After a 30-year discontinuation, the co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega (APO) may return as a full-fledged organization given that it meets its student quota.
Since 2005, the University of Miami has been trying to recharter the fraternity, one of the first chapters created in the United States.
Until APO attains its official charter, the members working to bring the organization back are part of a petitioning group. Forming this group is the first step toward a new charter, APO president and senior Molly Coller said.
After being recognized as a petitioning group, a ceremony must be completed each year that a new pledge class enters. This occurs until the group members are initiated as brothers of the Alpha Pi chapter.
Other requirements include attendance at leadership development activities, completion of annual chapter assessments, participation in 12 service projects and establishing a service plan, budget and laws.
The group must obtain written permission from the school to operate as a chapter. This statement of permission must also be approved by the regional director, section chair and chapters in the section. APO also needs four advisors, a sponsor, a faculty advisor, a community advisor and a boy scout advisor.
“The process to bring back a fraternity is very difficult,” Coller said. “Nationals and UM have been very supportive and are ready to have us on campus.”
In accordance with UM’s Committee on Student Organization’s regulations, new organizations require at least 25 students before being considered active.
The petitioning group consists of 16 members so far, and 24 other students attended the APO information sessions.
“They seemed truly interested,” Coller said. “We have so much interest that I do not foresee any problems.”
She also said the organization is unique when compared to other organizations.
“We have a special bond that other organizations don’t have,” Coller said. “We are a brotherhood.”
Junior Rebecca Levine said that this organization is needed for its role in community service and student involvement.
“Community service is needed everywhere,” she said. “APO is a great opportunity for students to get involved.”
Levine worked with Coller and attended regionals to learn about chapters at the University of Florida and Florida State University.
“I learned how big of an impact APO has at other schools and communities, and I would love to see the same happen at our school,” Levine said.
Senior Kristen Khoury, the service vice president, organizes APO’s numerous service initiatives. She plans to partner with several other established service organizations on campus to make APO’s presence known.
Every other weekend, members will participate in several projects while working with kids and assisting in environmental clean-ups.
APO’s major project is called Fill-A-Bus, in which it will work with a local church or temple, collect goods via a rented school bus and donate them to a local shelter.
“This is unlike any event that has ever been planned on campus because we will be partnering with the local Miami community to help us reach our big goal,” Khoury said.
New recruitment and rush events begin Monday.
“All those who choose to go through the pledging process are making a great decision,” Khoury said. “It will positively impact the rest of their college experience and life after graduation.”