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Alpha Phi Omega

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Fraternity


Alpha Phi Omega (APO, or ΑΦΩ or A-Phi-O or A-Phi-Que) is a co-ed service fraternity organized to provide community service, leadership and social opportunities to college students. The fraternity exists in the United States and the Philippines. Unlike other fraternities, APO's primary purpose is to provide volunteer service within four areas: service to the community, service to the campus, service to the fraternity, and service to the nation as participating citizens. Being primarily a service organization, the fraternity restricts its chapters from maintaining fraternity houses to serve as residences for their members.

Contents

Background

Alpha Phi Omega claims to be the largest fraternity. In the U.S., the fraternity has chapters at over 350 colleges, a current active membership of approximately 17,000 and has over 300,000 alumni. Chapters range in size from just a handful of active members at some small colleges to over a hundred active members at larger institutions.

It was founded on December 16, 1925 at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania by Frank Reed Horton and a group of former Boy Scouts and scouters as a way to continue participating in the ideals of Scouting at the college level. (Further information on the Founding can be found on the page for Frank Reed Horton)

Until 1967, membership in Scouting was a requirement to join. The founders insisted that all those gaining membership must pledge to uphold the fraternity's three cardinal principles of Leadership, Friendship, and Service. The fraternity was opened to women in 1976. In All members are called "Brothers", regardless of gender. The Fraternity views "Brothers" as a gender-neutral term.

Typical fraternity projects include blood drives, tutoring, charity fundraising events, Scouting events, and housing construction/rehabilitation. Signature projects are the annual National Service Week, in the first full week of November, and the National Spring Youth Service Day in April. Much of the operations of individual chapters is left to their own discretion, though most chapters have membership requirements which require a certain number of hours of service each semester. Some chapters of APO claim to complete over 5,000 hours of community service in an academic year.

Before women were allowed to join APO, several sororities, parallel in ideals but independent in structure, were formed for women who had been Camp Fire Girls or Girl Scouts. These include Gamma Sigma Sigma and Omega Phi Alpha. Also, several chapters had "little sister" groups, some of which (like the Jewels of Tau) formed separate organizations.

Organization

Alpha Phi Omega is organized into four levels.

At the top is the National Board of Directors, comprising the elected National Officers and others. These officers are elected at the biennial National Convention to two-year terms and include the National President, National Vice-President, six National Program Directors. Appointed officials include the International Relations Directors, National Archivist, Legal Counsel and others.

Alpha Phi Omega has a National Office in Independence, MO. Here the employees run the Fraternity's day-to-day operations, including the National Executive Director and others.

At the next level, the Fraternity is organized into eleven Regions, each headed by an elected Regional Director. Each Director is a member of the National Board, and heads a group of volunteer Regional Staff.

At the next level, the Fraternity is organized into fifty or so Sections, each headed by an elected Sectional Chair. The Sectional Chairs are elected to one year terms at the Sections' annual Conferences. The Sections usually cover about a state or so, depending on the number of chapters in an area. In areas with dense populations of collegs there may be several sections per state, each with 8-12 chapters. Many Sectional Chairs have a group of volunteer Sectional Staff.

Finally, you have the 350+ Chapters and Alumni Associations.

Chapter list

The Alpha Phi Omega National webpage has lists of all Alpha Phi Omega chapters by State (http://www.apo.org/organization/chapter/lists/state.shtml) and by chapter name (http://www.apo.org/organization/chapter/lists/chapter.shtml). Chapters with wiki pages include Delta, Mu Alpha and Iota Phi (http://www.iotaphi.org/wiki/Main_Page).

Famous alumni brothers

Famous honorary brothers

All male chapters vs. co-ed chapters

At the Alpha Phi Omega 1976 National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, the decision was made to formally welcome females as brothers of the fraternity. Although this had been happening at some chapters on an unofficial basis for a number of years, this constituted the first formal recognition from on the national level. As with many major changes, this one caused a great deal of concern, especially among older, established chapters.

In order to preserve the unity of the fraternity as a whole, a "gentleman's agreement" was crafted over the years following the 1976 National Convention that, informally, allows chapters that were all-male prior to the 1976 National Convention to remain all-male as long as their current charters remain in effect and they don't go inactive.

The chapters that are currently all-male are:

Alpha Phi Omega in the Philippines

In 1950, Alpha Phi Omega had 227 chapters in the United States. The first chapter was organized in the Philippines that year. Many Filipinos were active in the Boy Scouts. Sol Levy, an APO member from Washington State introduced the organization to Filipino Scouts. Librado Ureta, a graduate student at Far Eastern University in Manila, was among the audience. Inspired by Levy's words, he read the publications and shared them with fellow Eagle Scouts and students on the FEU campus. He asked their opinion about Brother Levy's desire and the response was good. On 2 March 1950, the Alpha Phi Omega International Service Fraternity was chartered on campus.

Alpha Phi Omega grew rapidly in the Philippines. By its third year, seven chapters had been chartered at Manila and Visayan schools and it was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a nonstock, nonprofit and nondividend corporation. Alpha Phi Omega (Phil.) Inc. was the first branch of the fraternity to be chartered outside the USA. It is separate and independent from the organization in the U.S. but it adheres to the cardinal principles designed by Frank Reed Horton.

References

  • "The APO History" in "Alpha Phi Omega Torch and Trefoil" diamond jubilee program for the 13th National Biennial Convention, Boy Scouts of the Philippines, Mt. Makiling, Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines, December 1985.
  • Alpha Phi Omega 2003 Pledge Manual

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