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Pledge Reflections!

The pledges of the correspondence committee, Spring 2014, would like to use this space to reflect on their experiences over the past few months.

On Pledge Retreat:


Edward Kim:

Whenever people ask why I joined APO, I say because of the community APO has. It is enjoyable, but not too crazy. It has its own vibe. The activities we did all together and stories we shared individually reflect on the materials APO is made of. During the group activity I saw the competitive edge in pledges while having fun. This is one of the materials I look for in communities I join. I like this laid back, even somewhat careless, but quickly come together in times of need for any cause, either for fun or something serious.

After group activities, some of us drove off to nearby Cook-Out to pick up restore energy. Then, all the pledges gathered around in circle to interview each other. The scripted interview questions are organized and tailored in a way to learn the other members a bit deeper than just majors and their years. Especially, the part of the interview in which I ask two random questions gets more enjoyable as people become more creative with their questions such as “what did the fox say?” Overall, this pledge retreat was a rare and enjoyable experience. 

Hannah Kwak:

Up until the time of the retreat, I had mixed feelings and expectations for the retreat. Of course, I was excited to be spending a night and two days with the fellow pledges, to get to know them a bit better who I would be spending a lot of time with for the next three years that I have left during my journey at Duke. However, on the other side of my thought lay fear and fatigue. Do I need to go through this "getting-to-know-you" process again? Would I have fun with the people who would attend the retreat, some of who are complete strangers? 

But when we got there, I realized that the retreat was not just all about "getting-to-know-you" get-together event. Do not get me wrong, I had a ton of fun with the pledges hearing their funny, embarrassing, dangerous-life-event, love stories and seeing their red, fearless faces trying to escape the strong hold of their partners. But the next morning when we did service, raking up the leaves and cleaning up the house, when we got together as future "brothers" and did service together, that is when I realized the purpose of our get-together and the meaning behind friendship, leadership, and service. The retreat was a great bonding experience that not only brought us pledgees closer, but also helped me see value behind APO.

On Brotherhood Week:

Ellen Liu:

First of all I would like to thank all the pledges, brothers, and especially the Membership committee for making Marvel vs DC brother week a success. I can easily say that my first Brotherhood week was one of my most exciting and memorable weeks at Duke. It was great meeting new people and strengthening previous relationships. Until this week most of my APO interactions have been among the pledges, and even then typically only during our weekly meetings where most of us are quickly in and out. It was great seeing new familiar faces around campus, and Assassins was a great way to break the ice.

I feel like sometimes during the pledge process we can lose sight of building sustainable relationships in favor of quickly getting as many interviews and brotherhood points as possible. However, brotherhood week provided an atmosphere where interactions were not just purely motivated by fulfilling pledge requirements. By having pledges and brothers united under one roof talking and hanging out I felt like I was able to connect more on a personal level. Perhaps the best aspect about brotherhood week was that we were able to get out what decided to put in. I was lucky and had no midterms the week and therefore was able to attend almost all the events, and meet new brothers. On the other hand, I had others who were extremely busy but still felt like the events that they did attend allowed them to form stronger bonds.

By far the most memorable moment for me was during the semi talent show when the seniors stood up and sang Wagon Wheel together. The strength of their bond was unquestionable, and I hope that in the next couple years and brotherhood weeks I can attain that relationship with my brothers as well.

On Pledging:


Yuri Kue:

As a pledge, I was really drawn to the passion of Alpha Phi Omega for service and its strong tight-knit community. But at the first pledge meeting, I was surrounded by over 50 other students also trying to enter the fraternity. I could not fathom how I would remember the names of everyone in my pledge class; nonetheless even meet the brothers within Alpha Phi Omega.

But as I went through the pledge process, I was pleasantly surprised at how simple it was to become acquainted with everyone in the organization and always felt welcomed participating at service events. In the pledge process, every individual was equipped with a magical thing called the “pledge book,” and every pledge was required to record their personal pledge interviews within its pages. Not only did it break the awkward stages of hello, the pledge interviews jump-started conversations and became the centerpiece of many inside jokes. Furthermore, each pledge was also assigned a “Big,” a mentor who acted a personal guide and liaison between the pledge and the pledge process. Having someone who actively participated in my education of the fraternity and who was vested in my personal success, really made me feel welcomed and accepted by the fraternity. 

