Freshman hopes to bring App State’s first fraternity back to campus with service

Xanayra Marin-Lopez, Multimedia Editor

After two decades, an App State freshman decided it was time to reinstate the service organization Alpha Phi Omega.

APO was the first fraternity established on App State’s campus in 1967. It is service-based and focuses on leadership, friendship and service. Former First Lady Michelle Obama is an alumna of APO.

The co-ed service fraternity has been inactive since 2001 because of lack of interest and previous members graduating, but Giovanna Perazolo is reinstating it.

Perazolo, a freshman, said that APO is separate from social Greek life and focuses on the importance of serving the Boone community and beyond.

There are no academic requirements to get involved. Members are required to earn at least 25 service hours a semester. Hours can come from any volunteer organization, allowing students to serve where their interests lie.

Perazolo has connected with F.A.R.M. Cafe, a nonprofit community kitchen that offers free meals for volunteer work, to offer volunteer services from APO. She said she wishes to get involved with other local organizations such as The Children’s Playhouse and Watauga Humane Society.

Perazolo first heard about APO from her sister, who goes to NC State and is a member of its APO chapter.

The Iota Lambda chapter at NC State came to Boone on a retreat last fall. Perazolo went with her sister and said she enjoyed her time volunteering and making new friends. The trip inspired her to start a chapter at App State. 

“Everyone at the retreat was so nice and friendly,” Perazolo said. “I love volunteering. I’ve been volunteering at F.A.R.M. Cafe ever since I’ve been at App, and it all seemed like a perfect match.”

There are currently eight prospective members of the 10 needed to officially restart the fraternity.

Laisa Marquez-Martinez, freshman and prospective member, found out about APO through a text Perazolo sent in her dorm’s group chat. She messaged Perazolo to find out more about what the fraternity had to offer.

At first, Marquez-Martinez was hesitant.

“You know how movies and TV shows depict frats and sororities. I’ve never known anyone in them so I never knew what it was actually like,” Marquez-Martinez said.

After speaking to Perazolo, she found out APO was different from her expectations. Marquez-Martinez said she is ready to volunteer, but nervous. 

“I’ve always wanted to volunteer, but I’m always worried that I’m going to enter a place of need and know so little,” Marquez-Martinez said.

Perazolo says she is ready to take in Marquez-Martinez and prospective members with open arms.

The next interest meeting for APO is Feb. 17 at 5:15 p.m. in Crossroads Coffeehouse.