More than 200 Alpha Phi Omega members from 12 universities attended the annual APO Sectionals Conference, held this year on March 23 at Georgetown, to discuss service issues and leadership strategies.

This marks the first time Georgetown has held the conference since 2005.

According to APO Vice President of Finance David Lizza (COL ’15), the chance to interact with APO members from other schools is one of the most important elements of the conference. Other participating schools included George Mason University, the University of Maryland and Howard University.

“Our chapters don’t have too much interaction, but when we host or attend an event, we get to see some faces of the other chapters, which I think is important for collaborating and spreading ideas, whether it be for service or leadership or fundraising,” Lizza said.

The Georgetown APO Chapter funded the conference using proceeds from tickets, which cost $26 for undergraduate members and $31 for alumni. In addition, the organization used membership dues and supplemental funding from the Georgetown University Student Association, APO alumni and sponsors including Wingo’s, Mai Thai and Aveda Salon and Spa.

The Georgetown APO leadership said that the conference was worth the cost.

“It is a huge opportunity for us to showcase Georgetown University and the Center for Social Justice, to promote the work we do on campus and in the community and to offer training to improve the service programs APO runs throughout the greater D.C. area,” 2012 APO President Tom Barnes (SFS ’13) said.

APO alumna Maura Harty (SFS ’81), former Make-A-Wish Foundation Mid-Atlantic Chapter CEO and former State Department Foreign Service officer, gave the conference’s keynote address. Harty spoke about her time as a member of APO and how those values have translated to her professional experience.

Conference workshops featured approximately 25 presenters, including APO alumnae and speakers from ESCAPE, the After School Kids Program, the D.C. Schools Project, GUSA and Students of Georgetown, Inc.

“We find it important to interact with other organizations on campus to facilitate a better understanding of each other’s service efforts and a discovery of a commonality of goals,” Conference Chair Anastasia Taber (COL ’13) said.

Attendees said that the variety of speakers gave valuable insights and offered different perspectives.

“My biggest takeaway was the wide array of different techniques or methods we can use to achieve one common goal and how there is not necessarily a right or wrong answer for how to do service,” Dana Suekoff (COL ’16) said. “We need to adjust to meet people’s needs if we are going to get something done.”

In addition to workshops, the conference involved leadership activities and reflection discussions promoting the APO values of leadership, friendship and service.

“Speakers on fellowship and leadership explained to us how we can work toward these themes in our undergraduate work as well as how to continue those values after we graduate,” Lizza said.

Overall, APO members said they were proud of how the conference unfolded.

“We portrayed a very positive view of the university and what it has to offer,” Lizza said. “All the members worked really hard to make sure that it ran smoothly and it did.”

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