By Renee Rasmussen
Alpha Phi Omega (APO), a national gender-inclusive service fraternity, is hosting a National Service Week in honor of diabetes awareness, highlighting a disease that is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
“We are really excited about this year’s focus: Diabetes Awareness,” said Q Garcia-Geary, president of the APO chapter on Catholic University’s campus. “We want to dismantle the stigma around having diabetes and provide support to anyone with this diagnosis.”
APO held a panel on November 4th with students who have lived with and experienced diabetes. It was successful in sharing important information about what it is like to live with diabetes from a student’s perspective. Two days later, APO hosted its monthly Love Letter Project where students are able to write letters to members of the community in need. The fraternity later went to Howard University’s campus for a balloon release with their APO chapter, on Thursday, November 7th. Students looking to get involved can not only attend these events, but also support APO through their own research.
“Students can get involved by researching what it means to have diabetes. It is important for us to gain more knowledge in order to reduce stigma and provide support to each other,” said Garcia-Geary. Students can also donate to diabetes research or programs that provide insulin to people in need
However, APO goes beyond this week. Throughout the semester they host many service projects including The Love Letters Project, community clean-ups, and a blood drive with Children’s National Hospital. Anyone is welcome to attend The Love Letter Project every first Wednesday of the month at 7 pm in Pryz 321, as well as the blood drive on November 20th & 21st from 11 am-4 pm outside the POD, on the first floor of the Pryz.
“We want our organization to be a community of people growing together while serving others,” said Garcia-Geary. APO is also focused on leadership development.
“We have nationally recognized training opportunities that we conduct for all members of our chapter. We also attend conferences where we can meet and network with APO members from across the country while developing leadership skills,” said Garcia-Geary.
For fun, members can often be found doing homework together in Starbucks, having game nights and potlucks, or spending time in the city together, said Garcia-Geary. At the beginning of each semester, anyone is welcomed to join APO and anyone interested in getting more involved is encouraged to follow APO on The Nest to get more information.