Gradually, through completing interviews and participating in pledge events, I came to deeply connect with its people and its service. The pledge process introduced individuals to the fraternity in small steps, careful to nurture and grow a deep understanding of the fraternity and of each other.  By completing this step into the brotherhood, I hope to continue the legacy of Alpha Phi Omega and also share the joy of leadership, friendship, and service.

Lambda Nu Chapter Blog - Posted by Daniel Ye on April 10, 2014 at 11:10pm
Brother of the Week: January 19 - January 25
Sasha is our new brother of the week! She is a senior, and is renowned within the brotherhood for her responsibility and spirited attitude. 

Name: Sasha Beatty

Year: 2014

Hometown: Ellicott City, MD

Major: History

Hobbies and Activities: Reading, baking, tv-watching, pretending to know how to play guitar

Why do you serve? I serve because it is hands-down the most rewarding experience I've had. I have a blast and I do it with friends--what better way to spend my time?

What's the theme song to your life? "Young Blood" by The Naked and Famous

Who is your celebrity crush (1 guy, 1 girl, 1 fictional)? Hmmm. Christian Bale, Nina Dobrev, and either Dean Winchester or Jon Snow (can't decide!).

What do you feel is the most enjoyable way to spend $25? Why? I'd spend it on a book, because nothing is more fun than reading about a new adventure!

What's something random that people should know about you? I recently discovered the Quokka and now I am obsessed and want one as a pet.
Lambda Nu Chapter Blog - Posted by Spencer Woody on February 2, 2014 at 2:31am
Brother of the Week: January 12 - January 18
Caroline is our first brother of the week for the semester! Caroline is a senior and long-time APO member. She is known throughout the brotherhood for her selfless service, warm personality, and awesome baked treats. Congrats, Caroline! 

Name: Caroline Taylor

Year: 2014

Hometown: Goose Creek, SC

Major: BME (minors in Bio and Cultural Anthropology)

Hobbies and Activities: Baking, Photography, Sleeping, Contemplating Exercise

Why do you serve? I love volunteering and the opportunity it provides to learn more about the Durham community

Theme Song: "The Show" by Lenka

Celebrity Crush: uhhhhh (not something I normally contemplate) JGL, Ingrid Bergman (I don't care that she's dead), and Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower (the book)

How would you spend $25: buy a friend something he/she really wants as a random surprise, because watching them get it is completely worth it 
alternate response: *good* food.  because food.

RANDOM FACT: Caroline is actually my middle name, my first name is Kelly, and when my younger sister was born my parents picked her name, Kathryn Claire, so that we would have the same initials

Lambda Nu Chapter Blog - Posted by Spencer Woody on January 26, 2014 at 5:30pm
Brothers of the Week, April 7-13 - Julia Zou and George Fan

Last week features two awesome Brothers of the Week: Julia Zou and George Fan! Julia has gone above and beyond in getting to know the pledges by participating in every Lunch Lotto this semester, and George was chosen for always be willing to go the extra mile, from giving his little a care package during midterms to helping set up and clean up at events. Way to go, Julia and George!

Name: Julia Zou

Year: 2015

Hometown: Vancouver, WA

Major: Sociology, Markets and Management Studies Certificate

Hobbies and Activities: Arts and crafts, fashion, music, drawing, traveling, Sudoku, baking, yoga, reading, photography

Why do you serve? I have been serving since I first joined National Junior Honor Society in middle school. To me, serving is the act of learning to be selfless and helping those in need. We are all capable of serving, but I serve because I care about the community and want to give back. It's the little things that count!

