Alpha Phi Omega (ΑΦΩ)
Chapter Xi Zeta
Motto Be a leader,
be a friend,
be of service.
Recognition February 23, 1962
Type Service fraternity (recognized as a Club)
President James DeCourcey
Advisor Kip Webster, Aaron McGowan, Patrick Saeva
Members 20-25 members
Symbols Golden Eagle (bird),
Sturdy Oak (tree),
Forget-me-not (flower),
Diamond (jewel)
Mascot A. P. Opus
Meetings Weekly
Monday at 9:00pm
Bamboo Room in the Campus Center

Alpha Phi Omega (colloquially APO or A-Phi-O) is an international service fraternity. RIT's Xi Zeta chapter holds many service projects through the year, such as Shanty Town. In the past, it has ushered Men's hockey games, and it was responsible for organizing the purchase of SPIRIT and the Victory Bell.



In January 1962, student Myron Rapkin expressed interest in forming a fraternity for the primary purpose of community service. After discussing the idea with his friend and former scout Roger Kramer, they decided they would attempt to start a chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, the community service fraternity affiliated with the scouting movement. The number of interested men grew quickly, and organized the petitioning group the RIT Service Organization on February 23, 1962.

The leaders of the group received constant support and advice from the Mu Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Omega located at the University of Rochester throughout the petitioning process. A. Stephen Walls, the Director of Student Activities, became the club's advisor.

Over the course of the next year, the RIT Service Organization completed the petitioning requirements and was installed as the Xi Zeta chapter of Alpha Phi Omega on January 19, 1963 by the members of the Rochester chapter.

Early years

Since 1963, the chapter has gone through multiple periods of growth and contraction. Throughout the 1970s, the brothers of APO shared a floor of Frances Baker Hall with the sisters of Gamma Sigma (a service sorority) and handful of other students not affiliated with either group. The close proximity of a large number of APO brothers and Gamma Sigma sisters led to the floor being dubbed the "APO House".


In 1972, Congress enacted the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act which required amongst other things that professional and service fraternities, including Alpha Phi Omega, become co-ed. While becoming co-ed had been proposed in APO as early as 1970, the Fraternity did not adopt an open membership policy until 1976.

The decision of the National Fraternity to open membership to women in 1976 was not well received by Xi Zeta. The National Bylaws did permit chapters that were previously all-male to remain all-male if that was their preference, but required all new chapters be co-ed and if a chapter went inactive it too needed to become co-ed upon reactivation. The writing was on the wall that eventually Alpha Phi Omega would be a fully co-ed organization.

Lack of direction in the fraternity's service program, academic issues and worries about the changes Title IX was bringing to the Fraternity led the Xi Zeta brothers to vote to dissolve the chapter in 1979. A. Stephen Walls saw to the liquidation of the chapter's assets in accordance with the dissolution motion.


Three of the brothers, two of which were not at the meeting where dissolution was voted on, acted to defy the opinion of their brothers and keep Xi Zeta alive. Upon receiving support and encouragement from both the Section Chair and Region Director, they resolved that as long as there was at least one APO brother at RIT living out leadership, friendship and service the charter would remain intact.

These three, led by Christopher Hurley, sought to re-establish the fraternity's presence at RIT. They petitioned the Student Directorate to once again recognize Alpha Phi Omega. After hearing the request, advice from President Richard Rose as well as the grievances of the brothers who voted to dissolve the organization, the student leaders decided to re-instate APO with recognition as a club.

The chapter property that had not been previously liquidated was then returned to the three remaining brothers by Steve Walls, who sought to start over again. The chapter's founding President Jack Blair became Chair of its Advisory Board in order to foster a new beginning much like the one he was responsible for 15 years earlier.

Becoming Coed

In 1982, Xi Zeta admitted its first female brothers into the Fraternity, joining the ranks of APO chapters that no longer discriminated on the basis of gender. The chapter again began to grow for the remainder of the 1980s.


The RIT chapter of APO permits any current RIT student in good academic standing to become a member of the Fraternity.


The chapter recognizes seven classes of membership: Active, Associate, Alumni, Honorary, Pledge, Inactive and Leave of Absence.

Active members

Most Xi Zeta members are active, meaning that they attend meetings regularly and participate in service projects. Active members are the only class that are permitted to vote on business.

Associate members

Associate membership is available for brothers who do not feel they can make the standard commitment to being active but nonetheless want to be involved and contributing to the chapter.

Alumni members

Alumni members are brothers of the Fraternity associated with Xi Zeta who have previously graduated (or otherwise left RIT).

Honorary members

The chapter can (and has) conferred non-voting honorary membership to outstanding citizens, members of the community and of the world.

Inactive and Leave of Absence status

Inactive members are formerly-active members who have not maintained their activity.

Leave of Absence is a status offered for members who are on co-op or otherwise need to take time off from activity but with full intention to return at a later time.

Pledge members

As a fraternity, all members (except those who joined the Fraternity at another chapter) spend their first quarter of membership as a pledge and must satisfy a specified set of requirements to become active members.

Pledges are not permitted to vote on chapter business or attend meetings during executive session, but are otherwise not restricted in membership in any way.


