Professor Leeb, my 6.131 Professor, notices if we’re late. So I tend to walk rush from my 6.336 lecture in 10-250 to the 6.131 lecture in 34-101. I was moving quickly down the hall last Thursday, not paying attention to much around me, when suddenly someone said, “Hey, Kim! Want a roll?” And there was Xavier ’11, with a bag of Bertucci’s rolls. (Bertucci’s is a common source of pizza and rolls at MIT.) And that made my day.
Xavier and I know each other because I’m his Mommy, and now we’re Brothers too. Which might sound confusing, if you didn’t know about APO. APO, or Alpha Phi Omega, is a co-ed service fraternity on campus (Jessie ’07 has mentioned it before in her blog). Last spring I was the Membership Vice President, or more colloquially, the Mommy. As Mommy, I was in charge of recruiting new pledges and helping them go through the process of becoming Brothers in the fraternity. Xavier was one of my pledges, and he was really involved last semester during his pledge term, doing service and participating in meetings and social gatherings. So now he’s been elevated to Brotherhood, and I can be both his Mommy and his Brother.
Most people join APO because they’re interested in doing community service. And indeed, this is a fine reason to join. There are all sorts of projects, and if they aren’t enough for you or right for you, it’s easy to start your own. Some past projects that I can think of off the top of my head: pruning trees along the Charles River, building an amphitheater at a Boy Scout Camp, sending books to prisoners, performing a variety show at a nursing home, working with the National Braille Press, running the Ugliest Man on Campus charity competition, running a Book Exchange for students at the beginning of the semester, … A large part of the requirements to join, and to continue as a brother, are to participate in and run service projects.
But there’s more to APO than just Service. APO is based around 3 values: Leadership, Friendship, and Service. The Leadership part is fairly obvious, since people serve as Officers each semester, and people need to be leaders to lead service projects well. And the Service is central to the organization. But sometimes we forget about the third one. We might be too busy to go to APO study breaks, or hang out with each other. But even if that’s true sometimes, APO is still a community, and we’re reminded of it in unexpected ways, like another brother giving us a random roll between classes :)
Just another great group at MIT…