What's the theme song to your life? The Hamster Dance song! :D

Who is your celebrity crush (1 guy, 1 girl, 1 fictional)? Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zoey Deschanel, Andrew Garfield's character in The Social Network (Eduardo)

What do you feel is the most enjoyable way to spend $25? Why? Finding super cheap deals when out shopping and ending up buying a ton of stuff for cheap (true story over Spring Break!). I love finding deals, so if I can get more than my money's worth, I'm super content xD

What's something random that people should know about you? I skipped kindergarten, so I am a lot younger than the other people in my grade. Also...for those of you who don't know, fellow brother Helen Zou IS actually my older sister! :P

Name: George Fan

Year: 2014

Hometown: Houston, TX (although I'll be a Seattleite for life)

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Hobbies and Activities: Basketball, music, watching sports, APO, hanging out with friends, eating, chess

Why do you serve? I just like helping others. It's the feeling you get when you see someone else's day made, and you knowing that you had at least some small part in causing that to happen. That's why I serve.

What's the theme song to your life? I Believe I Can Fly by R. Kelly

Who is your celebrity crush (1 guy, 1 girl, 1 fictional)? Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jessica Alba, Barney Stinson

What do you feel is the most enjoyable way to spend $25? Why? Treating froyo with a group of friends, because food and good company is a great combination.

What's something random that people should know about you? I am currently obsessed with the board game, Settlers of Catan.

Lambda Nu Chapter Blog - Posted by Lexi Wallace on April 17, 2013 at 9:13pm
Brother of the Week, March 31 - April 6 - Jordan Jacquez

Jordan Jacquez, a newly initiated brother from the Maura Harty Fall 2012 Pledge Class, is Brother of the Week for March 31 - April 6. Here is an excerpt from his nomination: "[Jordan] is one of the brothers who knows the pledges best...and has gone above and beyond to do things for APO, including going to multiple events (esp. as a driver), purposely asking pledges to interview him to help them with their requirement, and more. He's a valuable addition to the fraternity and it's a shame he will be leaving so soon!" Congrats, Jordan!

Name: Jordan Jacquez

Year: 2013

Hometown: Houston, TX

Major: Biology

Hobbies and Activities: Tennis, Guitar, Movies, Music, Spanish

Why do you serve? I serve because I enjoy lifting the spirits of others in any way possible. I have especially loved serving with APO because I get to participate in a large variety of service events (with an awesome group of brothers!), and interacting with the community members outside of Duke really helps give me perspective on life. I like to think that I am making a difference in people's lives, and I am aware of the "bigger picture," but the appreciation, smiles, and friendly nature of those I have served is what I will never forget!

What's the theme song to your life? Lie in Our Graves by Dave Matthews Band (if we're talking lyrics); B***h, Don't Kill My Vibe by Kendrick Lamar (if we are going by the title alone)

Who is your celebrity crush (1 guy, 1 girl, 1 fictional)? Christian Bale, Jessica Biel, Daenerys Targaryen

Favorite word in the English language? perturbation

What's something random that people should know about you? Patrick Swayze, a famous actor, was once calling out my name and helping my mother look for me at a theater in Houston. My mom was interviewing him when somebody passed out, people started panicking, and I got lost in the crowd!

Lambda Nu Chapter Blog - Posted by Lexi Wallace on April 17, 2013 at 8:57pm
Brother of the Week, March 24-30 - Dennis Chou

Dennis Chou, a newly initiated brother from the Fall 2012 Maura Harty Pledge Class, was selected as Brother of the Week for organizing and rallying his team during last week's Brotherhood Week! Congrats, Dennis!

Name: Dennis Yu-Hua Chou

Year: 2015

Hometown: Danville, CA

Major: Biology

Hobbies and Activities: Listening to music, reading, running long distance, traveling abroad, board games, card games, teaching/tutoring, learning how to do new things

Why do you serve? I serve because I can. :] I'm not the smartest or the most capable person, but being able to help others who are looking for help makes any day a lot brighter. I also strongly believe that anything that an individual excels at can be used to contribute to the people and places around him/her. In particular, I love teaching/tutoring because I enjoy learning, and teaching others really challenges me to know my material well. I especially enjoy working with ESL students (like the dedicated tutees in GANO tutoring!) because I have gone through the challenges of learning English as a second language myself.

