The collegiate chapter of Alpha Phi Omega at Rutgers University embodies a co-ed service fraternity that participates in a variety of on and off campus service events to help out the community.
A couple of the APO brothers, Kyle Narcoonis (President), Pathik Parikh (Sergeant-at-arms), Teresa Cicci (Section Representative), and Bhumika Patel (Junior Sectionals Representative) sit down to share their individual and shared experiences within the fraternity.
I AM RU: What is Alpha Phi Omega?
Bhumika: Alpha Phi Omega is a specialized national service co-ed fraternity. Our fraternity has roots going all the way back to scouting principles.
Kyle: APO provides its members with the opportunity to develop leadership skills as they provide service to their campus, to the community, and to the nation.
I AM RU: What inspired you to be a member?
Pathik: The fact that APO is a legitimate fraternity that sticks to its purpose.
Teresa: Throughout my first two and half years of college, I spent most of my time studying – people were always telling me that pharmacy school was extremely difficult, so I felt as though I couldn’t have time to myself. During the spring semester of my third year, I decided that I needed to “break out of my shell.” I decided to take the chance with APO and within the first two meetings, I knew that APO was the right fit for me.
Bhumika: The diversity, the fun and loving people, and the principles of the fraternity was what attracted me. To be honest, I missed how volunteering in high school used to make me feel a whole level happier – being a member of APO brings that same happiness back to me.
I AM RUTGERS: What kinds of activities or events do you participate in as a fraternity?
Kyle: As a service fraternity, service is our main goal. The great thing about APO is that we are not tied down to any one particular group or area of service.
Teresa: Every year, we participate in service events sponsored by Rutgers, including Scarlet Day of Service, Martin Luther King Day of Service, Monster Mash, Special Friends Day, and the Big Chill.
Bhumika: We participate in many things! We’ve participated in Dance Marathon, attended benefit concerts for Special K, and showed support at walks on campus such as the Diabetes walk. We span out our service to various events and try to help out as much as we can.
I AM RUTGERS: What are some of the most memorable events that APO has been a part of?
Pathik: Definitely the stroll competition because we won first place in crowd choice.
Kyle: The most fulfilling project that I participated in was our trip to Common Sense for Animals, which is a no-kill animal shelter in Stewartsville NJ. It’s a very hands-on event and if you’re a fan of animals, your heart will melt for them. You leave exhausted but you always know that the few hours you put in means the world to both the animals and the workers.
Bhumika: The fraternity sponsored a talent show in the fall and many student organizations at Rutgers, including the Juggling club and A’capella groups and it was just a really memorable evening. All the proceeds went to the Make-A-Wish foundation. In the end, we made it possible for a child with cancer to go to Disney World!
I AM RUTGERS: What makes APO stand out from the rest of Greek fraternities and sororities throughout the University?
Pathik: We’re a strictly community service fraternity and we do not haze or require bids.
Teresa: We are a “dry fraternity,” meaning we have a strict no-alcohol policy. And there is absolutely no hazing. Unlike many other fraternities and sororities at Rutgers, we do not have a house. And most of all, we have a very diverse group of students with a wide range of major and different interests.
I AM RUTGERS: What is the best part of being a member of APO?
Kyle: The feeling of brotherhood and the sense of belonging that comes with it. When you have a group of people who share the same basic ideals that you do – it just makes for a much more meaningful experience.
Teresa: We have a strong sense of brotherhood – we are essentially one big family. I have made so many lasting friendships over the past two years. Even though we come from different backgrounds, we are linked by the ideals of our fraternity – leadership, friendship, and service.
I AM RUTGERS: Why should other students want to join?
Bhumika: This is a perfect opportunity to make some ties with a very diverse group of people and to experience the way it feels to know that you’ve helped someone in need.
Pathik: It’s a great way to give back to the community.
Kyle: With us, you don’t have to worry about impressing anyone at a RUSH event or about getting a bid. If you share the same ideals that Alpha Phi Omega stands for, we want you! If you care about giving back to others, improving yourself, and having fun while doing it, Alpha Phi Omega can give you that and much more!
I AM RUTGERS: How can other students join?
Bhumika: They can attend our rush events at the beginning of each semester. More information is posted online and they can come to our table at the involvement fair for more information!
For more information on Alpha Phi Omega check out their website for updates on Rush events at the beginning of each semester.
By: Pooja Chaudhary