At the intersection of volunteer opportunities and nonprofit outreach across the Triangle, Alpha Phi Omega is an NC State coed fraternity working with local organizations and fostering peer connections.
While Alpha Phi Omega operates similarly to traditional Greek life, the fraternity is open to all students of any demographic, especially those who love to participate in service-oriented activities.
Catie Siegling, a third-year studying communication and co-vice president of education, the group responsible for incoming pledges, said while some people think fraternities are traditionally male, Alpha Phi Omega is open to all genders.
“It's a place for people with similar values to hang out and get to know each other and create community at college,” Siegling said. “But it's like, very inclusive, so we don't like make cuts or anything.”
According to Daniel Dryden, a second-year in international studies and co-vice president of education, NC State’s chapter, Iota Lambda, was founded in 1950 and became coed in 1976. Alpha Phi Omega can be traced back to World War I sailor Frank Reed Horton who, at a small college in Pennsylvania in 1925, became inspired by his own experience interacting with other people of different backgrounds as a boy scout.
“[Horton] noted that Jews and Christians and Russians were working together in 1925 to accomplish goals for their community by doing service and just working together,” Dryden said. “So being a sailor in World War I, he was like, ‘We could make a difference of the world without having to conflict with each other and servicing humanity instead.’”
Alpha Phi Omega has a diverse range of community service projects located on campus and the greater Raleigh and Triangle area throughout the semester with chances to participate almost every single day of the week. Events vary from working with children at the Boys and Girls Club to nature cleanups and maintaining community gardens, all while working to complete regular hour requirements.
Emily Hall, a second-year studying sport management and vice president of external relations, said being part of Alpha Phi Omega also means completing mandatory service hours each semester.
“It truly is for people who love doing service,” Hall said. “We have certain requirements with a certain amount of service hours, and that’s definitely something APO puts forward when you first learn about it. It's definitely not like you can slack off because, in the end, all those hours that you have left to do are going to catch up to you.”
Alpha Phi Omega’s rush is roughly two weeks long with events running every night. Events consist of several types — from informational sessions, speed-dating rounds for new members, social fellowship events and mini service projects. Potential members are required to go to each type of event, getting an invite to participate in the pledging process afterwards. This semester, rush runs Jan. 17-30 every weeknight starting at 7 p.m.
“Basically, it's very noncommittal; people just show up,” Siegling said. “It's not like you register or anything. We post our rush schedule everywhere on our Instagram and send it out to people who have shown interest. And then [recruits] can just show up those nights, kind of get a feel for APO and what we do and what our brothers are like, and see if it's something they're interested in.”
One of Alpha Phi Omega’s biggest appeals is its nationwide anti-hazing policy, which is strictly enforced across every chapter. This policy establishes that pledges won’t be forced to do anything they’re uncomfortable with, focusing less on dangerous activities and more on learning about the history of Alpha Phi Omega and completing service hours.
Currently, Alpha Phi Omega’s biggest goal is to continue to expand its presence on campus to continue doing service here in the community. The fraternity’s central goal is to foster their three cardinal principles — leadership, friendship and service — no matter what.
“Another big goal is to expand our chapter,” Hall said. “Just from past stories of what other brothers have [said] and what I've heard from them, we've lost a lot of people due to COVID-19 and everything else that’s been going on. So I think another big goal is to broaden our chapter back to how big and how many people that used to be.”
For Dryden, Hall and Siegling, Alpha Phi Omega has ultimately kindled lasting friendships and meaningful connections, all while giving back to the community.
“I really liked joining APO; it's coed, and it's very diverse,” Siegling said. “And that makes it so that I was able to meet a lot of different people who have really helped me just learn so much about everything. So it's been really awesome, and I just could not encourage people more to try it out and see.”