National Service Week Planning Guide


National Service Week

Students pose happily after serving food to the community and cleaning up trash in the parkAlpha Phi Omega (APO) is a brotherhood of humble, hard-working people dedicated to Leadership, Friendship and Service to others. As the largest Greek-letter organization and the largest collegiate service organization, the work of APO chapters has had significant impacts on individuals, campuses and communities. Despite that, only a small percentage of America is familiar with the Fraternity. We aim to change that.


Every year, each of APO’s more than 375 chapters are tasked with the execution of a project or group of projects based on a nationally recognized NSW theme. Chapters are encouraged to plan projects that match this theme, involve the service of the majority of the chapter’s brothers and have a significant impact on those they are serving.


Chapter participation:

  • Brings recognition to your chapter and the Fraternity nationally
  • Is an excellent recruitment tool for the chapter
  • Increases awareness of service activities at the chapter level
  • Adds value to each brother’s membership
  • Helps celebrate being part of a national organization
  • Aids the organizations and individuals impacted by the service provided


Three volunteers wearing reflective vests and picking up litter.The resources below were created by the National Service Committee with the goal of helping provide the chapter with planning timelines, project and partnership ideas and more! Look through these resources to help generate ideas and jump start your chapter’s National Service Week project plan.


Your chapter’s schedule may prevent you from performing a project during the specified week; however, you can still participate in NSW by hosting project(s) based on the NSW theme at an alternate time. The most important thing your chapter needs to do is organize a quality project that meets the goals of NSW and report it by the November 15 deadline.


We thank you in advance for the hard work we know you, along with your brothers, will do in the coming weeks to plan your chapter’s NSW project(s). The contents of this page are intended to help members navigate planning a National Service Week project. With your work, we bring service to our communities, recognition to our Fraternity and fellowship to our brotherhood. We look forward to seeing the results of this great work nationwide and we appreciate your participation. Should you need any help, please reach out to brothers at the chapter, sectional, regional or national level and you will find the support you need to make your project a success.


Remember: Chapters are required to report through the Chapter Officer Portal by November 15 whether they participated in National Service Week. Failure to complete this report will negatively impact the chapter’s good standing, eligibility for grants and awards, and voting status at the National Convention.



Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?
– Martin Luther King, Jr.



You must report your project (or report non-participation) by November 15. Chapter officers must submit a NSW Participation Report through the Chapter Officer Portal at This report has been one of two reports required each year since the 2002 National Convention for a chapter to remain in good standing with the Fraternity. Chapters are also required to submit a participation report for Spring Youth Service Day each spring.


Completing this online form takes just a few minutes. You will be asked to include information like how many people participated in the project, how many hours of service were performed, names of other groups involved and details of any publicity that was generated.

The origins of this annual event date back to 1979 when Dr. Stan Carpenter, Xi Omicron ’68, thought there needed to be a time when all brothers united to provide service. At a Board of Directors meeting in July 1979, National Service Chairman Carpenter moved for the Fraternity to conduct a National Service Day and promote it as “Service Day 1979 – A Celebration of Service,” and his motion was successful. Brother Carpenter would later become national president.


National Service Day was expanded to a full week in 1996 and since then, APO brothers have served together for a week each year under a common theme determined biennially at the National Convention.


There are many reasons you and your chapter should participate in NSW. Your participation:


  • Brings recognition to your chapter and the Fraternity nationally
  • Is an excellent recruitment tool for your chapter
  • Increases awareness of service activities at the chapter level
  • Adds value to each brother’s membership
  • Helps celebrate being part of a national organization
  • Aids the organizations and individuals impacted by your service


Your chapter’s schedule may prevent you from performing a project during the specified week; however, you can still participate in NSW by hosting your project(s) based on the NSW theme at an alternate time. The most important thing your chapter needs to do is organize a quality project that meets the goals of NSW and report it by the November 15 deadline.


The graphic associated with NSW includes one of the Fraternity’s symbols, the Golden Eagle, which represents APO’s leadership in volunteer service. A blue circle and the NSW program of emphasis surround the eagle’s silhouette.


Use this checklist to help plan, conduct and evaluate your chapter’s National Service Week project. This timeline is to be used as a reference and your chapter’s schedule may vary. More time for planning usually results in a more successful project, but remember that if you cannot meet these dates, you may still participate in NSW. Do not feel limited to the suggestions in this handbook. The planning of NSW is supposed to be more involved than your regular projects – stretching yourselves to reach new goals with your NSW project is part of the way NSW is not just a project, but a learning opportunity as well. Ideally, your chapter should have a special committee dedicated to overseeing the planning of your NSW project.

