Have you ever heard of a fraternity where a girl is allowed to be your ‘brother,’ so
to speak? Alpha Phi Omega is a co-ed service fraternity that anyone can join. It does not matter if
you are a male or female, nor does it matter if you are already part of another Greek organization.
Anyone who wants to do service is welcome to join. This fraternity was recently chartered
onto campus and focuses on three aspects: leadership, friendship and service.
Christina Blanchard is an administrator on campus and she is the advisor for Alpha Phi
Omega. However, she feels a personal connection with Alpha Phi Omega because she was a
member of SUNY Oswego’s chapter of the fraternity during her undergraduate career.
“When I came here, some of the upper people in my division (campus activities) wanted to
bring a chapter on campus because it is so service-oriented and they felt that with our Vincentian
mission that it would be a great chapter affiliated with St. John’s because our missions align.”
Alpha Phi Omega shaped Blanchard to become the person she is today.
“I credit a lot of my professionalism, experience and growth as a person to the organization,”
Blanchard said. “There were times when I was involved with training the new members as well as
going to the normal meetings as well as other obligations.
Although the service fraternity kept her busy, Blanchard was happy to work in the welcoming environment.
“There were three days a week I was doing something for Alpha Phi Omega,” she said.
“However, because it was a very friendly environment with like-minded people, it never felt like work.”
It took a little over two years for Alpha Phi Omega to be chartered on campus. The process
for nationals requires between one to three years of doing community service and hosting service
events on campus.
The national office of Alpha Phi Omega has detailed requirements that you have to meet.
There are three phases: the interest group, the petitioning group and the chartered group.
“They were an interest group for about a month,” Blanchard explained.
The interest phase is where a group of students get together and they decide that they are
dedicated to bringing this organization onto campus. Blanchard and another administrator held
the first interest meeting—they were both surprised at the turnout they had. The petitioning group
is where they actually try to get recognized by nationals as an official chapter by putting in hours
of community service.
“I really do believe we could have been chartered in a year but the student leaders that are in
Alpha Phi Omega wanted perfection,” Blanchard said. “They would not submit events if they
weren’t perfection. So it was a lengthy process but at the same time I know it was because the
student leaders would not want to submit an event to nationals if the event was not amazing.”
Sophomore Thalia Torro, treasurer of Alpha Phi Omega, joined the fraternity last semester.
When she found out that there was a service fraternity on campus, she immediately joined
because of her love for the local community.
“Alpha Phi Omega has helped me with the other organizations I’m in. I have learned how to
conduct myself and how to speak publicly.”
The students of Alpha Phi Omega will continue to reach for perfection in their service to
represent the service fraternity well.
“[The students] were determined and made sure that [their work in Alpha Phi Omega] was
reflected in the best way possible.” Blanchard said.