Interest Group Overview
Congratulations! You are now an
To move from Interest Group status to Petitioning Group status is normally a quick process. Like the Prospective Group phase, this phase is also mostly administrative. Also, recruiting begins in earnest at this level. In order to proceed to the next phase of the process, you are required to have at least five (5) students interested and committed to developing Alpha Phi Omega.
One of the administrative processes that will happen during this phase is the establishment of a permanent campus mailing address. This is the address that the National Office will use when it sends materials to your extension group. This address could be a dedicated campus mailbox, the office address of an advisor, or in care of a campus office (e.g. the Office of Student Life) that agrees to accept mail for the Interest Group. This mailing address may not be the private mailing address of any individual.
A group email address may also be set up at this time. Ideally, this address should be something that multiple members of the group can access rather than a personal address so that the group doesn't lose access to it if one person becomes unavailable. (An example might be something like firstname.lastname@example.org )
Unless it happened during the Prospective phase, your group will be assigned an alumni volunteer called a Sponsor to assist you in the extension process. Your sponsor’s primary responsibility is to support and guide your group through the process of building and developing your chapter. It is not your sponsor’s responsibility to do the work of building a chapter for you. Instead, they are there to support your group as you take on the challenge of forming a chapter.
At this point, your priorities are still administrative; however, there is nothing that precludes the group from moving forward with recruiting, program development and service projects. Recruiting enough members to advance to the next phase of the process is a critical step. Finding a service project or two and using them as recruiting tools is one option for your group to consider.
All active chapters of Alpha Phi Omega are required to have four (4) advisors. Two (2) of these advisors are required to be employed by the school in some way. One (1) advisor is classified as a Scouting/Youth Services Advisor. Their purpose is to help connect your group with projects connected to Scouting and serving other youth organizations. The last advisor is a Community Advisor. This is advisor can be anyone in a position to help your group succeed. These advisors are resources for your group and it is strongly encouraged that you find them as soon as possible. When your group selects advisors, it is important to keep in mind that you are looking for individuals who
will be engaged in helping and supporting your group. Advisors can help provide guidance and support as the group moves forward.
As groups start to grow and formalize, often leaders make themselves apparent. There is usually a person who naturally ends up in charge. Sometimes, it is one of those people that are amazingly organized, other times it is the person who can manage a large crowd easily. It is not enough for a chapter to have one leader whom everyone follows. One of the things that will be decided by the group is how the chapter will be structured to divide up leadership responsibilities. Alpha Phi Omega has some basic requirements for this, however, for the most part it is up to the group to decide how to organize themselves. The leadership structure of the group will change as you move from Interest Group to Petitioning Group and on to becoming a chapter. That is natural and it is important that those changes are a result of conscious decision-making rather than just happening.
From the beginning, your group should work to build an operational structure that is based on job descriptions rather than the skills and personalities of the people who happen to be holding the jobs at the moment. From the beginning of the Interest Group phase the group should be thinking about what type of structure (officers, committees, procedures and policies) will be needed to develop the
processes that are required to charter and be a successful chapter.
While you are working on completing the requirements to become a Petitioning Group, your section chair and region director will be working together to identify a big brother chapter, who will serve as a role model and resource for your group. Working with a big brother chapter gives your group the opportunity to observe how a chapter plans and executes a service project, conducts its meetings, holds fellowship events, etc. The big brother chapter can also help you with recruitment. Joint events with an existing chapter will help to introduce you to Alpha Phi Omega by providing hands-on experience. One of the benefits of joining a national organization is that there are a number of resources that would otherwise not be at your disposal. The ideas that can be exchanged and the possibilities for learning for both your Interest Group and the established chapter are limitless. Keep in mind that just as every college is different, each APO extension effort is different so your group may not be assigned a big brother chapter or that assignment may happen at a later time. Your section chair and region director will make the decision that they feel gives your efforts to start Alpha Phi Omega the best chance to succeed.
The last step to becoming a Petitioning Group is your first formal ritual in Alpha Phi Omega. It is called the Petitioning Ceremony. The section chair or another designated fraternity official will arrange for this ceremony. It will be performed by active Brothers of Alpha Phi Omega. This is a simple ceremony that will welcome you and your group into your first formal individual affiliationswith Alpha Phi Omega.