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Petitioning Group Overview

Congratulations! You are one step away from becoming a Chapter!

You are now recognized as a Petitioning Group of Alpha Phi Omega. This part of the process will take a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 45 academic weeks. The reason for the length of this phase is that now is when all of the chapter development processes happen. When you take a moment to look at the list of things you will need to accomplish during this time frame, you might not think that this is enough time. If your group is collaborative and team-oriented, it will not be an issue. The requirements in this process are designed to develop the programs, structure and attitudes of a healthy and sustainable chapter. Each item or action that is asked of your Petitioning Group is a piece of this.

Some of these requirements involve interaction with other chapters in a variety of ways. As a part of Alpha Phi Omega, you become part of a national organization. It is important that you acknowledge your connections to these other chapters and our national Fraternity.

Our cardinal principles and the core values of Alpha Phi Omega are Leadership, Friendship and Service. It only makes sense that there are specific requirements connected to each of these principles. As Leadership, Friendship and Service are each a fundamental piece of an Alpha Phi Omega chapter’s program, we view them as we would a three-legged stool. All three legs are necessary for the chapter to function properly. The membership practices and administrative processes of the organization are the seat that connects them together. If you take away one piece, the stool will no longer be able to stand.

A strong chapter is able to plan and implement an active and varied service program. Alpha Phi Omega categorizes service into four fields of service: service to the campus, service to the community, service to youth, and service to the nation as participating citizens. As our chapters are unique and diverse, so are the service programs and projects a chapter develops. Sometimes, projects will find the group. Other times, if your Petitioning Group wants to do a specific type of service, they will have to plan and implement the projects themselves. This is why you are asked to do both. The other piece of the service requirement is participation by members of the group. One of the things that draw people into joining a chapter of Alpha Phi Omega is the opportunity to participate in service as a part of a community. That is why there are participation minimums as a part of the service expectations. The fellowship (friendship) requirements are designed the same way. Part of what makes a service fraternity different than a service organization is the sense of community and camaraderie that the members feel with one another. Most clubs require participation only in the service aspect of their group. Alpha Phi Omega recognizes that all of these pieces put together are what makes a cohesive group.

The leadership requirements are a bit different. Leadership opportunities come in all shapes and sizes. The extension process will bring out several different kinds of leaders in your group. For most people leadership skills are learned rather than instinctive. In Alpha Phi Omega the process of learning leadership skills is known as “Leadership Development”. There are a number of different types of development opportunities. Some involve taking classes, others involve learning by doing. One important skill of a leader is the ability to transmit what he or she knows to others. Chapter officers will change frequently. Some chapters elect new officers each semester, others use a calendar year or an academic year. A healthy chapter has a plan for how to transition information and ideas from officer to officer in such a way that little information is lost. It is inefficient and fruitless to reinvent the wheel each time someone takes over a role. It is important that the officers in any organization share knowledge and experiences with those who succeed them. Critical information that is important for the group’s success should be passed forward.

Every organization has governing documents, policies and rules. This new chapter of Alpha Phi Omega that you are building will be no different. Some of the documents that govern your chapter already exist. They are the National Bylaws, Standard Articles of Association and national policies of Alpha Phi Omega; the policies and guidelines of your school; as well as, state, local, and federal laws. Other documents and policies will need to be created by your group. One key document the group must develop is Chapter Bylaws. Your group will need to decide things like officers, roles, election procedures, meeting structures, discipline policies and chapter expectations.

Another thing the group will need to develop is a budget and financial plan. After all, a chapter is a small nonprofit corporation and needs a plan for how it will finance its activities. The group should develop an operational budget that outlines expenses, possibly by program or event. You will need to determine how funds will be raised and how much the group will charge for dues. This is also the
time to determine how to approve spending requests.

Having a long range plan and a vision for the future of a chapter is another characteristic of a well-organized and solid chapter. As part of the petitioning requirements your group must develop plans for at least the next term in a number of areas. While Alpha Phi Omega recognizes that plans are flexible and change as circumstances change, it is important that your group is looking ahead and
planning for the future. The planning and organization of a chapter is an ongoing process. Often groups working on developing a chapter become so focused on achieving the milestone of a charter that they forget to look beyond that. Asking petitioning members to include future plans helps to ensure that the group has a focus past the chartering ceremony.

Throughout the extension process, your group will need to recruit, educate and retain new members. By the time you have completed the petitioning process, your group must have at least twenty-five (25) members (twenty (20) of which must be returning to school the following term) and at least four (4) advisors. Advisors will be crucial to the success of this potential chapter. Alpha Phi Omega requires that every chapter have at least four advisors. Two (2) of those advisors must be employed by the host school (often referred to as “faculty or staff” or “faculty” advisors). Faculty, staff and administrative employees are all eligible for these advisor roles. One (1) advisor represents Scouting or other youth services (often referred to as “Scouting” or “youth services” advisors). This should be someone in a position to assist the group in developing service projects that benefit youth. Finally, one (1) advisor must be from the community (often referred to as the “community” advisor. This advisor should be able to assist the group through their knowledge, experience and contacts. Groups are not limited to four advisors, they may have as many additional advisors as they would like. Advisors can be tremendous assets to a chapter and a strong chapter sets expectations and directions for advisors as to what their role is and how they are being asked to support the chapter. Advisors are there to help your group, whether that is helping navigate the difficult paperwork with the school, mediating a dispute, serving as an objective party when an officer is frustrated, or facilitating projects. The requirements regarding advisor development are here to help your group make the best use of these experienced individuals who want to help you succeed.