Early September: Choose Your Project

Determine what your service project(s) will be. Whether big or small, the service project will require planning. Use the list of
resources provided later in this handbook to inspire you as you begin to think about your project. Contact your regional service
chair and other APO alumni volunteers if you need help getting started with your chapter’s planning.


Here are some things to consider as you begin planning your project:

  • What is the primary reason you want to do this project?
  • What are the goals for this project?
  • How many brothers are available for this project?
  • What are the specific assignments that will be necessary to plan and execute this project? Make sure to list required duties and request help from brothers in your chapter.
  • What materials and supplies are necessary and how much will they cost?
  • What outside resources will be used?
  • What non-APO participants will you invite to participate? Your chapter might decide to include other organizations, community groups, faculty, staff or the family and friends of your chapter’s members.


Once you answer those questions, you’ll be prepared to do the following:

  • List the specific steps to be taken to complete this project successfully
  • Complete a proposed budget showing all anticipated income and expenses
  • List contingency procedures (if more brothers volunteer than expected, adverse weather, etc.)
  • Begin the next steps in project planning

Early October: Prepare for Outreach & Assign Project Duties

In early October, begin drafting promotional materials. Write letters to be sent to government officials requesting a NSW proclamation. Check if your regional service chair has started this process at the state level and send requests to your municipal and state governments once final drafts are complete. In these letters, explain what your chapter is doing and which groups will benefit from the project.


This is also the time to draft news releases, blog posts and other pieces of content you will publish to promote your project, as well as organize any other social outreach efforts. Make calls to people, especially non-APO participants, who may be helping with the service project. Make sure everyone involved has adequate information and any materials necessary to promote the project.


Confirm all planning duties and pre-NSW responsibilities with brothers and non-APO participants. All steps of preparation should be assigned to specific individuals. At this time, remind all participants of the date(s) of your project(s) and begin encouraging brothers and other volunteers, if applicable, to sign up for the project.

Mid-October: Publicize

All publicity efforts for NSW should begin no later than mid-October. Put information on the university website, post flyers around campus and the surrounding community and place reminders in university mailboxes. Reach out to local news reporters and community bloggers to introduce yourself and your chapter’s project. Publish updates on your chapter or region’s blog and social media platforms, if available. Be proactive in talking about the project(s) and NSW to classmates, professors and other campus organizations. The following pages discuss publicity in greater detail.

Late October: Finish Preparations

All project details should be solidified by late October. Media outreach should be ongoing and online social promotion efforts should be active.

First Full Week of November: Perform the Project(s)

NSW is always the first full week in November, and thus always begins on the first Sunday of the month before ending the
following Saturday. Ideally, your NSW project(s) should take place this week, though that is not required.


Have responsibilities for all project participants to manage.


Here are some things to remember to do for the project:


  • Designate a place for the volunteers to meet prior to the project, if applicable.
  • Have a sign-in/sign-out sheet for all volunteers, if applicable.
  • Make sure NSW organizers are easily reachable in case of questions.
  • Take pictures of the project.
  • Speak with reporters or any onlookers interested in understanding what your brothers are doing, if applicable.
  • Write down any feedback received from participants during the project for improvement next year.
  • Have fun!

After the Project: Evaluate and Report by November 15

It is important to remember reactions to this project when your chapter prepares for next year’s NSW.


Ask yourself and others questions like:


  • Did we forget anything or plan any parts of the project poorly? Examples: Was there not enough parking? Did you forget about another major campus event that left you without access to necessary rooms or outdoor spaces?
  • What did participants like about the project? What would they have changed?
  • Did you receive any feedback from the organizations/charities you worked with?
  • How could you have gotten more brothers involved?
  • What unexpected logistical issues came up that could be planned for next year?
  • How could promotional efforts be more successful next year?


While reflecting on this year’s project, you could write and submit an article about it to the Torch & Trefoil, which can be done online. Follow-up with the appropriate contacts (media, volunteers, university officials, etc.) and thank them for their support. Chapter officers must submit a NSW Report through the Chapter Officer Portal at by November 15. Reports are REQUIRED for a chapter to remain in good standing with the Fraternity regardless of whether or not the chapter did a project. Reporting is required for chapter to submit for the Fraternity’s Chapter of Excellence Award. Please be prompt.

