People sometimes think it’s weird that I’m joining APO as a second-semester junior. I honestly had an existential crisis at the beginning of the semester, when someone mentioned that we’d be graduating a year from now. When else am I going to be part of a community, surrounded by so many people my age? Have I already met everyone I’m going to meet? Is that it? Although I’m a part of lots of student organizations on campus, I thought It might be time to branch out a bit more. I was very involved in community service through Key Club in high school and had been thinking about joining APO for a few semesters, but these thoughts spurred me to finally jump in and do it.
Looking back, I know I made the right decision this semester; it’s almost like I’ve gotten a fresh start here at Cornell. APO has welcomed me as part of a diverse community, where I’ve met so many interesting people that think differently than I do. I find myself making time in my schedule to do as much APO as I possibly can, and have really enjoyed finding my place here over the course of the semester. Although I was initially attracted to the fellowship aspect of APO, I’m really grateful to this organization for also providing me the opportunity to give back to the community that’s given me so much over the past three years. And for anyone else thinking about pledging as an upperclassman, trust me, it’s never too late!
I pledged APO on a complete whim. One of my friends was talking about rushing, and I had remembered seeing people posting pictures from APO events online. I was hoping to meet new people on campus and make more friends. I remember meeting brothers, who would tell me how APO would be my home and I would always have a friend at any time, but back then, I was skeptical, as I knew how shy I was. Even despite the vast amount of friendly brothers however, it took me a bit before I found my home in APO. As an introvert, I had trouble starting conversations with new people or breaking out of my comfort zone. It wasn’t until my NIB semester where I found my groove. I began hosting more fellowships and getting to know new people. At some point, I found myself leaving fellowships 3 hours after they ended and showing my true colors to people. If I could go back to myself as a pledge and tell her that she would one day be on EB and speaking at GMs and putting herself there the way that I do now, she would probably laugh.
Having a community of people I can reach out to and get even more friends every semester has made APO worth it to me. I have made more genuine friends than I ever thought I was capable of having. Never did I think I could host a Smash Bros event weekly without people judging me or have a literal family that I would run around campus at night with collecting keys. Gamma has been a home for me on campus, and my only regret with APO is not pledging in my freshman year!
I heard about APO before I even came to Cornell, and as a transfer student who knew absolutely no one when I first got here, I said “Why not?” There would be days where the only people I really interacted with during my day would be events I went to as a pledge. But soon enough, APO really gave me my home here. My big, Sahana, ended up as my best friend, and soon enough everything fell into place. I became so close to so many people all because I said “Why not?” I finally felt like I belonged at Cornell. Being a family head was such a fun experience, and I remember seeing Sarah McDonald absolutely crush it as Retention Chair and hoped to be even half the leader she was. Now that I am the retention chair, I always remind myself of my beginnings here at Cornell, in this fraternity – to make a difference because you never know who’s looking for a home.
Fun Fact: I have seen Parks & Recreation 14 times.
1 – I am a sophomore in the Hotel School here at Cornell. I am from Melbourne, Florida and I am very passionate about social justice issues and love being involved on campus.
2 – I joined APO because I wanted to meet people outside of the Hotel School with a passion for service. Plus, there are plenty of people in APO, so you always are making new friends. Being in college doesn’t mean we can’t contribute to the community. I have found so many valuable organizations that I’ve worked with, both on and off- campus because of APO.
3 – I have really found a family that cares about me in APO, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. What’s really nice about APO is you have an incredible social environment, you develop strong leadership skills, and you genuinely are making a difference in the community around you.
4 – The most memorable experience I had in APO was definitely during Family Wars last semester. We were running around campus in the freezing cold, but we had so much fun, I didn’t even notice. I got to meet so many people in my family (go Royals!!) and it was a wonderful bonding experience.
Fun fact: I am ambidextrous!
Sara Jumabhoy ’19
“When I pledged APO my Sophomore year, I was extremely shy. I barely spoke during group interactions and was too scared to go to events by myself. I joined APO as I had always been involved in community service and was struggling to find this at Cornell. As time passed, I made friends and became more confident in meeting new people, and eventually found my home here. Through my big and one of my siblings, I was encouraged to go to more events, and felt extremely supported and loved. Today I find myself an active member of the brotherhood. While I joined solely for the service aspect at first, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I found some of my best friends for life through this organization. I can’t imagine my college experience without APO.”
Fun Fact: Sara has watched Mamma Mia the musical 8 times on Broadway
Amrit Higorani ’20
“In case you don’t know me, I’m Amrit “Still Here, Still Causing Problems” Hingorani! I’m originally from Brooklyn, NY and at Cornell I study Biology and Nutrition in CALS. I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie so I love going on adventures and trying out new things such as cliff-jumping, mountain climbing, and exploring uncharted areas. At Cornell, I dabble a bit with other activities but APO is my main squeeze and I devote most of my time at APO events or stalking Docubro in search of other events to go to. I love meeting new people and getting to know them better so if you see me around at an event or on campus, feel free to say hi! I don’t (usually) bite!”
“I joined APO at first because I heard about it from friends and while I liked the service aspect of it, I wasn’t sure I was going to stick with it. Yet, I am so glad that I did because the people I have met are so amazing and do such cool things. The service that APO provides is what makes me get out of bed every morning and the fellowship with other brothers is what keeps me going throughout my day. APO has given me a home on campus and countless fond memories such as playing light-up Frisbee at midnight, throwing paper airplanes in Duffield, and having deep talks with other brothers at the wee hours of the morning. I joined this fraternity to give back to the community but really this group has given me more than I ever dreamed or hoped for. All I can say is thank you for my brothers for being such amazing people and I can’t wait to see what our chapter accomplishes next!”
Fun Fact: Amrit once almost got arrested for doing barrel rolls down a jet bridge in China!
Winnie Ho ’19, President of APO Gamma for 2018
“I was a casual member of APO. I almost dropped it. But then I started to do lots of service off campus, went on a service learning trip abroad in Peru. I just poured my heart into service and the amazing Ithaca community. It’s been a year since rushing, and I went from doing no service to all the service…My goal is really to give people the chance to find the meaningful service everyone wants to do, going from casual volunteers to active citizens. I think everyone has a little spark in them that wants to save the world.”
Fun Fact: She once accidentally quarter carded to a 40 year old man in Undergrad Admissions.
Kevin Chou ’17
“As a transfer, your first semester after transferring sucks at Cornell. I had a squad of other transfers, but it was hard to make friends besides them. I felt like an outsider, not on equal footing.The thing with APO that struck me was that with such a big organization, you have the chance to make friends across so many different years and majors. There were people I met that I didn’t become close with until APO. It has a way of letting you meet so many random people who are also involved in APO. I was in Seattle, at a conference, and after asking what some of the other people what they were involved in, we realized we were all in APO. It’s funny how APO comes back into my life when I least expect it.” – Kevin Chou ’17
Fun Fact: When he was 5, he suggested to his mother that they name his baby sister “Patrick,” after the Spongebob character.
Cierra Beck ’18 and her little, Rebekah Westerlind ’20
“I was family head two semesters ago, and I’m so proud of Rebekah for her work as family head this semester. She’s been working SUPER hard to make sure everyone in the family feels welcome, which is definitely a challenge in the larger families. She’s also been so enthusiastic with our new family members, including going to the pledge meetings in a full on super suit (and walking around on campus to get to the pledge meetings with her super suit). She has so much love for APO and our family, and I’m so lucky that I get to call her my little.”
Fun Fact: Both Rebekah and Cierra can lick Rebekah’s elbow.