By Jamie Weissman
When Meghan Doermann was a sophomore, she was looking for something to get involved in on campus. So when she met a few members of Alpha Phi Omega in class, she was interested in learning more about the brotherhood. Today, the senior hearing and speech science major is president of the chapter, who collectively do thousands of community service hours every year.
Alpha Phi Omega (APO) is a national, co-ed service fraternity devoted to promoting community service through various opportunities. The Epsilon Mu chapter at the University of Maryland was established in 1947, and currently has an active roster of over 100 brothers. Each member is required to do a minimum of 20 community service hours every semester to stay active although according to Doermann, members usually go above the minimum.
“Our service is a little bit different. We work with a wide variety of organizations in four different categories: community, campus, national, and our own fraternity service,” Doermann said.
According to their website, part of the chapter’s mission is, “ to promote positive exposure of service to the University of Maryland and surrounding communities” and to “ promote fellowship among our Brothers.”
One way the chapter exemplifies their mission is on Wednesdays when brothers volunteer with the Lutheran Campus Ministry at En Camino, a service opportunity that calls for tutors and mentors for students of the Latino Ministry. According to Doermann, this is just one of the many times the chapter partners with campus organizations for service opportunities. Other brothers also do dog walking and fundraise for both Terp Thon and Relay for Life.
The service opportunities Alpha Phi Omega offers is just one of many reasons junior criminology major Shradha Sahani decided to join the spring semester of her freshman year.
“I really liked what the organization stood for with doing service, giving back, and I loved how I could see how close people were within the organization and how they made such great friends through it,” Sahani, one of the chapter’s recruitment chairs, said.“ I think people should join because you can really learn a lot about yourself and doing service is rewarding. You get exposed to so many different things,” she said.
Junior behavior and community health major Taleeah Allen-Wright, another recruitment chair, agrees, explaining that the chapter is looking for new members interested in new opportunities and are, “service oriented, who love to give back to the community and want to meet people and become a brotherhood for a lifetime.”
For Doermann, new opportunities came to her in the form of leadership. Before becoming president for the past year, she was pledge master and formal chair.
“A couple of years ago I don’t think I could have ever imagined myself sitting up here and being the president of an organization to APO really helped me develop my leadership skills in a way that I could have never imagined,” she said. “ I think that in ten years I’ll look back and definitely be thankful for that.”