With recruitment right around the corner, the Theta Upsilon chapter of Alpha Phi Omega won’t be having any trouble attracting some potential new members. The Case Western Reserve University chapter of the national service fraternity performed well three weeks ago at the bi-annual APO national convention, taking home the most awards of any chapter and surpassing their personal record.
“This was the first time we got a historian award for our chapter’s history,” said Katie Paul, third-year undergraduate and president of the APO chapter. “We’ve had a lot of big things going on that are really unique to us.”
Over winter break, 14 representatives from the CRWU chapter flew to Anaheim, Cali. to participate in the convention that lasted from Dec. 27-30. A total of five awards were handed out to chapters from across the country, three of which went to the CWRU chapter: the Dean Arno Nowotny National Service Award, the National Leadership Award, and the Josiah Frank National Historian’s Award.
“We submitted every single service event we’ve done over the past two years,” Paul said. “We have the best service program in the nation.”
The chapter won their first award in 2002 and has received others since, but Paul believes they won their first historian award with the help of the celebration of their 20th anniversary and the initiation of APO’s 400,000th national member into Theta Upsilon. “You can see how important retention is and how important our traditions are,” she said. “We had to prove that we do all this stuff, and we do it well.”
APO currently holds over 400,000 members nationally, including alumni, making it one of the largest collegiate Greek-letter fraternities in the country. The Theta Upsilon chapter at CWRU re-chartered in 1992 from its initial start in the 1950s and currently has 105 active members and about 800 total members.
“It’s just such a great way to meet people,” Paul said. “We have three tenets: leadership, friendship, and service… Our purpose is to provide service to the community, but we also have a lot of leadership workshops within the organization,” she said. “Two years ago we fluctuated from around 100 members, so we’ve grown a lot in the past few years.”
The chapter is committed to community service on a weekly basis. “We do events pretty much every day,” Paul said.
The most popular events among members include those held at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, the Children’s Museum, Hope Lodge, the Cleveland Food Bank, MedWish, and tutoring at the Church of the Covenant.
“Anyone can come, you don’t need a bid,” Paul said. “We’re all-inclusive.”
The help of the campus community allowed the members of APO to travel to the national convention and receive their awards through a series of year-round fund raising.
“We kicked [fund raising] up this semester for national convention,” Paul said. APO is known for its nightly grilled cheese delivery system for hungry students during finals and midterms.
The chapter initiates new members at the end of every semester in November and April with around 40 to 60 members in each pledge class, ranging from freshmen who are serious about service to last minute seniors. Rush this year for the Theta Upsilon chapter of APO begins on Friday, Jan. 18.
“I honestly think that we have a special chapter,” Paul said. “We really focus on developing people to be leaders and just having fun and doing service together. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it.”
“We have a really good program in place,” she said, “and I guess [the national convention] agreed with us.”