Why Joining Alpha Phi Omega Will Change Your Life For The Better

Why Joining Alpha Phi Omega Will Change Your Life For The Better

It didn't take long for me to realize that APO was the perfect middle-ground for me.
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I joined Alpha Phi Omega the first semester of my sophomore year on kind of a whim. Alpha Phi Omega wasn't something that was advertised much through our formal Greek life, and it was the perfect fit for me that I had never heard about. Luckily, APO was pamphleting the plaza a few weeks into my second year and I started reading more and more about it. I looked it up online, creeped on our chapter's Instagram, and planned on going to one of the casual recruitment events. It didn't take long for me to realize that APO was the perfect middle-ground for me, between not joining Greek life at all and becoming a member.

So here's why joining Alpha Phi Omega was one of my best college decisions:

1. Brothers!

And lots of them! I have to say I have never met a more inclusive group of people in my entire life, and they make you feel right at home from the first time you meet them until you are rapping the Greek alphabet together for your pledge test.


2. Time-management

APO has many requirements to fulfill throughout the semester: a certain number of service hours, leadership requirements, fellowships, and more. But I promise its all amazing! This has been my toughest academic semester yet, but I have been able to manage a great balance between work, school, and a social life.

3. Cost

APO is definitely an affordable fraternity for those who, like me, couldn't pay for a sorority or fraternity. This was especially important as expenses were one of the main reasons that led to my decision to not join formal Greek life.

4. House sorting

(Forget-Me-Nots where you at?!) Is your dream to be sorted into a house like Harry Potter? Well, APO will give you that experience. Its a unique way to symbolize Alpha Phi Omega and brings on a little friendly competition between houses.

5. Friendship

As one of our pillars, friendship is essential to APO. I have made so many friends through this fraternity, that I see on campus or hang out with, that I know I can turn to in times of need, and that will have my back when I need it most. They have supported me through so much already, I can't wait to see how much we all grow.

6. Leadership

I tend to think of myself as a quiet leader. I will refrain from stating my opinions or questioning what someone tells me to do. But APO made me want to try a leadership position and so I went for it. I was lucky enough to become our Fellowship Pledge Officer and this experience has taught me so much already! (I already feel better about speaking in front of 80 people without saying "Um" twenty times.)

7. Service

Its true that when you immerse yourself into something, you can get a whole new understanding of what that thing represents. Habitat for Humanity, Fort Collins Rescue Mission, McKinney Backpacks, and any other service event I have done has completely altered my perspective on my own community and the APO community. Service is a vital part of APO and we are able to raise thousands of dollars for our local organizations every year.

8. Non-traditional Greek Life

Alpha Phi Omega chapters don't have houses or socials. We are informal Greek life and are a dry fraternity. But I promise that you will get to know where everyone lives and have a lot of social gatherings, including some with other Greek organizations on campus.

9. But also some Greek Life traditions

APO has pledge ceremonies and initiation, as well as Littles and Bigs. We have formals every year and work with other Greek life organizations at some of our service events as well. (But if you are also interested in traditional Greek life, you are able to join a sorority or fraternity while also being part of APO!)

10. You're a lot like a boy scout

APO was founded the principles of scouting, which are derived from the Boy Scouts of America Scout Oath and Scout Law. We focus on service to the chapter, to the campus, to the community, and to the country.

11. Like sex? We got both!

Did I mention APO is a CO-ED service fraternity? Yes, that's right, different men and women come together with the same values and that makes our chapter even more diverse and strong. So don't worry when people ask you how you're in a frat if you're a girl. And its always fun to tell people your biological sister is actually your brother as well (wink wink)!

Cover Image Credit: Maddi Burns

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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Hating On Greek Life Isn't A Personality Trait, Get Over Yourself

Congratulations, you don't like Greek Life...now what?

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I was doing my usual scrolling through Twitter recently, and I found a tweet that seemed to be making fun of a set of photos. In hopes of discovering some classic Twitter humor, I decided to engage further. The tweet referenced a photo series that a group of sorority girls created, where they attempted to defy the stereotypes of sorority girls in America with statements like: "Society says sorority girls are rich and spoiled, but I pay for my dues and tuition," or "Society says sorority girls buy their friends, but you can't put a price on sisterhood." The photo series itself is sweet – it has a message of inclusivity and positivity. Yet, the responses to this photo series were anything but that.

One Twitter user responded stating that the photo series was "pathetic" because, "Some of us are actually from diverse backgrounds, immigrant families, low-income households, etc."

Another Twitter user mentioned, "I saw some s*** like this on my Facebook literally a week ago lmao why do they wanna be oppressed so bad."

It is absolutely no secret that Greek life has a bad reputation. Popular movies like "Neighbors" paint members of Greek life as shallow, rich, and incompetent for the purpose of shock value and humor. Although this image was manufactured for the purpose of entertainment, the idea has seeped into the mindset of society to ultimately promote an extreme overgeneralization of an opportunity in college that is anything but harmful.

Many of the responses to the original tweet seemed to stem from the assumption that being an intelligent and reasonable student and being a part of Greek Life are mutually exclusive. This concept is extremely hypocritical. The human identity is multifaceted and contextual. Every person engages and utilizes their intelligence in different ways depending on what the context requires, and to reason that members of Greek Life are not privy to this exact ability simply because of their affiliation is absurd.

Furthermore, users who claimed that Greek life lacks "diverse backgrounds" or "immigrant families" are only reinforcing this stereotype. Although I'd like to first state that I believe that Greek life absolutely does harness a fair amount of diversity, I think making this type of argument would be stale. Instead, I believe that restating stereotypes such as the above only isolates those from diverse backgrounds who may want to join Greek life, because they worry they will be cornered or ridiculed by their peers.

If you believe that Greek life is exclusive, my first recommendation would be for you to challenge that exclusivity by joining and breaking the barriers and proving Greek life wrong. But if we as a society continue to paint Greek life as this "whitewashed" organization and then ridicule any person of color who may be interested in joining, we are simply generating redundancy and contributing to the perceived issue.

In response to ideas of oppression, I agree with the statement that members of Greek life are by no means oppressed. There are minority groups who face genuine and violent oppression, and to use a word as strong as that to describe Greek life demeans those who endure a genuine struggle. However, I would argue that members of Greek life are unfairly stereotyped against, which is only highlighted by the backlash this photo series received. A photo series that had no purpose beyond defying stereotypes and promoting a well-rounded understanding gathered sarcastic feedback such as "sorority girls are braver than US Marines." Yet, all this negative feedback manifested in response to a photo series that had no intention of marginalizing or ridiculing those who were not a part of Greek life.

Instead, Twitter users took it upon themselves to assume the worst of Greek life.

I'm not saying that everyone needs to go rush to their nearest flower shop and send a sorority a beautiful bouquet of flowers begging for an apology. In fact, I couldn't care less if you like Greek life or not after this. What I am saying is that isolating and marginalizing members of Greek life because you believe that they unfairly prejudice those from diverse backgrounds is a problem. If you believe that joining an organization that promotes positivity, philanthropy, and mentorship isn't for you, that is absolutely ok. It isn't for everyone, and that's not a trait exclusive to membership in Greek life by any means. It is worthy to note, though, that making fun of sororities or fraternities for unreasonable assumptions you maintain makes you no better than what you perceive Greek life to be, and that is something to absolutely be mindful of.

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