As this is a partnership, representatives of Alpha Phi Omega will be involved throughout this process. When all of the requirements are completed, your group will fill out an Application for Charter that documents all of the group’s activities. Your section chair and region director will need to review your application and approve it before it is submitted to the Membership and Extension
Director for review and to the Board of Directors for approval.


Checklist for a Chartering Application

  • A Petitioning Ceremony must have been conducted for all Petitioning Members.
  • The group must have been engaged in the petitioning process for no less than twenty (20) and no more than forty-five (45) weeks. Extensions may be granted by the Membership and Extension Director. "Weeks" is defined as weeks when school is in session.
  • The group must have defined leadership positions and responsibilities, filled those positions, and reported the information to the National Office.
  • The group must have developed an officer transition plan.
  • The group must have gone through at least one transition of the leadership positions and submitted evidence using Form DE-9-Officer Transition Report
  • The group must have participated in at least two (2) leadership development activities and documented them on Form DE-6-Leadership Event Report Form where:
    • at least one (1) pertained to the Fraternity’s program of leadership development
    • at least one (1) involved members from an active chapter or another extension group.
  • The group must have conducted, at least annually, a Chapter Assessment and Planning Session (CAPS) or similar Fraternity approved process and documented it on Form DE-7 Leadership Development Program Summary and with a report of the results of the session.
  • The group must have developed a plan for identifying and organizing ongoing leadership development opportunities and trainings documented the plan on Form DE-7 Leadership Development Program Summary and attachments.
  • The group must have held at least four (4) fellowship activities and documented them on Form DE-4 Fellowship Project Report Form and Form DE-5-Fellowship Program Summary where:
    • at least one (1) event must have been participated in by at least 50% of the group
    • all events must have been participated in by at least 50% of the group or twelve (12) members whichever is smaller.
    • at least one (1) activity must have involved members of an active chapter or another extension group.
  • The group must have developed a plan for identifying and organizing ongoing fellowship opportunities.
  • The group must have prepared and submitted all appropriate reports on national fellowship programs required of active chapters during the time it was a Petitioning Group.
  • The group must have participated in at least twelve (12) service projects. These projects must be diversified so that: No more than two (2) projects of the 12 may be of the same type or nature with the same organization. The projects must be documented on Form DE-2-Service Project Report Form and Form DE-3- Service Program Summary:
    • At least one (1) project must have involved members of an active chapter or another extension group.
    • All projects must have been participated in by at least 25% of the group or twelve (12) members whichever is less.
    • At least one (1) of the projects must have been participated in by at least 75% of the members of the group
    • At least 6 projects must have been planned and executed by the group.
  • The group must have participated in all national service programs and performed the reporting required of active chapters during the time it was a Petitioning Group.
  • The group must have developed and implemented a plan for identifying and organizing an ongoing service program.
  • The group must have engaged in a continuous recruitment program during each academic term during the Petitioning Group phase and
    • Have twenty five (25) or more students who are members of the group at the time of the chartering. All of those students must have gone through the petitioning ceremony and have submitted the appropriate registration to the National Office within 10 business days of the petitioning ceremony.
    • have no fewer than twenty (20) student members scheduled to return for the following academic term.
    • recruited four (4) or more advisors which conform to the requirements for chapters in good standing in the National Bylaws.
  • The group must have developed and implemented for all Petitioning Group members a fraternity education program which includes the following elements (at a minimum):
    • History and background of the Fraternity
    • Chapter history, in the case of a rechartering effort
    • Fraternity structure (Nation, Region, Section)
    • Acknowledgement and affirmation of compliance with the Fraternity’s Standard Chapter Articles of Association, Risk Management, Membership Policies and Pledging standards
    • Any other requirements defined by the National Pledging Standards
  • The group must have developed and implemented a chapter advisor orientation for new advisors
  • The group must have developed an outline for recruitment, education and retention of future members
  • The group must have developed and documented the following administrative items and summarize them on Form DE-8-Additional Requirements:
    • Chapter Bylaws, which must have been formally adopted by the group and approved by the Region Director or appropriate designee
    • A budget, which must have been formally adopted by the group
    • Systems to facilitate communication with and distribute information to all student and advisory committee members outside of official meetings
    • Registration with appropriate government and/or regulatory agencies for financial purposes.
    • A roster of student and advisory members and their contact information
    • Appropriate record keeping practices to perpetuate the continued offering of program and operation of administrative functions.
    • Appropriate campus approvals to operate on the campus
  • Written permission from an appropriate school official to operate as a chapter the campus must have been received by the designated fraternity official.
  • All students and advisors involved with the group have signed an Affirmation of Compliance with the Fraternity’s Risk Management Policy and Membership Policies.
  • The group must have submitted Form DE-10- Standard Chapter Articles of Association Certification.
  • The group must have prepared and submitted Form DE-12 Application for Charter along with the completed assemblage of documents and fees required for chartering to the National Office.
  • Approval of the Section Chair has been obtained.
  • Approval of the Regional Director has been obtained.
  • An affirmative vote of the chapters in the section has taken place in accordance with the requirements in the National Bylaws.
  • All pertinent information and requirements documentation is submitted to the National Office and Membership & Extension Committee for review and approval.
  • Approval by a vote of the National Board of Directors in accordance with the requirements in the National Bylaws has taken place.

Documents & Forms

All documentation and forms needed for chartering are now available online on the Officer Portal.  Your sponsor will work with you to make sure you can submit all necessary forms.

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