maybe?)

Street: There are two types of people at Penn…

VC: Those who are woke and those who are not. There are a lot of people who are just not.

Street: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

VC: I would control people’s minds. I just think that it’s the superpower with the most power because you can control large swaths of people. 

Street: Who was your first celebrity crush?

VC: Channing Tatum. Channing Tatum in...what’s the soccer one?

Street: She’s the Man!

VC: She’s the Man! He’s so hot. I still have a celebrity crush on him. If I were to be a homewrecker, it would only be for two people: Channing Tatum and Tom Brady. That being said, I don’t know how I can compare to Jenna Dewan and Gisele Bündchen. But that’s okay. 

Street: What’s one question we forgot to ask you?

VC: I thought you were going to ask a question about Lambda Alliance and APSC like, "Which one did you enjoy more, working for the LGBT community or the Asian community?" I liked Lambda Alliance just a bit more, but it had to do with personal reasons because a lot of LGBT stuff was happening at that time, like the fact that SCOTUS passed gay marriage and that type of thing. Or like, 'What are you looking forward to for senior spring?' That type of question.

Street: Well what are you looking forward to for senior spring?

VC: Turning up and being present. I think everyone always thinks, 'What’s the next step?' or 'Am I going to get this internship?' But now that everything is over, I just want to be present for everyone that’s here: all my fellow Class of 2016–ers.


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