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  #1  
Old 08-20-2011, 12:09 PM
aridlfs aridlfs is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2011
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cultural divide

Hello,

I crossed Alpha Phi Omega in the Spring of 2010, so yes i'm fairly new. I wanted to ask ALL of my brothers in the name of Alpha Phi Omega (that includes vikes) for some suggestions.

I know this is not a racial thing, however I crossed at a co-ed but mostly white chapter. I respect the fact that we are a service fraternity and shouldn't be focusing on the social aspect but I don't feel as though we are expanding in the right way. We keep crossing more and more students but I don't think our chapter, let alone the fraternity as a whole is as cohesive as it should be. In the past couple of years we have expanded gaining more and more African Americans within our chapter which makes it kind of hard for all of us to actually come together.


I feel there is a cultural divide and i hate it. The black ppl usual lean more to doing social things and the whites usually don't except for a few. I will be assistant pledge master next semester and I want to help work on bringing the new recruits as a family and not just as individuals.

Are there any suggestions on how we can come together as a chapter, to be more of a family and not just a bunch of random people thrown together with the same letters.

thank you for your help, and please leave all negative comments to yourself

its all about the
LEADERSHIP
FRIENDSHIP
SERVICE
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  #2  
Old 08-20-2011, 02:19 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aridlfs View Post
I feel there is a cultural divide and i hate it. The black ppl usual lean more to doing social things and the whites usually don't except for a few.
All I can say is, this is NOT a black & white thing so don't make it one. Chapters at schools where there are basically no black people deal with the exact same problem (i.e., one faction wants to be more social, one faction wants to be completely focused on service) OFTEN.

Re-evaluate your pledge program and make sure it's weeding out the people who only joined because they didn't get into another GLO - whether that GLO is NPHC, NIC, or NPC. If that's why you look at APO initially, that can be fine, some great people have joined that way, but if you keep trying to make APO a substitute for "the social GLO I never had" you probably shouldn't be a member.
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  #3  
Old 08-20-2011, 02:32 PM
Senusret I Senusret I is offline
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^^^ I agree with that.

Also, it's very important to assign bigs and littles NOT just on who would get along the best, but finding pairs who would bring out the best in each other. A good big will help their little fill in the gaps.
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  #4  
Old 08-21-2011, 02:58 AM
Pingyang Pingyang is offline
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I agree with what others have said re: motivations for joining and big/little matching.

Has the chapter been growing a lot? Sometimes having lots of initiates doesn't necessarily mean the chapter is growing, but from your post it sounds like it could be, and it could be partly that the chapter culture is in a state of flux. In a smaller chapter, sometimes everyone has a chance to get to know each other well just by doing service projects together regularly, but as a chapter gets larger, it can be more challenging for people to feel like they can get to know each other just through service. Some people, particularly Brothers from when a chapter is smaller, might not recognize the need to increase fellowship opportunities as clearly as people who discovered Alpha Phi Omega more recently.

I pledged a chapter of around 100 or so Brothers and, while it doesn't sound as severe as in your chapter, we definitely had some people who were at social events constantly, others that only did the minimum requirement, some that only attended social events with the people they were most comfortable with, some that only attended fellowships that were free/very inexpensive, some that would only go to certain types of fellowships...I knew some Brothers very well and there were others I barely knew at all.

Something I always liked was going out for a meal or snack right after a service project and getting to know people better. I also enjoyed the opportunities we had to get to know each other in an atmosphere away from school - we had a campout every semester for the entire chapter and an active retreat each spring before rush. We also spent a lot of time bonding as a pledge class through sports, icebreakers, committees, meetings, and a pledge retreat - all that was fun, but sometimes I felt like focusing so much on my pledge class took away from my feeling that I was a part of the entire chapter. I think in your case, though, it might be something that you and the pledgemaster can do to start the ball rolling with people getting to know each other better in the chapter in general.

Have you spoken with anyone else about your concerns that are more familiar with your chapter and its dynamics? I feel like I'm taking a shot in the dark without knowing more about your chapter, and there are hopefully people there to help you. Have you spoken with chapter advisors (if they are around) or your Section Chair or other volunteer staff about your thoughts and ideas for improving the chapter? They might be helpful to brainstorm with. I know my chapter was always very lucky to have a strong staff presence in our section, and that's not the case everywhere, but it might be helpful to reach out to them if the option is available to you.

Good luck with the next semester! It sounds like you have a great opportunity working with pledges to help them get to know each other, and I think that could inspire the rest of the chapter to get to know each other better as well.
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