Alpha Phi Omega is dedicated to the principles of Leadership, Friendship, and Service.
Our Fraternity was founded in December of 1925 at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. Since that time, the ideals of Alpha Phi Omega have been embraced on over 650 campuses nationwide and many more campuses internationally. Anyone who shares our desire to help our fellow man may join us. Xi Zeta is the chapter at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York.
The unofficial beginning of this chapter goes back to January, 1962. It was at this time that Myron Rapkin began to interest fellow classmates in the idea of forming a Service Fraternity. Myron had the idea once before, but it never materialized. He first found out about Alpha Phi Omega from a cousin that told him about a chapter at his college in Wisconsin. Myron had discussed his various Scouting adventures with Roger Kramer. This discussion led to their consideration of starting the Scouting Fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, on this campus. It was also discussed with other students including Dave Tan, Ron Graner, Roger Wolf, Dick Parett, and others. These discussions often took place after dinner in the Eastman Building cafeteria on Spring Street. Mr. Robert Day, who help manage the cafeteria, frequently would have to ask the guys to leave as he closed the cafeteria. It seamed that they sometimes became so engrossed in their discussions, that they would lose track of time.
A suggestion was made to organize a meeting. Shortly after, Myron posted a notice on the bulletin board in Eastman Building to find out how many people were interested.(That notice, now in the scrap book, read Alpha "Pi" Omega.) Approximately 60 interested men singed the sheet. Everyone became quite excited about the whole idea, and as Myron said "We can have a damn good time and help the school too."
Dick Parett became a very active and enthusiastic member. Dick contacted Mr. A Stephen Walls, the Director of Student Activities at RIT. Dick also spoke with a number of Scouting advisors, and attended a meeting of Mu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Omega at the University of Rochester.
The founders named their group - RIT SERVICE ORGANIZATION. Their first meeting was at noon, February 23, 1962, in room 204 on the second floor of the Eastman Building. In attendance were Mr. Walls, Dick Parett, Jack Blair and a number of other interested members, as well as an Alpha Phi Omega representative from Mu Lambda.(Mu Lambda must be given credit for advising and doing everything possible to get Xi Zeta in its feet.)
At the first meeting, tentative advisors were named and Mr. Walls, one of the first advisors, assured those present that the administration was behind this new service organization all the way.
During the few days before and after this meeting, many founders of Xi Zeta were very busy acquiring information necessary to for the beginning of a new chapter. Kevin Gilson and Dick Parett talked to Don Alloway, the district Scouting advisor, who became one of Xi Zeta's advisors. Ken and Dick, along with John Blowser, Jack Blair, and Dick Parett worked on a constitution. On the night of February 23, 1962, Jack Blair and Dick Parett met with Mr. Joseph Scanlon, the National Executive Secretary of Alpha Phi Omega. Mr. Scanlon was flying to Syracuse that night from Kansas City, and called saying that he would stop off in Rochester. It was a very snowy night, but the plane landed, and Dick and Jack met Mr. Scanlon at the airport where they talked for some time about plans for forming a chapter.
During the same quarter, smokers were held to acquaint the male students of RIT with the purpose of the Fraternity and with its future brothers. Plans were underway for the installation. Near the beginning of December 1962, John Bowser(then our corresponding secretary) read a letter from National Office stating we could open a bank account under the name Alpha Phi Omega, Xi Zeta Chapter.
Winter Quarter opened with plans for a pledge class and news regarding preparation for installation January 19, 1963 was received from National.
On January 19, 1963 Mr. Joseph Scanlon again arrived in Rochester. He immediately proceeded to the Student Union on Troup Street. From 7-10pm at the Union and from 10pm-3am in Bob Anderson's and Jack Page's apartment Mr. Scanlon gave the Executive Committee a test that shook them all up. At his direction, they gave the same test to the other brothers the next day before installation. One thing was certain, these men were going to know if they were brothers of Alpha Phi Omega. On that day, Saturday, January 19, 1963 at 5:30pm in room 125 of the Eastman Building, Rochester Institute of Technology, Xi Zeta became the 342nd chapter of Alpha Phi Omega. We were installed by the brothers of Mu Lambda Chapter, University of Rochester.
The group's first project was assisting Mu Lambda (University of Rochester's chapter) at the Red Cross International Student Dance. Later that spring, the members helped paint RIT's Student Union and were responsible for some of the first work done on the Henrietta Campus by planting trees.
Chartered since 1963, our chapter has done a lot over the years to improve campus life and school spirit. The fifth pledge class purchased the Victory Bell for the purpose of rallying the student body behind their athletic teams. The bell was installed in the Frank Ritter Memorial Ice Arena in spring of 1965, and is rung by Brothers at all of the hockey games. In later years, the chapter purchased a tiger cub, and built a bridge and a playground. Most recently the chapter has worked with the Red Cross and Special Olympics, worked on campus beautification projects, and has ushered all men's home hockey games.