N.Y.U. frat’s focus is to help lend a hand in the community


By Muneeza Iqbal

New York University is often accused of being the “bad guy” due to its expansionist policies. Frequently overlooked, however, is the commitment of some of its students to doing good in the community.

Take, for example, Alpha Phi Omega, an N.Y.U. fraternity not dedicated to beer bingeing, but to working for the local community’s betterment. With around 350 chapters nationwide, Alpha Phi Omega is one of the oldest organizations at N.Y.U. that is committed to community service.

The fraternity’s principles are derived from the Scout Oath and Law of the Boy Scouts of America.

Although APO is co-ed, all its members are known as brothers. They volunteer at various charitable organizations across the city. They prefer to help out, and are regulars at, organizations that are in the Village area because of the proximity to their campus.

Two local places where the brothers frequently volunteer are Room to Grow and Baby Buggy, where they help parents who can’t afford to provide for their babies. The volunteers sort through the various donations, such as toys and baby food, and help prepare the kits that the parents receive.

Wherever they’re needed, that’s where they lend a hand. Indoors or outdoors, working with the homeless or with nature, APO members are proud to help out in various settings.

In the past, the fraternity brothers have planted flowers in Downtown parks. They recently joined forces with the National Audubon Society, helping conserve wildlife and protect the environment. They also work with White Tops N.Y.C. to cut down cooling costs for buildings by painting their rooftops white. The fraternity members also frequent The Bowery Mission soup kitchen where they prepare and distribute meals for the needy.

This volunteer work is not only spiritually rewarding for the brothers, but also brings them closer together.

“It is a fantastic opportunity to have fun while giving back to our community,” said Jackie Tin, the frat’s vice president of service, who said she has made some great friends since she joined.

APO hosts and sponsors a number of events on campus, as well. Tin recalled the first APO-sponsored blood drive, which was one of her favorite events. The brothers made a plethora of baked goods, hoping it would attract people to give blood. However, they were surprised by how many people turned out, most of whom weren’t drawn by the sweet treats.

APO’s current president, Jillian Bray, joined the frat because, as she put it, “It was the perfect fusion of scouting and non sibi [not for oneself] spirit, in the form of a brotherhood.” Local alumni who want to continue community service through APO often contact Bray, widening their network and relationships.

“Our brothers love the Village, and what better way to show this love than through service?” she said.