A Different Kind of Fraternity

When people think of fraternities, they probably don’t think of an organized group of boys and girls getting together every few weeks to work on community service projects. But Alpha Pi Omega isn’t a typical “Greek” organization.

Alpha Pi Omega was founded by Frank Reed Horton in 1925, in the wake of World War I, with the purpose of helping people and instilling good values. Since then, it has grown into a nationwide organization with over 350 chapters across the country.

But here on Wittenberg’s campus, it’s just returned. Last year, the organization went about reforming the dead branch of Alpha Pi Omega. In the past, there were problems with low membership that led to its disbandment, but senior Emily Rayens, vice president of Membership for Alpha Pi Omega, said that it shouldn’t be a problem for the new branch, given that it has 30 to 40 members who come to regular meetings.

“We do service as a group to make it something fun and desirable,” Rayens said.

At these meetings, the members plan for service events such as their involvement with a developmental disabilities dance every couple of weeks.

Their big service event, Relay for Life, isn’t until March, but they have already started some preparations. The website is up and running, ready for people to sign up. Relay for Life is a nationwide event with over 4 million participants, and takes place in 20 different countries with the purpose of raising funds and awareness of cancer. Alpha Pi Omega hopes to make the event annual here at Wittenberg. The event is a large walk with the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. The plan is also to bring in cancer survivors in from the community to speak at the relay.

The fraternity isn’t a typical social Greek organization. While structured in a similar way, Alpha Pi Omega is a service fraternity much in the sense of the academic fraternities for some of the departments. Its members can also be part of traditional Greek sororities and fraternities.

Alpha Pi Omega recently went through its rush process to recruit new members. Anyone is able to join the fraternity, and it has had a few small events to meet and talk with prospective members. These events included having a pizza night and drawing cards for fourth graders with messages about the importance of community service.

“I’ve simply always loved being involved in the community,” junior Grace Bartley, a member of Alpha Pi Omega, said. “It gives me something to do with my hands and feel less awkward, and [I] get to meet new people. I love the things that we’ve done so far, and I’m really excited to see where it goes in the future.”

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