Chapter Advisor Resources

WELCOME!

 

Thank you for dedicating your time, energy and skills towards supporting chapters of Alpha Phi Omega. Your leadership and service will be a driving force as the Fraternity envisions being the premier inclusive, campus-based leadership development organization through the provision of service to others and the creation of community.

 

The leaders of tomorrow are today’s college students. For students to be successful leaders, they need more than strong academic programs. They must acquire the ability to effectively work with and motivate others through the use of organization, communication and other leadership skills. To fully prepare for participating citizenship, it is critical that students learn the importance of and experience the benefits of volunteerism.

 

As students strive toward excellence and developing their skillset through service, advisors help the chapter sustain and grow. Your role is especially important because you are a mentor, motivator, coach, trainer and a stable source of resources for a chapter. Advisors supply stability to a chapter. Advisors encourage and confirm chapter officers, as well as offer support and guidance when asked. Advisors provide resources and connections to the university, to the community and to the Fraternity as a whole.

 

This resource center is intended to provide you with an understanding of the basics of being an advisor. The details of each advisor position and how to best support the chapter you advise will need to be worked out with the chapter itself. Collaborate with the members of the chapter to determine their needs and how the advisor role can best support those needs while positively impacting the future of APO on your campus. Chapters are more successful when they have a strong relationship with their advisors.

Now available on demand! introduction to advising
INTRODUCTION TO ALPHA PHI OMEGA
WHAT IS ALPHA PHI OMEGA

Alpha Phi Omega is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, but is better recognized as the largest coeducational national service fraternity in the country. With active chapters at more than 350 colleges and universities throughout the United States of America and Canada, servant leaders are being developed worldwide. The Fraternity was founded in 1925 based on the principles of the Boy Scouts of America.

WHO IS WELCOME TO JOIN THE FRATERNITY

Membership is open to all enrolled students and is as diverse as the college population itself. Each chapter, working under the National Bylaws and Standard Chapter Articles of Association, recruits its own membership, selects its leadership, and develops its service program. As the support system for chapters, advisors too are granted membership in Alpha Phi Omega, regardless of their involvement during their collegiate years.

HOW DOES A CHAPTER BECOME RECOGNIZED?

University or college approval is required for a chapter to be in good standing with the National Fraternity. Accordingly, APO charters are presented to the college or university, not to groups of students. Nationally, APO is governed by a biennial convention composed of student delegates from each chapter. Voting delegates at each National Convention consider legislation, elect several national leadership positions and set fees and priorities. The National Office in Kansas City, Missouri provides supplies and other resources and coordinates educational programs, such as leadership development workshops, service exchanges and national programs.

HOW IS THE FRATERNITY GOVERNED?

The Fraternity is administered at three levels. First, the Fraternity is governed between the Biennial National Conventions by the Board of Directors. Additionally, the Fraternity has a National Operations Council that handles the development, implementation and evaluation of the Fraternity’s programs and other administrative and operational functions. Second, there are eighteen geographic regions, each led by a regional chair who serves a two-year term. Each regional chair is responsible for supporting and promoting activities within their region. Regional conferences are held every two years to facilitate interaction between chapters and to promote motivation, idea sharing and leadership development. The regional chairs also serve on the Operations Council, along with ten program chairs who oversee the various program areas of the fraternity. Third, sections are housed within regions. Each section elects a sectional chair to serve a one-year term and usually holds one or two conferences per year. Both sectional and regional chairs can be helpful resources to chapter advisors. Advisors are invited to attend events at all levels of the Fraternity, including conferences and educational events.

ADVISORY COMMITTEE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

To help advisors navigate chapter operations, deliver quality support to members and be the best advisor they can be, below are questions that are frequently asked of or by chapter advisors.

 

AM I A MEMBER OF APO IF I’M AN ADVISOR AND DIDN’T JOIN AS AN UNDERGRADUATE?

Yes! The Fraternity offers a variety of membership types, one of which is advisory membership. Whether you found APO through the college or university, community network or other shared connection, you are recognized as a member of the organization.

 

HOW MUCH ARE MEMBERSHIP FEES? DO I OWE DUES AS AN ADVISOR?

National membership dues and fees vary based on the membership type. Understanding Membership Fees provides a helpful breakdown of those fees. Chapter dues and fees vary from chapter to chapter. Check the chapter’s bylaws for the most up-to-date information. While advisor members do not owe dues to the National Fraternity, chapters may have other requirements outlined in their bylaws.

 

WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT CHAPTER OFFICER DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES?

The Fraternity has published chapter officer guides that cater to the primary officers that can be found in most, if not all, chapters. This includes a guide for chapter presidents, membership vice presidents, service vice presidents, leadership vice presidents, pledge educators, treasurers and secretaries. Visit the Chapter Officer area of the APO website to find these resources and many more helpful chapter tools.