In addition to your chapter’s brothers, your project should involve the help of external people and organizations. Remember to ask your advisors for help. Other groups on campus are also potential partners. You might consider inviting other chapters in your section and region to participate in your project (if chapters choose to partner, remember that all chapters must individually report their participation). Partnering with others increases the impact the project may have, both in terms of completed service and fellowship!

Working with other student and community groups can give brothers access to greater resources that allow for the organization of bigger and better projects. Collaborating with other organizations can provide more volunteers, promotional and outreach opportunities and creative minds during the project planning process.


Make sure to do plenty of research before calling any groups with a request for partnership. When you call, keep in mind that the person who answers the phone may not be the one responsible for volunteer activities. When you are able to speak with the appropriate person, ask questions to better understand the group’s goals and inquire about their level of interest in NSW. Maintain a record of everyone you have called, what you spoke about and/or with whom you have left messages.


In order to be prepared for conversations with potential partners, know the answers to these questions before you begin:


  • What is the project you’ll be doing?
  • What times of day/shifts are you expecting volunteers to work?
  • How many volunteers are expected to work on the project?
  • What type of education will be necessary prior to the activity?
  • Who else will APO be working with on this project?
  • What tools/items are required for this project?
  • Will everyone be working on one task? Or will there be a number of smaller tasks divided among participants? If there will be a number of smaller tasks, who will be working on each task?


It may be helpful to mention your chapter’s previous experiences working with the group you are contacting, or other similar groups with whom they may be familiar. You may also want to have a list of people in the organization that APO has worked with in the past. Have basic knowledge about APO and your chapter available, including:


  • The size of your chapter and an approximate number of service hours performed last semester or last year
  • The history and goals of NSW
  • Recent service projects the chapter has done in the community
  • Ongoing projects with other organizations that the given organization may be familiar with


It is important to be clear about the limitations of your chapter and avoid setting premature or unrealistic expectations of your role. Present your plans and requests in a confident, positive manner as you express your interest in working together for the same cause.


Below is a sample outline of a conversation you might have when speaking to other groups or individuals about NSW activities. Use this guide to help you prepare the right information for working with other groups. You should edit this outline for the specific purpose of your conversation. You can also use this guide to help draft letters to be sent to service organizations in your area.


Hi, my name is ________________ and I’m a student volunteer with Alpha Phi Omega [co-ed] Service Fraternity at _______________ College/University. We are planning our annual APO National Service Week service project for [DATE]. This year, our activities will focus on _________. We would like to explore the possibility of partnering with your group to:

  • Conduct/help with a service project at your organization
  • Provide more visibility for your group by working with you to publicize the activity/event
  • Invite your volunteers to help us in a project we have planned


A significant goal of NSW is to involve more people in our communities in service activities, especially people who might be new to service projects or who may have a particular interest in the National Service Week program theme.


Again, my name is ___________ and you can reach me at ###-#### or email me at ______. Thank you very much for your time!

At any point during your chapter’s NSW project planning process, help is available. Your advisors, alumni, sectional and regional staff are available to give you guidance, ideas, contact information and more, so don’t delay in reaching out for help.


Additionally, the Fraternity’s leadership includes a national service program chair, as well as elected regional chairs who are here to help answer questions and connect chapters with local support.



David Amelotti
[email protected]




Region A ChairAlyssa V. Wong[email protected]
Region B ChairRyan Halvorsen[email protected]
Region C ChairLucas Niven[email protected]
Region D ChairCandace Barnhill[email protected]
Region E ChairDerek Ebel[email protected]
Region F ChairMatthew J. Smith[email protected]
Region G ChairKayleigh M. Schneider[email protected]
Region H ChairSabrina N. Zurhorst[email protected]
Region I ChairJohn T. Strada[email protected]
Region J ChairJabari Ben[email protected]
Region K ChairSusan Taylor[email protected]
Region L ChairHanna M. Fuller[email protected]
Region M ChairTre Kolling, III[email protected]
Region N ChairJesse Manchester[email protected]
Region O ChairJessica Lane[email protected]
Region P ChairLuke Langner[email protected]
Region Q ChairMichael Haber[email protected]
Region R ChairAri Fleischer[email protected]


Local News Coverage

Reaching out to your local newspaper and news stations before and after your project can result in tremendous coverage of your chapter and further educate about the environment. Prior to any media outreach, you must prepare a news release and media list. Your news release will share the basic newsworthy details of your project, as well as background on your chapter and APO. Your media list will be a comprehensive list of all reporters to contact at campus and community newspapers, television stations and radio stations.

