The Collegian
Friday, March 01, 2024

Richmond APO chapter to host regional conference on campus

The University of Richmond chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity, will be hosting the organization’s regional conference this weekend on campus.

Richmond’s chapter will be welcoming around 160 representatives from chapters at colleges and universities in Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Washington, D.C., said Molly Sandborn, one of APO’s conference chairwomen.

“There is a great opportunity to meet brothers from all around the region and develop those networks,” said Amy Shick, president of APO. “It’s a nationally recognized organization, where you can say ‘I’m an APO brother,’ and maybe that will help you with a job interview or something along those lines.”

The conference is focused around the organization’s three principles: leadership, friendship and service. The theme is “superheroes” and the slogan is “you only got four years to save the world,” a play off of the Madonna song “4 Minutes” and its lyrics, “you only got four minutes to save the world,” said Diana Reighart, APO’s conference chairwoman.

Most of the events will take place on Saturday, Nov. 7 in the Tyler Haynes Commons. The conference will include workshops on leadership, a keynote address from John Ottenad, the APO national president, a Carytown Burgers and Fries food truck, a banquet in the Heilman Dining Center and performances from various a cappella groups and the Embody Dance group, Reighart said.

Service projects will also take place over the course of the day. These include making comic books and donating them to Friends Association for Children, a Richmond-based children’s enrichment program, whose partnership with APO is the longest standing philanthropy partnership on campus, Reighart said.

The other service project will be assembling care packages for the homeless with various items to help prepare them for potential job interviews, Sandborn said.

Richmond’s APO chapter currently has 94 members, and 51 pledges, Shick said. Nationally, APO is the largest collegiate fraternity in the United States, according to their website.

Richmond was selected to host the regional conference at the APO national convention last year in Chicago, Shick said.

APO’s former president attended the convention and placed a bid for Richmond to hold the regional conference. She proposed ideas for a theme, workshops and service events, Shick said.

Reighart and Sandborn then began planning the conference last March and have been organizing the details and logistics since then.

“You have to get food waivers, parking passes, campus maps, name tags, print out your conference packets, request internet passcodes, make sure everyone will be fed and more,” Reighart said. “It's a lot to do.”

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This is the first time Richmond APO has hosted a regional conference, but in 2009 it held a much smaller sectional conference on campus, Shick said.

“Hosting it on your school’s campus,” Shick said, “the opportunities are at your fingertips.”

Throughout the year, APO also participates in service events both on campus and in the greater Richmond community. Weekly events include trips to senior citizen homes to play dominoes with them, as well as trips to BARK, a local animal shelter, to walk dogs, Sanborn said.

“I hope people make friendships,” Reighart said. “I hope people network with each other professionally. I hope people learn how to make their chapters better.” 

Contact managing editor Brooke Harty at

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