Extending the left hand in True Friendship
Forty years ago today, your National President was ushered in the fellowship of Alpha Phi Omega as a wide-eyed sixteen year old, steeped in its ideals and principles through the crucible of the initiation rites. LEADERSHIP, FRIENDSHIP and SERVICE were, then, just abstract philosophies repeated as a mantra in the course of instruction, yet to be tested in the anvil of time and practice.
Forty years, hence, the ideals of LEADERSHIP, FRIENDSHIP and SERVICE still ring true in our hearts and minds, hopefully with the same dedication, passion and enthusiasm as when we were first instructed We have always advocated that a true LEADER is one who is first and foremost a faithful follower — a servant to the will of the brothers and sisters, as reflected in the directives of the General Assembly and the Board of Directors. A true leader listens and discerns what is heard. We pledge to listen to the whisper of the silent majority as this is the wisdom of the collective whole. Though we resolve not to be distracted by mindless innuendoes and denigration, we pray that we be granted the wisdom to separate the senseless from the sensible and to extract from a seeming morass of trivia whatever nuggets of constructive criticism which may serve us in good stead as we perform our duty to our great fraternity/sorority.
To our esteemed adversaries and even those who diverge from our beliefs, perceptions and intentions, we extend the hand of FRIENDSHIP, secure in the thought that, as all must be well-intentioned, we can work together to insure that our distinguished assemblage will be prepared to meet the challenges as we move towards the centenary of Alpha Phi Omega. We likewise extend the hand of FRIENDSHIP to our antagonists beyond the outer circle of our Great Seal, secure in the thought that together, we can be the prime movers of developing, even in small increments, a community and country committed to the principles of peace, unity and harmony.
We finally vow to devote our time and energy in developing a program of service never before seen in our history — meaningful and high-impact service projects which shall be beneficial to the fraternity and sorority, to the studentry, university and faculty, to the community and to the nation as fully participating citizens which shall do justice to our namesake as THE international service fraternity and sorority.
All of these cannot come to pass unless we realize that true reform begins with ourselves. We can only rededicate ourselves if we learn to respect one another, to be tolerant with each other, and to be respectful to all as we pledge loyalty to the institution which each of us represent. COME THEN AND JOIN US IN THIS GREAT ADVENTURE. WE PROMISE TO MAKE IT WORTH YOUR WHILE.
LUIS A. PAREDES