Things to Remember When Reaching Out to Press

  • Reporters will not necessarily see APO the way we do. They may not care or see the need to publish or broadcast our efforts. If one reporter at an outlet rejects your outreach, look for another, possibly more appropriate contact at that outlet.


  • Don’t get irritated with media members. Reporters can’t plan breaking news. As you have many weeks available for a conversation with media members, be as flexible as possible in order to not lose opportunities to other stories that may be more timely or require immediate coverage.


  • Be prepared when reaching out to any members of the media. Have your facts – who, what, when, where, why, and project-related contacts – available. Your contact may have questions, so be prepared to discuss both NSW and APO.


  • Respond to members of the media in a timely manner. If they have questions about NSW, it’s up to you or your designated PR person to answer them as soon as possible. Reporters have a lot of stories to cover – you need to capitalize on any time they can give you.

The Basic Steps of Media Outreach

  • Build Your Media List: Most contact information for reporters and news stations is now available online. Search the outlet’s main website for instructions on how to submit news. Additionally, reporters and editors are often avid users of Twitter, so connect with them there! While gathering the necessary contact information for relevant reporters, collect the contact information of the main news desks as well (Example: [email protected] or [email protected]).


  • Proofread: Edit every news release and email multiple times before sending them. Editors and reporters are known to dismiss  press releases and pitches with misspelled words and/or poor grammar.


  • Reach Out: Send your news release to the news editor or news desk approximately two weeks in advance with a short emailed introduction of yourself and NSW. Ask your contact in that email if they would be interested in learning more, either by email, on the phone or in person. Make it clear you want to do what is best and most convenient for the reporter that is working with you.


  • Work With Reporters: Remember that coverage can come in multiple forms, such as preview of the event, a profile on how APO members are contributing to the environment and how others can help, coverage on-site at the event by a reporter or a wrap-up report of the event with APO-provided information after the event has concluded.


  • Follow Up: If you do not hear back after your initial outreach, follow up two or three days later to ask if the individual you contacted is interested in learning more about NSW or can provide you with the name of a contact/colleague who may be interested.


  • Remind the Press: As the project nears, it is okay to send the news desk (not a specific reporter) your news release once more. Another news story reporters planned to cover may have been canceled and there may be room for a last-minute replacement.

Sample Press Release

Chapter Contact’s Name
Phone Number







Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed National Service Fraternity active on more than 360 college campuses nationwide, announced today that [DATES] will be its “National Service Week”.


“National Service Week” is one of the largest college service efforts throughout the United States. The National Fraternity’s individual Chapters sponsor campus and community projects simultaneously throughout the country both to draw greater attention to a specific cause and to involve as many people as possible in a unified volunteerism effort. This year, Alpha Phi Omega Chapters nationwide will be working to provide service in [“THEME.”] Beta Beta Gamma, the Fraternity’s local Chapter at XYZ College, is planning (announce the project you have selected and explain it. Be as specific as possible and include the time and location of where the project will be held. If you are working with other organizations be sure to mention them here as well.)


XXX Chapter of (University) was chartered into Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity on (date of charter). Since that date, the chapter has maintained a positive presence throughout the campus and surrounding community with projects such as (NAME OF PREVIOUS PROJECTS COMPLETED). The chapter has (NUMBER) members.


Alpha Phi Omega is a National Coeducational Service Fraternity — college students gathered together in an organization based on fraternalism and founded on the principles of the Boy Scouts of America. Its purpose is to develop leadership, promote friendship and provide service to humanity. Since 1925, more than 367,000 students have chosen Alpha Phi Omega, making the Fraternity the nation’s largest Greek letter fraternity.




If you would like more information regarding this topic, please contact (PUBLIC RELATIONS CHAIR’S NAME, E-MAIL, Phone Number)

Request a City or State Proclamation

A proclamation is an official declaration made as a public announcement by the government. You may seek recognition of NSW at the city and state levels by sending a request to the mayor’s or governor’s office.


Provided in this handbook is a sample letter you can send to your mayor and/or governor. Retype this on chapter letterhead, include the NSW logo and fill in the chapter’s information. Ensure that you use the proper form of address. Ask your school’s public relations office or your chapter advisors for help getting contacts in government offices if you are unable to find the information easily yourself. This information is often provided on your city’s or state’s official website.


For proclamation requests being sent to your state’s governor, work with other chapters in the same state in a coordinated effort. Sectional and regional alumni volunteers can assist you. Remember that this process takes time, so try to send your requests more than one month in advance. Make sure they have been received and are being processed or reviewed promptly and follow up with the appropriate government contacts to answer any questions they may have as they decide to accept or deny your request.


