By Rafael Cenzano ’25, computer science major and president of the Epsilon Zeta chapter of Alpha Phi Omega at RPI
Last semester, the Epsilon Zeta chapter of Alpha Phi Omega (APO) at RPI hosted its fourth annual RPI Service Day, an event created to provide an easy opportunity for any RPI student to go into the Troy community and make an impact through community service.
With 93 attendees, a 40% increase from the year prior, and support from the Rensselaer Union and Rensselaer Dining, we were able to help a variety of organizations, including Frear Park, Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, Northern Rivers, and the Sanctuary for Independent Media.
We had RPI President Martin Schmidt, Vice President of Student Life Peter Konwerski, and Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Travis Apgar at check-in to meet, talk to, and support students who were heading off to volunteer in the local community on behalf of RPI.
Collectively, participants completed 349 service hours and built connections with these local organizations. At the Sanctuary for Independent Media, students helped clean and prime parts of its community center. At Frear Park, students helped clear trails to make them safer and more accessible with the help of Professor Bram Van Heuveln, an APO adviser, and his wife, Rhonda, an honorary brother. We helped sort bottles and cans for the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society animal shelter. At Northern Rivers, a school for students with special needs, students helped place mulch around the playgrounds. Lastly, on campus, students made cards for Humble Hearts for Hope, an organization that sends cards to soldiers overseas so they can write messages to send home to their loved ones.
Through the RPI Service Day, local organizations were able to quickly complete projects that would have taken a lot of time otherwise. Our event would not have been possible without the support of others. The Rensselaer Union provided transportation and hats and Rensselaer Dining donated drinks, snacks, and lunch. Many APO brothers — including Hannah Burr, Sara Seelman, Kedaar Iyer, Phebe Anne Wagner, Russell Berger, Josh Youngbar, Hannah Nardini, Jason Jacobs, and Chris Dostilio — assisted with planning, outreach, advertising, and leading individual events.