Is it really possible to be a part of a group that helps with The Blood Battle between Michigan and Ohio State, Knitwits, the Ronald McDonald House, SWAT, Relay for Life, the K-grams Kids Fair and additional causes in the Ann Arbor community? Alpha Phi Omega, the University’s service co-ed fraternity manages to help out at all of these important events, and others year round with its 100 plus member group.
Founded in 1925, Ann Arbor’s Gamma Pi chapter has become involved in a number of worthy causes and aims to help the community, bring together students from all backgrounds and promotes the importance of aiding those in need.
Members of APO put a lot of time and hard work into serving the community as well as take a lot out of their experiences.
“It’s always amazing to see everyone working together and to see the Ann Arbor community donating to save lives. But whether it is preparing dinner for the families of the Ronald McDonald House, or knitting mittens for those in need at Knitwits, or serving meals at SWAT, all the projects we do end up being extremely valuable experiences for our members,” said APO President and LSA senior, Aurelie Martins.
In the works for upcoming projects include a team that was recently put together for Relay for Life, which will raise money for The American Cancer Society. Additionally, many members volunteer or take part in Dance Marathon and the K-grams Kids Fair each year.
“Being a member is so great because it gives you the opportunity to get involved in so many different areas that you might have never thought you’d be interested in,” said LSA sophomore Allie Freshman.
When the members of APO are not out helping their community, they take advantage of how the fraternity has brought together new friends, all working towards a common goal of helping those in need.
When members aren’t out raising money or donating blood, they can be found hosting parties, participating in intramural sports and a number of other activities bringing members closer together.
“Being a member of APO has a huge impact on a student’s life. Not only does it
enable you to become a life member, but all of our members are able to meet so
many new people at the University” Martins said.
As APO is not part of the Greek System at the University, becoming a member is different than rushing a house in the Panhellenic or interfraternal system. To become a member there are a number of “rush” events such as service projects, happy hours and fellowship events such as Rock ‘n’ Bowl. The fraternity sees this as a way for members to test the waters and to get to know each other. Everyone interested in joining is welcome, and specific bids are not given out.
The rush process helps members to learn a lot about what the will become a part of as a full member. “I’ve met a lot of new people, and the community service work I do with APO is something I look forward to, not only because of the opportunity to help others, but also the fun that comes when working with friends,” said member LSA sophomore Maureen Degnan.
After going through rush, the first semester in the program is as a pledge, where members learn about the organization, participate in rituals, work with an older member of the chapter and attend meetings with the active members.
Membership requirements include completion of 20 hours of service, attending meetings and serving on a committee. While there is no house for the fraternity, the activities and service programs keep members together and provide great bonding experiences.
“There are so many wonderful organizations on campus that I think everyone should take the time during their years at U of M to become part of a group that will enable them to learn more while working within their community,” said Martins. For students looking to broaden their horizons while at school and work toward a greater cause in the community, joining Alpha Phi Omega is the first step to take.
For more information visit the Alpha Phi Omega website at www.umich.edu/~gammapi.