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More than a Saturday morning

Pledges of service fraternity APO lead a volunteer at PVCC

Members of the University chapter of Alpha Phi Omega — a coed service fraternity — teamed up this past Saturday at the community garden of Piedmont Virginia Community College, marking the culmination of the pledge project for APO’s most recent pledge class.

The PVCC garden opened eight years ago, but proved to be less fruitful than expected. Seasonal issues arise during the summer months, when the largest harvest comes in but fewer students and volunteers are available to harvest crops and deliver them to the community.

Group pledges planned the construction of hoop greenhouses, trellises and tables, as well as the reconstruction of fence and gates, and a renovation of the irrigation system.

“Hopefully, extending the growing season will bring in more PVCC students, U.Va. students, the community and [make the community garden] much more of a hub for everyone to interact through,” said APO pledge master Meghan Smith, a fourth-year College student.

The project aims to instill skills new members can use in continued service within APO and outside the organization.

“We’re giving them a really solid foundation to stand on, but then this is their moment to shine, their moment to go out into the community and do what matters to them, and to show the brotherhood that they have the ability to continue after we graduate and are gone,” Smith said.

APO president Kylene Daily, a fourth-year College student, said the pledge project is also an important annual activity because it coincides with the return of several alumni.

“It really just is a great demonstration of how much knowledge there is in APO, how much learning there is as a group, and how much people care about it even after leaving,” she said.

For the group's newest members, the project offers them the opportunity to try their hands at fundraising, communicating with community partners and coordinating with the brotherhood.

“I’m really proud of my pledge class for being able to stick with it and not get too stressed out,” third-year College student Hannah Crockett said. “It’s been a little bit of an anxious time this past week with doing last-minute ordering of supplies and things like that, but I’m really proud of how we’ve worked throughout the semester and I’m excited to see it all pay off.”

APO has a history of working to serve a community beyond the limits of Grounds, and members hope the PVCC project will have lasting benefits for the University and the group's partners in Charlottesville.

“One of the coolest things about APO is that we really make a huge effort to get into the Charlottesville community and communicate with them about what they want and what they want to see change,” said Daily. “[We’re] only here for four years and it matters to me that U.Va. blends into the Charlottesville culture.”

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