When I was a freshman at Northeastern University, I joined Alpha Phi Omega because I wanted to be part of a community of students who enjoyed giving back to their community and spending time with each other. I liked that through APO I could volunteer while making memories with my brothers. When I decided to transfer colleges, the hardest goodbye was the one I said to my APO brothers. Therefore, when I transferred to New York University in Spring 2022, the first club I contacted was NYU’s chapter of APO.
During my first semester as a brother of Beta Iota, I was a little disoriented because I had to acclimate to new service events and remember the names and faces of my new brothers. I was so excited to make friends, but sometimes I got overwhelmed at fellowship events because I wanted to talk to everyone at once and did not know where to start. However, what eased my transition was how welcoming the brothers were to me. They took time to greet me by name and talk to me to get to know me at events, which I really appreciated.
In the beginning of joining Beta Iota, I was homesick for Northeastern APO and the family that I had left behind. I felt sad that I did not have a big at Beta Iota. However, I soon realized that if I wanted to make the most of my time at Beta Iota I had to let go of my past at Northeastern APO and instead embrace my present APO experience and opportunities. I was fortunate to have my first friend in Beta Iota (and my first friend at NYU!!) be my brother Ruo. Since I did not have a big brother or sister to give me a nickname, Ruo named me “Penguin '' after she saw me do a happy dance that reminded her of a penguin while we were getting ramen at Karakatta. With my nickname, I finally felt confident enough to get a letter jacket. Getting a letter jacket made me feel emotional. Prior to transferring to NYU, I was worried about finding a community like Northeastern APO. Once I wore my letter jacket, I really felt like I was part of the NYU community. I was even lucky enough to have my brother Sohee take photos of me in my letter jacket!
When I joined Beta Iota, I did not need to go through the pledge process because I had already gone through it at Northeastern. This factor was a double-edged sword because not pledging again gave me more free time to focus on getting acclimated to NYU classes and community, but it also meant that I did not have a pledge class to bond with and was on my own when it came to making Beta Iota friends. Fortunately, in Fall 2022 I decided to attend some rush week events and to sign up to have pledges interview me.
This was a great decision because it not only helped me to meet more brothers, but it also made me eligible to pick up a little! I am grateful to all the brothers who encouraged me to start my own family and pick up a little. I loved the big/little events as a way to get to know the amazing pledges and was so happy when Pledgemaster Emily told me that Sandy was my beautiful little! Thanks to a suggestion from my brother Jaclyn, I decided to make my family nicknames bird themed and I gave Sandy the nickname “Puffin.” Getting my little was a special moment because it meant that I could create a legacy at Beta Iota that would live on even once I graduate. From not knowing a single Beta Iota brother to becoming head of my own family, I am grateful for how much I have grown as a brother of Beta Iota!
I was fortunate enough to be selected by President Sabrina to take over the Interchapter chair position in October 2022. Ever since I joined APO as a freshman at Northeastern, I had always wanted to be on e-board. As the Interchapter chair, I feel proud to represent Beta Iota and think that brothers from other chapters are so lucky to get to meet our awesome brothers and pledges! I remember at meetings how I used to be too nervous to speak, and now I see my growth in that I can now make announcements at chapter with confidence. This confidence comes from the acceptance I feel from my Beta Iota brothers, which means the world to me, and from President Sabrina and Pledgemaster Emily giving me lots of excellent advice on my Interchapter chair responsibilities.
I would encourage transfer brothers to come to Beta Iota with an open mind and to embrace the tight-knit community that we have here. I would recommend getting involved in a committee, which is an excellent way to learn how different aspects of Beta Iota function as well as to see how a chair position functions. Finally, I would say that if you want to get to know a Beta Iota brother, ask them on a boba date! They will never say no to boba :)
Mary *Penguin* Carolonza
Beta Nu, Spring 2022
Interchapter Chair | Fall 2022