Xi Zeta expects active members to attend meetings regularly, perform at least 30 hours of service per semester, and attend a certain number of fellowship activities. Members that are not active are not expected to perform these requirements.

Both associate and active members are required to pay dues, but other classes are not.


Xi Zeta has three types of positions: officers, elected positions and appointed positions.

As part of a national organization, the RIT chapter is bound to the organization's national policies as well as RIT policy and policies Xi Zeta itself enacts.

2015-2016 Officers

Officers are elected by the chapter for one-year terms in May and together constitute the Executive Board.

The current officers (May 2015 - May 2016) are:

Position Name Email
President James DeCourcey
Vice President of Service Amanda Schartau
Vice President of Membership Kimberly Hedger
Treasurer Keith Ziegler
Secretary of Records Brandon Montoya

2015-2016 Elected Positions

Elected positions are also elected by the chapter (for variable-length terms). While not on the executive board, elected positions enjoy a degree of autonomy from the officers because their election implies chapter support.

The current holders of elected positions are:

Position Name Email
Pledgemaster Hillary Brintle
Fellowship Chairperson Maggie Jin
National Correspondents N/A

2015-2016 Appointed Positions

Appointed positions are appointed by a particular officer (specified in the organization's bylaws) and serve either until the student leaves RIT, resigns, the relevant officer appoints a successor or the student is dismissed by the responsible officer.

The current holders of appointed positions are:

Position Name Email
Parliamentarian Hillary Brintle
Spring 2016 Rush Chairperson N/A
Alumni Secretary Brian Coren
Historian Kelly St. Laurent
Concessions Chair Jean Li
Fundraising Chair Vacant
Marketing Chair Anna Karwacki



The Xi Zeta chapter presently meets every week on Mondays at 9 P.M. in the Bamboo Room.

Meetings are generally open to the public, except during executive session, where access is restricted only to brothers of the Fraternity.


The Xi Zeta chapter currently has two murals in the Residential Tunnels. The first (and older) contains the Alpha Phi Omega pin and is located under Frances Baker Hall between the Kate Gleason laundry room and Grace Watson Hall. The other is located in Sol Heumann Hall near Sol's Underground and depicts the mascot A. P. Opus.

Spirit w Mark Ellington.jpg


Main Article: SPIRIT

Brothers of APO had the initial idea to purchase a bengal tiger as RIT's mascot, and were a majority on the Tiger Committee formed to carry out the idea.

Victory Bell

Main Article: Victory Bell

Alpha Phi Omega brought the original Victory Bell to RIT. It was found by A. Stephen Walls and purchased by the chapter for $70. The seventh pledge class made its frame.[1]

Blair Memorial Bridge

The Blair Memorial Bridge was a bridge over Red Creek to allow students to enter the old athletic fields of the Henrietta campus, which were located South of Grace Watson Hall. It was named after Jack Blair, the first president of the chapter when it was built by the brothers of Alpha Phi Omega in the mid-1960s. However, the design of the bridge was not structurally stable, and required numerous repairs in its short life. In 1968, the bridge collapsed for the first time under the weight of traffic, and the brothers were responsible for cleaning up the debris of the failed bridge.

In spite of this, the brothers of Alpha Phi Omega vowed to rebuild the bridge, and succeeded in doing so in the spring of 1974. The newer bridge was better designed and lasted six years until flooding caused by extremely heavy rain in the spring of 1981 washed it away.

Given the multiple failures of the bridge and the movement of the athletic fields to other parts of the campus, the bridge was never rebuilt afterward.


The RIT chapter of APO has been hosting mostly-annual broomball tournaments since the late 1960s.

The exact origins of the tradition are unknown, but the practice started as a multi-day event called broom hockey, and evolved into the modern annual tradition of an all-night broomball tournament.

The tournament generally takes place during the latter half of the winter or earlier half of the spring quarters, depending on the availability of the Frank Ritter Ice Arena. Since the game is played with sneakers and not ice skates, freshly-prepared ice is a safety risk. APO thus makes every attempt to schedule the arena immediately following a hockey game in order to ensure that the ice is not fresh.

Recent tournaments have been used a double-elimination format to ensure each registered team is able to play at least two games.

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the shanty inside which the participants sleep


Every spring semester, for one week the chapter builds a "shanty" out of plywood and cardboard, and members sleep in it at night, while taking shifts during the day to sit outside the shanty and ask for change, which is then donated to charity. This section is a stub. Please expand it.

Ugly Man on Campus

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Rental of Food Machines

In the mid 1980s, the RIT chapter of APO began a service of a number of food machines to other student organizations, RIT departments and occasionally off-campus entities as a method of fundraising.

Originally, there was a popcorn machine, a cotton candy machine and a snowcone machine. Numerous repairs have been needed for all three machines. The cotton candy and popcorn machines are available for rental.


In addition to national symbols, the Xi Zeta chapter also has a mascot named A. P. Opus, in the form of Opus the Penguin. The chapter has an unwritten rule that only brothers of the Fraternity are permitted to touch Opus.


  1. Chapter Traditions, Alpha Phi Omega - Xi Zeta. Retrieved 3 December 2014