When I first got to Hopkins, I knew I wanted to find an activity that allowed me to engage with the community. I started volunteering at many community events in high school as a requirement. However, they quickly became a fun way to meet people while collectively addressing a larger issue like environmental pollution or food insecurity. I found what I was looking for in Alpha Phi Omega (APO), Hopkins’ co-ed community service fraternity, which combines service with socializing.  

APO’s activities fall under the fraternity’s three main pillars: Leadership, Fellowship, and Service. Our chapter provides different opportunities for members to develop their leadership abilities. Some examples of leadership events I’ve gone to include skill-building presentations where they present topics like how to network, stay organized, and find internships. These are often led by juniors and seniors who exercise their leadership skills by sharing their wisdom. Additionally, I’ve gained leadership experience by participating in chapter committees and assisting with logistics for different executive board positions. This has ultimately culminated in me becoming Vice President of Service on the club’s executive board, which has been an extremely rewarding role. Working with my co-VPs has been so much fun!  

As a club fundraiser, board members got pied—definitely a showcase of leadership.

Our next category is fellowship, which is really just a way to say fun activities! Any member can host their own like a picnic on the quads, going to the 32nd Street Farmers Market, or just studying in Brody Café. 

My favorite fellowship is grabbing boba after our weekly APO meetings.

Of course, our club’s focus is on community service and it’s the aspect I’ve found most enjoyable. We work with around 20 different organizations that focus on education, environment, food insecurity, and more. This semester alone we’ve completed over 1,600 hours of service.

Some of my favorite partners to work with include Second Chance. This organization aims to provide both people and materials with a useful, purposeful life. They deconstruct buildings, salvage usable materials, and make them available to the public for sale at their retail warehouse. They use their profits to hire and train those with employment obstacles in the Baltimore region. One of my favorite employees at Second Chance is Tyree, who leads us around the warehouse to tidy up. He always knows all the details about where the reclaimed materials came from.  

AHF Food For Health Marketplace is another community partner I love to work with. They host an outdoor farmers market with fresh produce and staple food items free for all who attend. Going every Saturday has allowed me to meet other weekly volunteers outside of Hopkins.  

Unpacking produce with other volunteers to hand out at AHF’s food market.

Not only has APO been a fun way to spend my free time, but it’s also provided many meaningful experiences. By physically leaving campus and going to these different events, I’m able to spend my time engaging with other volunteers and community members. Volunteering has been the perfect social outlet for me, allowing me to connect with new people who share similar interests while serving a larger community.