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE LIST OF CHAPTER ADVISORS ISN’T ACCURATE IN OFFICER PORTAL?

Chapter officers, including the advisory chair, can make officer updates in the Chapter Officer Portal. As the advisory committee ebbs and flows over time, it’s the responsibility of the chapter to be sure the list of advisors is accurately reported. Visit Chapter Officer Portal to establish an account and make updates.

 

IS THE ADVISORY CHAIR THE ONLY ADVISOR WHO CAN APPROVE THE BIANNUAL CHARTER REAFFIRMATION?

Yes. The chapter advisory chair is the advisor who oversees the advisory committee and often has the most historical and institutional knowledge among the advisor team. That knowledge is handy when the chapter president must complete the Fall and Spring charter reaffirmations, affirming the information within that form is accurate.

 

WHERE CAN I FIND THE RESOURCES LISTED IN “HELPFUL RESOURCES FOR…?”

On the APO website, APO Mobile Resource App or by connecting with officers and volunteers of the Fraternity.

 

WHO CAN I DEPEND ON FOR SUPPORT AS AN ADVISOR?

In addition to the advisory committee that supports your efforts as an advisor yourself, any chapter advisor can connect with the sectional or regional chair for more assistance and guidance at any point throughout the year. The Fraternity also has a professional team at the National Office that is happy to either connect you with local support or answer your questions directly.

 

Questions can be sent to the National Office by email at [email protected] or by phone at (816) 373-8667.

IMPORTANT DATES & DEADLINES

The advisory committee works as a team to foster meaningful connections and successful operations in the chapter, on campus and in the community. Just as the campus administration has guidelines student organizations must follow throughout the year, so does Alpha Phi Omega. Advisors should familiarize themselves with the activities, dates and deadlines below to help the chapter maintain administrative best practices throughout the academic year. The items below can be viewed and submitted through the Fraternity’s reporting platform, Officer Portal.

ADVISORY COMMITTEE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The advisory committee is intended to be a team, and no one advisor should be expected to meet all chapter needs by them self. The advisory committee description and expectations should be determined by the chapter at large, outlined in the chapter bylaws and reviewed annually to ensure they continue to meet the needs of the chapter. There are some general roles, however, that are common across advisor expectations.

COACHING AND MENTORSHIP

The members of the advisory committee serve as leadership mentors to chapter officers, as well as to other brothers within the chapter as they develop their leadership skillset. Advisors also serve as role models and encouragers, both to the chapter as a whole and to the individual members.

NETWORKING AND CONNECTIONS

The advisory committee serves to connect the chapter to resources external to the chapter, whether those are the resources of the campus, the community, Scouting and youth services or the Fraternity as a whole.

INSTITUTIONAL KNOWLEDGE

The advisory committee is also the institutional memory of the chapter, knowing what has worked in the past and what has not, as well as why. As part of being the institutional memory, the advisory committee can notice warning signs of potential problems, such as changes in members or participation, declining financial resources or problems with planning and evaluation. As a result, advisors can work with the chapter to find solutions or reach out beyond the local support team for further assistance.

VOICE OF REASON

This may be with regards to adherence to national or chapter bylaws or university policies and rules. It may involve reminding the chapter of deadlines. An advisor may help the chapter avoid committing itself beyond its resources, whether those resources are financial or in terms of time or workforce.

UNDERSTANDING THE ADVISOR POSITIONS

Students Studying in a LibraryTo maintain good standing with the National Fraternity, each collegiate Alpha Phi Omega chapter must have at least four advisors – two faculty or staff, one community and one scouting or other youth services. One of these advisors will also serve as advisory chair. Chapters may have additional advisors beyond the required four outlined by the National Bylaws. The selection, appointment and duties of these additional advisors must align both with the needs of the chapter and its bylaws.

 

Advisors should be actively involved and committed to the future success of the chapter and not just a signature on a form. Ideally, an advisor is a leadership mentor to chapter officers, a role model to chapter members, an encourager and a voice of reason. Additionally, one of the advisors should help the chapter review financial records annually.

 

Advisors cannot be undergraduate students and should be at least two years post-graduate. This helps ensure the advisor is removed enough from the undergraduate experience to guide efficiently and with experience.

 

Position descriptions and expectations should be outlined in the chapter’s bylaws and reviewed annually to ensure they remain true to the needs of the chapter. Any changes made should be discussed between the executive and advisory committees to ensure all changes have been fully communicated. This might take place during an annual joint meeting of the executive and advisory committees or during officer training sessions. Time expectations and other variables that may impact the relationship between the advisor and the chapter should be included in this discussion.

