Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed national service fraternity that was started in 1925, will host National Service Week this Monday through Friday.
“Alpha Phi Omega is the nation’s largest fraternity and the only one whose primary purpose is service,” said Myles Yamamoto, a CSU graduate with a degree in political science and who is a member of the fraternity.
This year is the 24th year of National Service Week.
“When National Service Week began there weren’t as many service organizations and efforts on the college campus as there are today,” said Jack McKenzie, the fraternity’s National President and an administrator at Clemson University in South Carolina. “This event has raised awareness.”
Each year has a different community service theme that each chapter focuses on, Yamamoto said.
This week, all of the more than 350 chapters around the country have the chance to spread the word about their programs. The 17,000 students involved have the chance to perform service in the community, as well as develop leadership skills by planning service project events, said Ed Richter, the Service/Communication chair on the National Board of Directors.
There are three active chapters in Colorado. The chapters are at CSU, University of Colorado at Boulder and the Colorado School of Mines. There is a chapter that is attempting to get started at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, according to a press release about National Service Week.
CSU has had an Alpha Phi Omega chapter since December of 1947 and currently has between 25 and 30 members, Yamamoto said.
Alpha Phi Omega does quite a bit of service with the Boy Scouts of America, mainly because former boy scouts founded the fraternity, said Yamamoto.
During National Service Week the chapters go to different agencies, such as Gulley’s Greenhouse, also known as the Garden center, the Boy Scouts, Freedom Corps, America’s Promise and the Youth Service America.
National Service Week is not the only time that this fraternity goes out and helps the community. During the holiday season, Alpha Phi Omega helps with giving Christmas presents to under-privileged children.
There are also outdoor causes, such as cleaning up rivers and highways, and a relief effort for a city in Guatemala, Yamamoto said.
“This Halloween we worked with children. We helped with Treatsylvania. We built store fronts (on a farm) and hid behind them to give different candy to the kids who pass through,” said Bobbie Pawelski, a junior in journalism and technical communications.
“Service, as we in Alpha Phi Omega define and practice it, is not a specific act but an attitude, a way of life, a world view,” said Stan Carpenter, past national president 1986-1990 and 1999 fall pledge class namesake.
-Edited by Shandra Jordan and Colleen Buhrer