In many ways, my college education was just as much through volunteering alongside brothers as much as it were in any classroom or lab. APO allowed me to live a million lives on campus, while gaining an incredible amount of respect for different student communities and the work that they do. No other organization lets you in behind the scenes of vibrant multicultural events in Duffield, powerful social justice campaigns in the Commons, dynamic performances at Bailey Hall, and into the amazing organizations that have served Ithaca for decades, all in a few years. But perhaps the most important thing about APO is that it’s a community of genuinely loving souls, and sharing this space with hundreds of brothers through four years has taught me to look optimistically into an uncertain future. APO showed me that there was no limit to what a dedicated group of caring individuals could accomplish together. No matter what the situation, it gives me faith to have shared in the lives of so many wonderful people.
My advice(s) – bring your energy, joy, and determination to serve wherever you go. Take the time to volunteer on issues that you know nothing about, and take that hour or two to learn alongside others. We have a responsibility to raise each other up. Know that what may feel simple and boring to a group of volunteers, was a task that would have placed an incredible burden on another organization already stretched to the limit on hosting the event. Take the lead on a service project with the intention of letting it outlast your time on campus. For those of you who will be graduating, remember what APO taught and gave to you. Seek to be an excellent leader, friend, and of service no matter what your next step is. What you leave behind is nothing compared to the impact that you will have. Every act of kindness matters. Finally, of course, appreciate, love, and cherish your brothers – they will be with you every step of the way and likely be friends for life.