What's the theme song to your life? River Flows In You by Yiruma

Who is your celebrity crush (1 guy, 1 girl, 1 fictional)? Joseph Gordon-Levitt ("Inception" and "Looper" were both pretty awesome), Sofia Vergara (in "Modern Family"), and Philip Pirrip "Pip" (from Great Expectations)

Pet peeve? People who ramble on and on/think they have a lot to say when they actually don't (sorry XP)

What's something random that people should know about you? My parents named me Dennis after the Denny's restaurant they went to for their first date >_<

Lambda Nu Chapter Blog - Posted by Lexi Wallace on April 4, 2013 at 5:17pm
Brothers of the Week, March 17-23 - Tina Tian, Allison Shen, & Lexi Wallace

Despite the delay in creating the blog post, the winners of the Brother of the Week award for March 17-23 are nevertheless fantastic! Tina Tian and Allison Shen, members of Lambda Nu's membership committee, have been instrumental in organizing the weekly Lunch Lotto program, which allows brothers and pledges to meet and enjoy meals together. Lexi Wallace was also selected for stepping up to drive pledges and brothers to the pledge retreat earlier this semester. Thanks for your hard work, Tina, Allison, and Lexi!

Name: Tina Tian

Year: 2014

Hometown: Queens, NY

Major: Public Policy Studies

Hobbies and Activities: Volleyball, ballroom/latin dance, music, art

Why do you serve? I have been blessed with many gifts in life, and I want to share those gifts by helping people in any way I can. I love to make/see people smile!

What's the theme song to your life? Hit Me With Your Best Shot - Pat Benatar

Who is your celebrity crush (1 guy, 1 girl, 1 fictional)? Matt Bomer, Angelina Jolie or Shakira, Neal Caffrey (from White Collar)

Guilty pleasures? My TV shows (and subsequently Netflix). Because I just can't stop. Oh, and Espresso Chip ice cream from Ben and Jerry's. Because I don't want to stop.

What's something random that people should know about you? I'm currently obsessed with Pitch Perfect. If you haven't seen it, you should go watch it RIGHT NOW.

Name: Allison Shen

Year: 2014

Hometown: Garden City, NY

Major: English

Hobbies and Activities: APO, reading, writing, literary magazine, music

Why do you serve? A lot of reasons! Superficially/selfishly, it's fun for me, even when it's not with other people, and it gives me satisfaction because I feel as though I have something worthwhile to offer. Less superficially, I think you have a responsibility to help other people if you can. I don't have a perfect life -- no one does -- but there are so many people around me who have done so much for me, and I think it's important to pay that forward.

What's the theme song to your life? White Sails by Marques Toliver

Who is your celebrity crush (1 guy, 1 girl, 1 fictional)? Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Amy Poehler, Remus Lupin

Guilty pleasures? Degrassi (terrible, but so addictive, Nickolodeon cartoons (SPONGEBOB), and old Disney shows (Lizzie McGuire, you rock, don't ever change).

What's something random that people should know about you? In the spirit of brotherhood week -- Lilo and Stitch is my favorite Disney movie! That said, GO TEAM POCAHONTAS!

Name: Lexi Wallace

Year: 2013

Hometown: Phoenix, AZ

Major: Environmental Science and Policy

Hobbies and Activities: Walking in new places, cooking, ukulele-ing

Why do you serve? I try to live by the Golden Rule, and service is the the Golden Rule in action.

What's the theme song to your life? Feeling Good as sung by Muse

Guilty pleasures? Top Chef marathons, Lady Gaga, and when my vegetarian will breaks, salmon

What's something random that people should know about you? "If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lambda Nu Chapter Blog - Posted by Lexi Wallace on April 1, 2013 at 3:35am
Brothers of the Week, Feb 25 - March 3 - Lee Hightower & Kristina Hallam

This week's Brother of the Week award is shared by two awesome bros: Lee Hightower and Kristina Hallam!  Lee was selected for stepping up and leading the Little Blue Devils Basketball project at E.K. Powe Elementary School while the project head was away, and Kristina was chosen for her masterful coordination of volunteers for the Triangle Day School Auction. Congrats Lee and Kristina!

Name: Lee C. Hightower

Year: 2nd Year Grad

Hometown: Berkeley, CA

Major: Divinity

Hobbies and Activities: Cooking, painting, networking, volunteer service, social justice advocacy

Why do you serve? Service is the touchstone of my faith.

