As the Spring Term begins at Austin College, student organization leaders are rethinking their event calendars as they recognize that Covid restrictions continue to reshape their regularly scheduled campus activities, just as they did in the fall term.
Those restrictions may have been most felt last fall with the absence of ’Roo Boo. Normally, nearly every student organization takes part in the event sponsored by Austin College’s Phi Xi chapter of the national service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega (APO). That event normally draws more than 1,200 children and parents from the local community to the trick- or-treat alternative event that offers games and activities with plenty of candy for everyone.
Since ’Roo Boo couldn’t happen in 2020 due to Covid restrictions, the group’s leadership instead held an on-campus fundraiser to benefit the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (R.A.I.C.E.S.) in San Antonio. Sophomore Madison Gilmore, the APO member who would have organized ’Roo Boo last fall, was involved in selecting the charity. Since the local event provides Sherman children a safe place to experience Halloween, she said it made sense to choose an organization that also helped children. “Here in Texas we have a large population of migrant children, so R.A.I.C.E.S. is a cause that directly impacts us,” said Gilmore, a psychology and gender studies major from Lubbock, Texas. “The population this organization helps is often neglected so we wanted to help.”
Chapter members sold Halloween-themed T-shirts on campus to raise more than $200 for the nonprofit and its work providing legal services to immigrants and refugees.
Alpha Phi Omega is a national service organization, founded on the principles of leadership, friendship, and service. The local chapter, founded at Austin College in 1970, has 75 active members. The Austin College chapter has received several national awards of excellence for service and leadership. Dr. John Richardson, professor of biochemistry and the Richardson Chair for the STEM Teaching And Research (STAR) Leadership Program, serves as the chapter advisor.