Alpha Phi Omega

Gamma Chapter at Cornell University

Lisa LaBarbera ’20

I remember feeling pretty lost my freshman year. I was overwhelmed by the campus and felt like I didn’t belong. I joined a few clubs my fall semester, but nothing stuck. I was pretty lonely. There were so many times where I almost gave up and transferred to a different school. But during my freshman spring, my RA recommended APO, so a friend of mine and I decided to rush together. Although APO had well over 400 members at the time, I was lucky enough to feel instantly welcomed and valued as a member of the organization. I remember being in awe of how some of the senior members – Jason, Sydney, Winnie, Sarah, Won Young, to name a few – were able to show up to so many APO events with such radiant energy and smiles on their faces. This organization has blessed me with the greatest big, Sophie, and some of the best littles and friends. I hope they know how much of a difference they’ve made in my life. The people here have truly inspired me to get more involved on campus, participate in service and learn about leadership while giving as much to the Cornell community as I can. Now that my time at Cornell is coming to an end, it’s strange to think that I am now one of the senior members that I once looked up to. Looking back, I can only hope that I’ve made a fraction of the same positive impact that they’ve made. No matter what background you come from or what major or year you are, I hope people know they have a place here at Cornell where they can truly be themselves. And to all the new members who join this semester, I can’t wait to meet you and welcome you with open arms.