“Be a leader, be a friend, be of service.” This motto was put into action last week when the Alpha Phi Omega Service Society and the West Chester University chapter of the National Council of Teachers of English co-sponsored a school supply drive from March 17 through March 24, collecting materials for an underprivileged school in West Philadelphia. The two organizations placed donation boxes in select residence halls as well as in Main and Recitation Halls. There were also tables set up on the final day in Sykes Student Union and Recitation Hall to serve as last minute reminders to students about the groups and their cause.
Alpha Phi Omega is a national, co-ed service fraternity, with active chapters located on 366 college campuses. Founded at WCU in 1965, this volunteer organization makes every effort to teach its members leadership skills, experience friendship and provide service to humanity.
Upon its foundation at Lafayette College in 1925 by Frank Reed Horton, Alpha Phi Omega was intended to be an organization for college men who were involved with youth movements, helped people in need everywhere and performed service on the campus of each expanded chapter. Today, more than 350,000 males and females have joined the fraternity in hopes of becoming a prepared leader on their campus and in their community.
Alpha Phi Omega is the single most representative undergraduate intercollegiate organization in the country. They intend to expand their association even further to share with colleges and universities the benefits Alpha Phi Omega has to offer students, their campuses and their communities.
Assisting Alpha Phi Omega in their school supply drive was the WCU Chapter of National Council of Teachers of English. NCTE, an organization devoted to improving the teaching and learning of English and Language Arts, has more than 60,000 members across the United States and other countries. Its members consist of teachers and supervisors of English programs in elementary, middle and secondary schools and faculty in college English departments, but anyone interested in advancing English and Language Arts education is welcome to join.
The WCU Chapter strives to promote professional attitudes, stay updated with current information in the profession and create a community of interest between students and faculty involved in the fields of English and Language Arts.
Kathryn Spear is the president of the WCU Chapter of NCTE and a member of the spring 2008 pledge class of Alpha Phi Omega. When her good friend mentioned that the students at Lamberton Elementary School in West Philadelphia could use a helping hand, Spear was eager to get her two organizations involved in a school supply drive.
“We hope to collect as many new school supplies as possible to give to these students. We are putting all of our energy and spirit into this project, as it is something we all feel very strongly about,” Spear said.
NCTE has held many drives in the past that have been very successful, according to Spear, which encouraged her to coordinate another.
When the weeklong school supply drive came to an end last Monday, the two organizations totaled their donations. With numerous contributions to the boxes in Sykes Student Union and those placed throughout campus, Spear and her group members were able to fill the backseat of a car.
“It was a huge success. We received more supplies than any previous drive in years past,” Spear said.
The items were donated to Lumberton Elementary School after the final boxes were collected on March 24.
A person does not have to be a member of Alpha Phi Omega to be a leader, be a friend or be of service. All it takes is a small donation to make a big impact on campus or in the community, as proved by WCU students.
Ashley Kresky is a fourth year student majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in Journalism. She can be reached at AK591509@wcupa.edu.