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. Rochester Insitute of Technology, located in Rochester, New York is home to the Xi Zeta chapter of Alpha Phi Omega.
The history of the Xi Zeta chapter began in 1962 with Myron Rapkin, who at the time was a student at R.I.T. Myron had a deep interest in starting a service organization on his campus. He first heard about Alpha Phi Omega from a friend who attended Ripon College in Wisconsin. Myron loved the idea of Alpha Phi Omega and its relation to scouting. Over time he discussed his various Scouting adventures with Roger Kramer, which led to their consideration of starting a chapter of Alpha Phi Omega on R.I.T.'s campus. The idea 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. The group became so engrossed in their discussions, that they would frequently lose track of time and Mr. Robert Day, who helped manage the cafeteria, had to ask them to leave as he closed.
After some time, a suggestion was made to organize a meeting. Shortly after, Myron posted a notice on the bulletin board in the Eastman Building to gauge interest in the creation of a service fraternity. (That notice can now be found in the scrap book titled Alpha “Pi” Omega.) Approximately 60 men signed the sheet expressing their interest. Excitement quickly grew around the idea, and as Myron said “We can have a damn good time and help the school too.”
To help get things started, Dick Parett, who became a very active and enthusiastic member, contacted Mr. A. Stephen Walls, the Director of Student Activities at R.I.T. and spoke with a number of Scouting advisors. He also attended a meeting of the Mu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Omega at the University of Rochester.
The newly created "RIT Service Organization" held their first meeting at noon on February 23, 1962, in room 204 on the second floor of the Eastman Building. Those in attendence included 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 the information necessary for beginning this 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 to say that he would make a stop 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, cookouts were held on campus to acquaint the male students of RIT with the purpose of the fraternity and with its future brothers. At this point plans were underway for the installation of the chapter. Near the beginning of December of 1962, John Bowser, then our corresponding secretary, read a letter from Alpha Phi Omega's National Office stating that we had permission to open a bank account under the name Alpha Phi Omega, Xi Zeta Chapter.
Winter Quarter began with plans for a pledge class and news regarding preparation for the installation that would take place.On Saturyday, January 19, 1963 Mr. Joseph Scanlon returned to Rochester. On that day at 5:30pm in room 125 of the Eastman Building at Rochester Institute of Technology, Xi Zeta became the 342nd chapter of Alpha Phi Omega. We were installed by the brothers of the Mu Lambda Chapter from the University of Rochester.
The group’s first project was assisting Mu Lambda at the Red Cross International Student Dance. Later that spring, the members helped paint R.I.T.’s Student Union and planted trees as some of for some of the first work done on the Henrietta Campus.
Our chapter has done a great amount 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 the spring of 1965, and was rung at all of the hockey games until it went out of commission in (?). 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.