In 1925, our founder Frank Reed Horton felt there was a need for an organization that held a "standard of manhood" before young men that would withstand the test of time. Horton talked to the members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and to men with a Scouting background, and the groundwork was formed to create this service fraternity.
On December 16th, 1925, the Fraternity was founded on the campus of Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. 14 undergraduates signed as charter members.
Alpha Phi Omega was an all-male Fraternity until 1976, when the delgeates of the National Convention voted to admit women as full active Brothers. In 2005, the decision was made to make all chapters co-ed, including those that previously had not admitted women.
Distinguished alumni of Alpha Phi Omega include astronaut Jim Lovell (Beta Theta '47), Former President Bill Clinton (Mu Alpha '67), and Heisman Trophy winner Mike Garrett (Alpha Kappa '66).
Messages From Brothers...
I joined Alpha Phi Omega in the first semester of my junior year. It was at a point in my college career where I had begun to feel that I had fallen into the seemingly never-ending slump of wake up, go to class, study a bit, maybe eat something at some point then go back to sleep. I knew a few members of the organization and on what was mostly a whim I decided to pledge. There is not enough room in this short blurb to express how glad I am that I did. Between conferences, planning a rush, numerous service events and fellowships it is safe to say that the slump has been busted. To cover every fun and worthwhile thing I have done with APO would take all day but I will make special mention of one of my favorite events, my first regional conference. I had been a pledge for only a few weeks at that point and while I had not planned on going to a different state with a bunch of people that I barely knew that weekend, that is exactly what I ended up doing. After an eventful, or maybe infamous, five hour drive to Ohio I was ready for my first APO conference. Over the course of the weekend I got to know my own chapter better (and they, for better or worse, got to know me better) and also met APO brothers from several other chapters. The nights were exciting and the seminars inspired me to pursue a director position when I was finally initiated later that same semester. It was after that weekend that I knew for sure that I was going to be sticking with APO for the rest of my college career. "
Alpha Phi Omega has opened up so many opportunities for me and has connected me with so many amazing people. I joined APO as a sophomore in college, after learning about it from a fellow brother. He and I had worked at a summer camp together as camp counselors and he talked about it all the time. After hearing about all the amazing things he had done through APO, I knew I needed to join.
From the moment I began pledging, I felt like part of the APO community. I was meeting so many great people and becoming involved in so many amazing service opportunities. One of my favorite events from APO was my very first Alpha Phi Omega conference. Seeing that Beta Theta Chapter was only one small part of a huge organization made me realize how huge of a difference we can make in this world when we join together. At the conference I got to know my brothers even closer and made bonds that have lasted over the years. This conference also inspired me to become more involved in the chapter and to become a part of the executive board. So many of my favorite memories and experiences have been around APO!
I’m going to be completely honest; I joined APO because I had some extra space at the bottom of my resume that needed filling. Looking back seven semesters later, however, that line on my resume is probably the least important thing I gained from joining Alpha Phi Omega (despite having two job interviews in which the interviewer was an alumni). Although I figured I might make a few friends and probably get that warm fuzzy feeling once in a while from the service I’d be doing, I never anticipated that some of the people I would meet would become my best friends, or that some of my most favorite college memories would come from joining APO.
One of my personal favorite activities was the work I’ve done with Habitat for Humanity. Who knew roofing in temps above 100°F and pounding in countless nails with frozen fingers could be so much fun when you’re doing it with fellow brothers. In addition to the memories made on these projects, I also was able to gain some valuable experience with modern home construction techniques (sawz-all, FTW).
My love for food was also fully satisfied through events put together by APO. Through APO’s restaurant of the week event, I was able to try countless new foods around Madison without having to be that “kind-of-weird-guy” who goes out to eat alone. In addition to this, every semester APO puts together pot-lucks and family dinners, where your only responsibility is to gorge yourselves alongside fellow brothers.
Needless to say, I’m incredibly happy with my decision to join APO, and although my time as an active brother will soon be up, I can’t wait to start the next chapter of my life knowing I have the support of the Alpha Phi Omega behind me, and my brothers by my side.