Alpha Phi Omega

Gamma Chapter at Cornell University

Tracy Goldman ’20

During my NIB semester, I hosted a Programming workshop for Gamma Chapter’s very first Scouts Day. It was during a rough week in the semester and I was already done with service hours as is, so I had only intended on staying for the duration of my workshop. Somehow, I ended up facilitating lunch and assisting scouts while they performed service events and even stayed for part of the awards ceremony. But at the very end of the event, I ended up meeting some section leaders from APO Nationals and even a descendant of original members of APO. Hearing these people speak about their experiences and relationships to Alpha Phi Omega was awe-inspiring; at the time, I felt my role within the fraternity was minimal and that I was simply a NIB who was incredibly confused, but I soon realized that APO was such an important organization that meant a lot to so many people. I knew that my role, from teaching boy scouts programming to any other service events I will do in the future, is valuable, and that maybe one day, I, too, may be inspired by APO to get more involved.

I rushed APO initially for friendship. My expectations were severely overwhelmed, and I made more friends than I ever thought I was capable of having. I knew that I would do valuable service, but the fact that I have devoted hours to meaningful service over-exceeded anything I could imagine. But in my future, I believe my leadership skills—the pillar I never really took seriously—will carry me forward. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a complete introvert who struggles with starting even simple conversations. But thanks to APO, I can talk to a group of unfamiliar people and be able to facilitate conversation. My public speaking skills have increased dramatically; I can lead a presentation or speak in front of a large group of people without feeling nervous, which is something I never in a million years believed would be possible. I know I will always struggle with confidence and fear sounding stupid, but thanks to APO, I am able to carry forth my ideas and speak comfortably with others better than I ever thought I could, and that is something I know I will carry forward through my future.