What's the theme song to your life? What a Feeling by Irene Cara

Who is your celebrity crush (1 guy, 1 girl, 1 fictional)? Paula Patton, Storm (X-Men)

What is your spirit animal? Golden Eagle

What's something random that people should know about you? I prefer sleeping on couches instead of beds.

Name: Kristina Hallam

Year: 2014

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Hobbies and Activities: APO! Baking, Running, Watching TV

Why do you serve? Simply put, I serve because I want to help others. Also, it has been a rewarding experience in my life because I've been able to help those in need, and I've been able to learn a lot about myself in the process. It can certainly be a humbling experience, and it has given me the chance to meet people that I probably wouldn't get the chance to meet on a daily basis in my life as a college student.

What's the theme song to your life? Texas by George Strait

Who is your celebrity crush (1 guy, 1 girl, 1 fictional)? Brad Paisley, Kristin Chenoweth, Dr. Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap

What is your spirit animal? Turtle

What's something random that people should know about you? My favorite article of clothing is socks, followed by shirts with frockets (front-pockets).

Lambda Nu Chapter Blog - Posted by Lexi Wallace on March 7, 2013 at 4:53pm
From the Front Line - Tenting 2013

Jenni Mercado reports on her experience tenting for the Duke-UNC basketball game on February 13, 2013, with fellow APO bros.

My motivation for black tenting was the desire to be able to actually see this year's game. I white tented last year, in the illustrious tent 97, and was crammed into the very end of the front row for a game I saw about a third of. It was fun, for sure, but I wanted a longer, more worthwhile experience and most importantly I wanted to be able to see. So, after a bunch of people expressed interest in setting up an APO tent or two, Tent Q (or APO's black tent) was born, and I was on my way to a decent seat in Cameron for the game on February 13th.

Actual "black tenting" only lasted for the first week, but it felt like quite a bit longer. We had our first casualty two days in when Sam got sick. Tent captain Tammy Liaw exempted him from night shifts in the tent until he got better (for good reason - ten people were required in the tent each night, and illness would have spread quickly with a couple of sneezes). The other issue was our "tent structure," which was required by Kville rules to be some sort of tarp/pole structure that did not come prepackaged. We spent a ridiculous amount of money (and time, in the rain) trying to set that monster up. In the end, there was enough room in the middle for Kyle, our tallest tent member, to stand up. Our tarp was also briefly tied down, but it kept pulling out of the ground so we ended up just tucking the tarp under the wooden platforms we had used to keep ourselves off the grass and mud. This somewhat worked, but wind pulled the tarp up and rain gathered on top, pulling the tarp down. The first couple of days were rough for the people sleeping closest to the entrance of the tent, since they ended up getting the brunt of the wind and rain. I slept further in, so my time out was never that bad. I ended up sleeping out 6 of the 7 days of black tenting, and I weathered the cold with a borrowed sleeping bag and a Batman onesie. The first week wasn't as cold as the following weeks, so those days were relatively present. Plus, ten people sleeping together in a small space (even as big as ours was) was cozy and fun. We had a good time chatting and joking around before going to sleep, and even though it was a bit of a tight fit, we enjoyed ourselves.

With week came the tent-ocalypse. The fire martial decided that our "tent-structures", that we'd been required to make for black tenting, had to come down and be replaced by pre-packaged, guaranteed fire resistant tents. So all that money we poured into our tent-structure in hopes of having it last the entire tenting experience was gone, and off we went in our 24 hour grace period to purchase another tent. We found a nice 9-person tent on Amazon, and through the magic of Amazon Prime shipping we had it in time to put up before our first night back in Kville. The only problem? It was raining and freezing that day, so we had to put up our new tent while inside our tenting structure. It was a bit of a struggle, but we worked it out so that we didn't get soaked while setting it up. Our new tent was a good fit for the 6 people that had to sleep out for blue tenting, and that was a good thing because of the weather. It quickly got colder, and there were many frigid nights spent huddled up together for warmth. Sam was also feeling better by this point, but Bryan and Kim got sick too so Tammy set up a system to try to make shifts as fairly distributed as possible. By the time white tenting started, we had a nice rhythm going, and going to the tent for a shift was as normal as going back to my room. After a couple more mishaps with weather (including one with a collapsed and then flooded tent, with several sleeping bags still inside), we made it. Suddenly it was p-checks, or personal checks, and our time in the tent was over. We all made it through tenting and p-checks. Tent 25 pride!

