APO returns to campus community this spring

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Members of APO, National Service Fraternity, pose for a picture infront of their banner. The fraternity will be recharted later this month. (Courtesy of Aengus Millen)

The return of Alpha Phi Omega is the product of more than a year of work. On April 24, Union will once again have a fully accredited chapter of Alpha Phi Omega.

The co-ed fraternity once had a chapter at Union, which lapsed in the 1960s.

The story of the re-chartering of the APO Eta Gamma chapter began in 2014 when Quisqueya Witbeck ’16, Raashika Goyal ’16 and Grace Miralles ’16 were working with the Girl Scouts. They were approached about bringing the Eta Gamma Chapter of APO back to Union.

Though initially reluctant they decided that since they were already involved in service and had long dreamed about creating a Greek organization, APO might be perfect for them.

However, this was only the beginning. After agreeing to start the re-chartering process, much of the next several months were occupied by a hectic exchange of emails and forms with regional staff, neighboring chapters and the National Office.

At the same time the chapter’s membership was and now includes upwards of thirty members. Though still relatively small, bonds between the members have continued to grow and all are confidant that the organization will continue to grow and be of service to the local and national community.

Alpha Phi Omega is somewhat unique since its inception in 1925, had a very specific mission. Founded by former Boy Scouts, APO’s mission was to uphold three core principles.

These are leadership, friendship and service. Both individual chapters and the National Office work to train its members in these qualities. The National Office offers seminars on leadership skills at local chapters and at the national conferences.

Chapters also frequently invite college staff to speak to the chapters’ membership.

The chapters strive to uphold its three basic tenets through several means.

Each chapter is required to participate in a certain number of events that promote fellowship and comraderie between the members, in the name of friendship.

However, the strongest tenet of APO is its devotion to service. APO was originally founded as a collegial extension of the Boy Scouts. Although, Boy Scouts membership is no longer a prerequisite, it still remains committed to service whether that is through volunteering or through fundraising for charities. Members of APO are required to fulfill a certain number of servic hours every term. The individual chapters set this number.

All members of APO at Union are required to do a minimum of seven hours of service a term however this number is regularly exceeded. In addition, each new member is asked to personally spearhead a service project in the first term of his or her membership.

Examples of service projects that new members have undertaken include organizing the MindLeaps Benefit Concert in May 2015 and volunteering with the Hillel Sandwich Brigades to make sandwiches for Bethesda House.

Founding member and President Quisqueya Witbeck says that it has been “immensely gratifying to watch the organization grow and develop, and to see new and existing members realize their own potential and that of the group through service, leadership and friendship.”

All signs point to a bright future for Union’s newest fraternity.

 

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