Why I Chose a Co-Ed Service Fraternity

As a freshman college girl, of course I considered joining a sorority here at Clemson…briefly. I’d never seen myself as the stereotypical sorority girl type. Hell, I hardly had any female friends in high school. I looked into a couple of chapters I felt like I may feel somewhat of a belonging toward, but upon further contemplation, I decided that I wanted to find different kinds of clubs and organizations instead. I wanted my freshman year to shape me more than I shaped my freshman year (after all, recruitment for sororities begins before school even starts).


When my roommate and I met, she told me she was also uninterested in joining a sorority but that she’d heard from her friends that Clemson had a service sorority and a service fraternity. These organizations seemed to be more focused on service and also seemed to be more diverse than typical Panhellenics.


About two weeks into our first semester, we came across a flyer and decided to go to the Midnight Pancakes rush event for a service fraternity called Alpha Phi Omega. We met so many different people who made a genuine effort to learn about us and have meaningful conversations. Lots of them even brought DOGS, so naturally we both felt like we would have no problem finding some new friends and feeling apart of this group should we pledge.

(Picture by Ellis Moore - Historian of Clemson’s Alpha Phi Omega - This is Katy, my “big brother” in yellow and myself in the dress)


We’d soon learn that Alpha Phi Omega is a co-ed service fraternity affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America. This sounds kind of weird, but it’s awesome being able to work with scouts throughout the year at service projects. I find the teachings of the Boy Scouts program to be beneficial at any age. Our three cardinal principles are Leadership, Friendship and Service, and there are so many different ways to be a leader in the brotherhood. Service points are required, but not impossible to get. APO does both large and smaller projects, ranging from the Clemson vs. USC Blood Bowl (STARTING MONDAY NOVEMBER 13TH!) and Merit Badge University (pictured below) to Thrive Upstate gardening projects and posting notes of encouragement around campus. Social events occur nearly as often as service projects and include formal, mountain weekends, and other super fun days of fellowship.


(Picture by Me)


As my pledging semester comes to an end, the one word that sums up the chaotic mixture of feelings pledging has brought me is thankful. I’m thankful to be done with all five pledge tests that stressed me out more than some of my academic classes. Thankful to have only one more interview which is this Thursday. Thankful to have met over 45 members of the fraternity one-on-one for interviews. Finally, thankful to be apart of something bigger than myself so early in my college career. APO is worth every hour of service, studying for pledge tests and interviews, and attendance at long business meetings, and I’m glad I stuck through the process to be initiated next week into such an outstanding fraternity.

(Picture by Ellis Moore - Historian of Clemson’s Alpha Phi Omega)