Use any proclamations you receive to leverage your NSW publicity– that is their purpose. You’ll want to receive confirmation of the proclamation early enough to be able to use it in your publicity efforts. Mention it in your press release(s), media contact outreach, blog content and communication with other individuals or groups that are working on the project with your chapter.


Whereas, Alpha Phi Omega – the nation’s largest National Service Fraternity will participate in National Service Week, an event that the Fraternity has sponsored annually since 1979; and


Whereas, this year’s theme for National Service Week is, “[THEME].” and Alpha Phi Omega chapters will be working to develop projects which will [THEME], and


Whereas, Alpha Phi Omega members seek to introduce volunteerism to individuals who might not otherwise become involved in paying tribute to those who gave so much in the past to make our lives better today, and


Whereas, Alpha Phi Omega Chapters at the [FILL IN SCHOOL NAMES HERE] will all work to promote these ideals and render service to their communities;


Therefore Be It Resolved, that [DATES] is hereby designated as “Alpha Phi Omega National Service Week [YEAR]”, in the State of [YOUR STATE HERE], and I wish all Alpha Phi Omega members a very successful week of service to their campuses, communities and the nation.

Sample Proclamation

The Honorable Joan Bipartisan
Official Address




Dear Governor Bipartisan:


In support of the spirit of volunteerism, we ask that you proclaim [DATES] as “Alpha Phi Omega National Service Week [YEAR]” in the state of [YOUR STATE]. We hope that you agree to support our efforts in this important cause.


Throughout that week, Alpha Phi Omega – the nation’s largest collegiate service fraternity – will again promote and perform service through our National Service Week. Our co-ed organization has sponsored an event like this annually since 1979. This year’s national theme is “[THEME].”


Your proclamation would help us to focus attention on the importance of helping others and the world around us, specifically through our National Service Week efforts. Such attention will also help us introduce volunteerism to individuals who might not otherwise become involved in their communities.


The primary purpose of Alpha Phi Omega, founded in 1925, is service to the campus, community and the nation. More than 500,000 people over our history have been members of the Fraternity. We are active on more than 360 college campuses nationwide, including [SCHOOLS IN YOUR STATE]. The service that the students involved in Alpha Phi Omega render is rewarded only by the satisfaction they receive in contributing to their colleges and communities, and all but a very few staff members volunteer both their time and resources in maintaining our organization.


Here at [YOUR SCHOOL], our chapter plans to [briefly describe your chapter’s National Service Week project – multiple chapters may combine efforts here).


Should you have any questions, please call me at [PHONE NUMBER] or email me at [EMAIL]. I will contact your office on [SPECIFIC DATE] to coordinate arrangements for the proclamation. Thank you so much for your assistance in this matter.









National Service Week Blogs

Does your chapter have its own blog? Blog posts are a tremendous way to spread news, announcements and stories about chapter accomplishments at no cost. You can post words, photos and videos on your chapter’s blog to get people excited and involved in NSW, report its success and share news about next year (remember that your blog can be used throughout the year to talk about ALL chapter activities). For NSW, consider posting about the following:

  • An introduction to this year’s NSW theme and your chapter’s project
  • An interview with the head of the organization/charity/group your chapter is serving (founder, president, volunteer organizer, etc.)
  • A look into the planning and organization of this year’s project halfway through preparation
  • Ways alumni and community members can support this year’s project(s) or cause
  • Introduction to the NSW committee members or brothers responsible for organizing your chapter’s project(s)
  • A look around the region/section – a post about other NSW projects happening in your area
  • If you have multiple projects occurring during NSW, share photos and daily summaries that update alumni, community members and other campus organizations on the work your chapter’s brothers are accomplishing throughout the week.
  • Don’t want to write? Make a video of interviews with project participants and candid footage of volunteers. You can edit the video footage using the basic software that comes standard on many laptops.
  • Summarize the work and results of your NSW project(s)
  • Share ways people can continue to help the organizations, charities or causes your chapter supported during the week
  • Highlight other ongoing and upcoming events or projects hosted by your chapter
  • Remind readers, especially potential pledges and members of other organizations, about ways they can get involved with your APO chapter

After you have written the press release and set up the blog, use the chapter’s social media accounts to drive attention to chapter events year-round. Instagram and Facebook are terrific for sharing photos and links back to your chapter’s blog. Use Twitter to share information and updates about your chapter’s activities and interact with other members of your campus and region.