APO, a service fraternity, is helping clean up local roadways.
Sociology Professor and Coordinator of SERVE Reber Dunkel
Randolph-Macon College’s chapter of Alpha Phi
Omega (APO), a service fraternity, is helping clean up Hanover County’s
roadways in connection with Adopt a Highway. Alpha Phi Omega was founded to extend
the principles founded by the Boy Scouts of America, and its goal is to help those
in need and promote peace through service.
Adopt A Highway is an initiative under the aegis of the Public Works Department
that helps keeps Virginia roadways in our local community clean and free of litter.
APO student volunteers, along with fraternity members from
Kappa Alpha and
Sigma Phi Epsilon, pick up trash several times a year along a three-mile-long
stretch of road near the college.
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“It is a great project for the environment, and it helps with ‘brother bonding’—fraternity
members finding joy in sharing a common goal,” says Jamie Grant ’12,
biology major and president of Alpha Phi Omega.
R-MC’s Adopt a Highway chapter is not limited to brothers, however. As with the
majority of APO’s community-service events, new members and participants from other
student organizations, fraternities, and sororities are always welcome. “We also
have residents from the Town of Ashland community help out,” says Grant. “The more
hands, the better.”
APO’s mission is to “prepare campus and community leaders through service,” and
its values are admirable: The group aims to “develop leadership, promote friendship,
and provide service.” The fraternity’s objectives—“share, grown, improve, invest—are
carried out in a wide range of projects.
APO works with members of the community on projects in conjunction with: Hanover
Arts, BARK (Bandit’s Adoption and Rescue of K-9s), Ashland Humane Society, CJSTUF,
Relay for Life, domestic violence awareness, cancer awareness, Girl Scouts, Boy
Scouts, Toys for Tots, and Ashland Rescue. “We also visit and write letters to patients
at children’s hospitals and we volunteer to help other campus organizations,” explains
R-MC Sociology Professor Reber Dunkel, the
coordinator of Students Engaged in Responsible Volunteer Experiences (SERVE),
says that APO’s work is a responsible, conscientious effort to help the community.
“The diverse array of the service projects that the APO members undertake in a year
is extraordinary and serves as an outstanding example of what R-MC student volunteers
can accomplish,” says Dunkel.
Grant joined Alpha Phi Omega because it was the first community service group she
heard about when she arrived at Randolph-Macon. “The brothers seemed to genuinely
care about each other and the community; I knew this was something I wanted to be
a part of,” she says. “It makes me feel good to know that there are people out there
who want to help each other.” She considers community service an integral part of
“Class time is only part of the college experience,” she says. “The connections
and interactions you get with organizations such as Alpha Phi Omega are invaluable.
Being a member of APO has helped me grow in ways I never thought imaginable.”
In 2010-11, R-MC students collectively amassed almost 8,000 volunteer hours. Nearly
50 students spent an alternative Spring Break in Florida for a combined 950 hours
with Habitat for Humanity and 130 hours for a Haiti Relief project. Students in
R-MC’s Greek organizations contributed more than 4,500 hours of collective service
to the community, collected 550 pounds of canned food, donated 60 inches of hair
to Locks of Love, 21 toys to Toys for Tots and generous funds to various organizations.
In addition, money was raised on campus and donated to the Red Cross & Partners
in Health for the Haiti Earthquake Relief. The SERVE program, in the Office of Student
Life, is an integral part of Randolph-Macon’s Leadership Development and Service