ADVISORY CHAIR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

People in Chairs Looking at Laptop

Advisors exist to support, coach and mentor members and chapters of the Fraternity while developing their servant leadership journey. As advisory chair, the main undertaking is to oversee the advisory committee and help build connections between members of the chapter and the chapter advisors. With a holistic understanding of chapter and Fraternity history, the advisory chair serves as a non-biased voice of the advisory committee and should be a non-voting member of the chapter executive committee.

 

The advisory chair should be most familiar with the sectional and regional staff and know who to contact and how to connect officers to those leaders.

 

Throughout the academic year, the presence and engagement of the advisory chair varies. Most commonly, the advisory chair can expect to do the following:

  • Attend membership ceremonies
  • Attend chapter meetings and executive committee meetings
  • Extend support to chapter members
  • Guide leaders through program development
  • Advocate for chapter growth and development

 

The main points of contact for this advisor can include, but are not limited to: chapter president, vice president of membership and treasurer. All advisors should be in contact and have a relationship with the executive committee as a whole.

 

NOTE: The advisory chair’s signature is required twice per year on the Fall and Spring Charter Reaffirmations. This form is due through the Officer Portal no later than November 15 and April 15 and is required as a part of the Fraternity’s good standing requirements (Article X, Section 8).

COMMUNITY ADVISOR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Young relaxed student working on laptop while sitting on floor at homeAdvisors exist to support, coach and mentor members and chapters of the Fraternity while developing their servant leadership journey. As advisory chair, the main undertaking is to oversee the advisory committee and help build connections between members of the chapter and the chapter advisors. With a holistic understanding of chapter and Fraternity history, the advisory chair serves as a non-biased voice of the advisory committee and should be a non-voting member of the chapter executive committee.

 

The advisory chair should be most familiar with the sectional and regional staff and know who to contact and how to connect officers to those leaders.

 

Throughout the academic year, the presence and engagement of the advisory chair varies. Most commonly, the advisory chair can expect to do the following:

  • Attend membership ceremonies
  • Attend chapter meetings and executive committee meetings
  • Extend support to chapter members
  • Guide leaders through program development
  • Advocate for chapter growth and development

 

The main points of contact for this advisor can include, but are not limited to: chapter president, vice president of membership and treasurer. All advisors should be in contact and have a relationship with the executive committee as a whole.

 

NOTE: The advisory chair’s signature is required twice per year on the Fall and Spring Charter Reaffirmations. This form is due through the Officer Portal no later than November 15 and April 15 and is required as a part of the Fraternity’s good standing requirements (Article X, Section 8).

FACULTY/STAFF ADVISOR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

A faculty or staff advisor plays a key role in the success of the chapter. Whether they act as a mediator during conversations, facilitate the scheduling of rooms at the beginning of each semester or oversee elections to ensure things go smoothly, these advisors provide hands-on support on campus. With a foot in both chapter and campus affairs, these advisors provide opportunities for a range of people to get in contact with each other.

 

As a national organization hosted by colleges and universities across the country, having a mentor and advocate on campus can serve the chapter well. This includes helping identify ways the chapter can support the needs of the campus, keeping the chapter informed and up-to-date regarding campus policies and procedures and helping officers build positive relationships with administrators and other members of the campus community.

 

Faculty/staff advisors provide support by understanding requirements for student organizations on campus and helping the chapter operate within them. The best way to get that information is to establish a relationship with the campus administrator who works specifically with the chapter, such as the associate director of Greek life or student activities, and facilitate a review of the information with them and the chapter president on an annual basis.

 

Throughout the academic year, the presence and engagement of the faculty/staff advisor varies. Most commonly, the faculty/staff advisor can expect the following:

  • Assist the chapter with booking meeting and event spaces on campus
  • Connect APO with other student organizations
  • Find speakers for leadership development opportunities
  • Conduct the annual financial review as part of the chapter’s good standing requirements
    • If a faculty/staff advisor does not wish to complete the financial review, they may assist in helping the chapter find another campus resource to do so.

 

The main points of contact for this advisor can include, but are not limited to: vice president of membership, secretary and treasurer. All advisors should be in contact and have a relationship with the executive committee as a whole.

SCOUTING OR YOUTH SERVICES ADVISOR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Happy volunteers put their hands together as a team

As a Scouting and youth services advisor, ensuring the chapter maintains a commitment to serving the youth is a top priority. This advisor should have a solid knowledge of community youth programs, as well as the needs of youth in the community surrounding the campus. This advisor is key in helping the chapter provide meaningful service for and with youth.

 

An advisor affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America or Girl Scouts of the United States of America might assist the chapter in planning events with a local area council including:

  • Merit Badge University
  • STEM badge events
  • Field days

 

Local Scout camps are typically great locations for chapter and/or officer retreats, so chapters may want to take advantage of this advisor’s potential connections.

 

The main points of contact for this advisor can include, but are not limited to: vice president of service, vice president of membership and secretary. All advisors should be in contact and have a relationship with the executive committee as a whole.

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