Would I tent again? Absolutely. A lot of my memories from tenting are bad ones, it's true; we spent a lot of time struggling with putting up or reassembling the tent in the rain and mud, freezing even through our many layers, losing feeling in our hands while trying to finish homework in the weak lamplight, and waking up sore and stiff from sleeping on wooden boards. But so many of my other memories are hilarious ones. We have a bunch of inside jokes from our late night ramblings ("Are tacos the staple food of Puerto Rico?"). There were a couple late night binge food runs to Cook-Out and McDonald's. Overall, it was like a sleepover everyday with people I cared about and it was an amazing time. I'll definitely be doing it again next year.

Tent 25 forever! <3

Lambda Nu Chapter Blog - Posted by Lexi Wallace on February 26, 2013 at 10:43pm
Brother of the Week, Feb 18-24 - Tammy Liaw

Tammy Liaw was selected as this week's Brother of the Week for taking care of the new pledge class (which is GINORMOUS) and coming up with ways to improve the pledge interview format and requirements to suit the brotherhood's needs as it grows.  Way to go Tammy!

Name: Tammy. or tamster. tamtam? t-swiz?

Year: 2014

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia whatuppp

Major: Mechanical Engineering / Religion minor

Hobbies and Activities: APO, acapella, music, reading, cooking, coffee

Why do you serve? I serve because I want to give back to the community and the people who constantly give to me. I like being a resource that people can go to when they need help and knowing that I have abilities that I can offer to people.

What's the theme song to your life? Uh. Err. Dumb Ways to Die...?

Who is your celebrity crush (1 guy, 1 girl, 1 fictional)? Johnny Depp. Emma Stone? Captain Hook from Once Upon a Time :)

Superhero name? Bambi the Super Stripper

What's something random that people should know about you? I am a dragon.

Lambda Nu Chapter Blog - Posted by Lexi Wallace on February 24, 2013 at 6:13pm
Brother of the Week, Feb 11-17 - Chris Podracky

Chris Podracky was selected as this week's Brother of the Week for his outstanding work planning the spring rush process. Congrats Chris!

Name: Chris Podracky

Year: 2015

Hometown: Middletown, NJ

Major: Chemistry

Hobbies and Activities: Taekwondo, (watching) Basketball, Service

Why do you serve? My high school required us to do service, and I fell in love with it. I realized that I had been given a lot and the next logical step was to share that with others.

What's the theme song to your life? Too many possibilities. Probably something classic rock (Bruce, Clapton, Pink Floyd). That or dubstep.

Who is your celebrity crush (1 guy, 1 girl, 1 fictional)? Matt Damon. No comment. Catwoman.

If you could be an animal, what would it be? Kangaroo

What's something random that people should know about you? Chlamydia is my favorite STD (because I research it and totally do not have it).

Lambda Nu Chapter Blog - Posted by Lexi Wallace on February 17, 2013 at 5:31pm
Brother of the Week, Feb 4-10 - Christine Shen

Name: Christine Shen

Year: 2015

Hometown: Foster City, CA

Major: Biology

Hobbies and Activities: Playing the Ukulele and Horseback Riding. I also volunteer at the Duke Hospital every week and get to make arts and crafts with super cute kids! (:

Why do you serve? Service became really special to me when I realized that just a few hours of my time could really help people out or make someone's day. I think it's also a great way to get my mind off of trivial things and focus on others.

What's the theme song to your life? Oh gosh... I can't really think of one off the top of my head that encompasses my life. If I had to go with one probably Chinese by Lily Allen. I loove her.

Who is your celebrity crush (1 guy, 1 girl, 1 fictional)? Ryan Gosling, Natalie Portman or Emma Watson, Mr. Darcy

If you could eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Those mandarin/tangerine (can't tell the difference) cuties

What's something random that people should know about you? (From Christine's roommate Mona) What's that show that you like? Storytime Village? Oh no...that's not right...oh Adventuretime!!

Lambda Nu Chapter Blog - Posted by Lexi Wallace on February 8, 2013 at 6:44pm