Summer'19 Blog Posts
Beta Zeta Fall'18
Class of 2021
1. Felicity Soo
Felicity Soo wanted to find a community midst the hollow density of NYU’s population. And she found that community in APO. When I asked her about the most important thing that she feels she has gained from APO she said: “the relationships that you develop”. She continued by describing: the interactions that you make with people outside the fraternity through the service events, the interactions you make with people inside the fraternity striving to work together towards a single goal, and the interactions you make through other APO chapters. She said that you are able to connect to people in all different aspects, with her eternal smile that reminds me of lemonade in the summertime. Felicity is thankful for APO because she says that it pushes you to develop your leadership skills whether it is through positions in the fraternity or small situations that help grow you personally as a leader.
She says that she doesn’t swear, will laugh at anything and everything, sleeps until 3 pm if she has no plans and that the sacrifices her mom has made and all the hard work she has done is why she inspires her. When I asked her on what she could possibly talk about for 2 hours or give a lecture on she said: How to be happy. How to understand each other more. How to develop more meaningful relationships. How sometimes we are rooted and held down by our insecurities and unable to liberate ourselves from those insecurities to see our self-worth. How to love yourself. How to try your best in everything. How to think of long term happiness over short term regrets. Her advice to oncoming pledges is that the process is hard but it is absolutely worth it. Felicity is a rising junior from Hong Kong who is studying economics in LS.
3. Sarah Cohen
Something that you’ll learn about Sarah Cohen is that she is incredibly brave. She’s outspoken, not fearlessly, but even more admirably, pushes past her fears to speak up. She’s someone who’s rooted in honesty and using her voice as a tool for change.
Sarah joined APO because she wanted to be inspired to do service and to have a commitment to hold her up to her obligations. But her favorite part about APO is the connections with people who she would've never had the chance to meet. And how those people become friends that become resources that can help you academically or socially. She says, “APO is so nice because you have all these friendly faces.”
One thing she is incredibly proud of is her time working at a counseling center the summer before college. She was able to work with certified counselors that utilized different therapies and coping mechanisms. She said that it was challenging and amazing and helped her grow.
Her favorite memory is her first memory of her great aunt making triangle cucumber sandwiches on the beach and jumping waves. What she would say to the incoming pledge class is to sign up for as many service events as you possibly can, make sure you’re here for the right reasons, and try to meet as many cool people as you can.
2. Abbey Deena Lepor
Abbey is someone who cares deeply about APO. It seems that she is always there in the edges and of the fraternity, prepared to help with any problem and challenge. And is someone whom both pushes herself and everyone around to make APO the best that it can be.
A large part of why she’s so passionate about APO is because of the things that it gave her. Like experiencing the moments when people realize that the service that we’re doing has a meaningful impact on someone else: the revelation that “this is what APO is about”. Along with the different people that we get to meet that we might not have without APO; people that might not share our interests or be in the same major as us. And in these relationships we meet, grow, foster, and support.
Abbey is impassioned by medicine and health care. She says that she could talk about the history of medicine for hours and is fascinated by the spread of diseases and what health care was like before regulations were put into place. There’s a way that her voice softens and her eyes brighten when she tells me about the class she took on these subjects.
Her advice for oncoming pledges is that everything is worth it. The work might seem daunting, but everyone in the room has gone through the same process and is willing to help out.
Abbey Lepor is a rising senior studying Hebrew and Judaic studies and is on the pre-med track. She is also this year’s APO president!
Blog Posts were written by Fall'19 Historian Committee Member Jace Chen.
Sarah Cohen's Blog Photo was taken by Jace Chen.
Blog Posts were edited by Fall'19 Historian Iris Gao.
Beta Eta Spring'19
Major: Applied Psychology
Class of 2022
Abbey Deena Lepor
Beta Delta Fall'17
Major: Hebrew & Judaic Studies
Class of 2020
Spring'20 Blog Posts
Beta Theta Fall'19
Major: Environmental Studies
Class of 2023
Beta Eta Spring'19
Class of 2022
1. Gabi Vardanega
What does service mean to you?
“I have always struggled to respond to this question in a way that feels genuine. I think the closest answer I have is that service is essential to being human, which is not only specific to caring for others but also for our home: Earth.” Gabi Vardanega shared that service has always been the thing that roots her because she feels like her purpose is to serve others, and that it was the accessibility of service organized by APO allowed her to find a community at NYU.
Her favorite APO memory was helping DOROT coordinate their yearbook for the elderly. “At the event I talked to one of the elderly who was waiting to get his picture taken and it turned out that he was one of the first students at Gallatin!
She also loved getting to know brothers, and gives thanks to her to Daniel Hyun (big) and Cakinna Liu (twin). “They have been extremely supportive and I am so happy to have found them in the chaos of New York City.” Gabi shares that the main reason she’s chosen to stick with APO is because she feels that it is a great platform to contribute to the local communities. “An added bonus is that this service is done with APO brothers that are also passionate about service such as Rita, Sarah, Emily, Cesar, Zexuan, Jessica, Aurelia, Lillian, Elijah, Sehej, Asya, Anushka, Kathleen, etc.!! It is also always exciting to see the brotherhood continue to grow with driven pledges.” In the next 10 years, Gabi hopes to in her home country of Brazil promote environmental justice.
3. Shaikh Mahsheeat
“Service to me has always been about the people I do it for. Whether it’s working at a local soup kitchen in NYC or teaching at a community center in Cape Town, I’ve found myself intrigued by the people I work with. I love hearing their stories and learning about their struggles.” Shaikh believes that it is important for her to be able to understand people and generate a greater sense of empathy. Growing up in New York City, Shaikh finds that the communities APO work with connect to her on a more personal level. In her own words, “New York is a landmine of underprivileged communities. The wealth disparity is so great here, you’re bound to find new and different problems.” As much as she enjoyed working abroad and learning about different contexts, she finds it most meaningful to be accomplishing important work back in her homeland, and APO provides her with such means.
Her most cherished APO moments are the first conversations she had with the brothers and pledges. “Whether it be the first conversation I had with my big, my littles, or any of the other close friends I made through this organization. The first conversations were the first steps in these meaningful relationships.” She shares that the main reason she chose to stick with APO is that she loves all different components of the fraternity. Her reasons range from fellowship events and making memories with brothers to the leadership component, preparing her professionally and making her more cognizant of her actual leadership skills. “I love that we’re an organization with a purpose and do work to serve the community.” In the next 10 years, Shaikh will have turned 30, and she finds herself no quite ready to process that yet. “Maybe I would’ve gone to law school and be working at a law firm by then. But maybe not, maybe something else.”
2. Iris Gao
On March 31, the Beta Iota Chapter elected Iris Gao as President for 2020-21
“Thank you, thank you, thank you to every single person who suggested that I run, helped edit my speech, tossed potential Q&A questions at me, sent me encouraging messages before elections, spoke up for me during deliberations and sent me congratulatory wishes after elections.
I’ve managed to accomplish so much mainly due to all of the help that you have given me, whether it is support or memories that I’ll always hold close to me. When I was running for Historian I was doubting if I should. I told myself that if I could survive 10 weeks of pledging, I could definitely handle 7 minutes on the podium, and in the end I was right. Throughout college I feel that everyday surprises me. I’m always forced to jump through hurdles, make mistakes, and make really good choices: choices of my own. What I remember is that every step of the way I had people there to help me, people from APO who’ve supported me, and given me a space to grow. To me, running for President was an opportunity to give back to the community that allowed me to be the leader that I am today.
I think APO is already a really great community, and under my leadership I hope to allow it to continue to grow to be an incredible space where people can come together to laugh, to cry, to be vulnerable with, to feel safe, and to grow stronger together. As President, I want to emphasize teamwork to not only maximize each other’s potential, but also further personal development. I want to prioritize our growth as individuals, and I want the fraternity to be an asset that every member can use for self-improvement, and to move towards a more inclusive community where everyone feels they belong.
I promise to do my very best to make APO a community where everyone feels they have a place in.“
4. Anushka Shrivastava
"Service to me is thinking about others around me. It gives me a purpose and connects me to the world around me. I see the world around me as a system and service allows me to contribute to it. It allows me to use my skills to benefit my community and have a larger positive impact. APO has helped me find a community of like-minded service-oriented peers. It is like a medium that provides me with opportunities throughout the semester and helps me to inculcate service within my college life. My favorite service event was when we volunteered at a public school to set up a Halloween fest. There were lots of kids at the event and I love kids. I had a lot of fun interacting with them and helping out. I made a giant blob of slime with them and they got so excited and happy. My favorite APO memories involve hanging out with people especially my family. I got to meet a lot of great people through APO. I have found some amazing friends through APO and I love them all so much. NYU can often be chaotic, but these people are a support system I can count on <33. APO also gave me leadership opportunities which have been incredible learning experiences. I am grateful for such opportunities and the personal growth I have witnessed since becoming a part of this organization."
"For me, APO has been a space that has always welcomed me with open arms. A place that has enabled me to form meaningful relationships and friendships, contribute positively to the world around me, and improve myself. I don’t have any additional comments, but a fun fact about myself is that I am double jointed but I didn’t know I was double-jointed till I was a sophomore in college because I thought that’s how normal knees and elbows look!”
Blog Posts for Gabi Vardanega, Iris Gao, and Anushka Shrivastava were written by Sping'20 Historian Committee Member Anushka Shrivastava.
Blog Posts for Shaikh Mahsheeat were written by Spring'20 Historian Iris Gao and formatted by Spring'20 Historian Committee Grace Fu.
Blog Posts were edited by Iris Gao.
Beta Eta Spring'19
Class of 2021
Beta Thea Fall'19
Class of 2021