Jacqueline Ford, president of the new public policy fraternity Kappa Alpha Omega (KOA), wanted to establish a community for students interested in public policy at the University of Maryland. With the support of the School of Public Policy and others, she did just that.
Ford and the group’s vice president, Serena Saunders, enlisted the help of Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies Nina Harris, Director of Undergraduate Studies Jennifer Littlefield and the six other KOA executive board members to plan several events for their first rush this fall to recruit new members. Some of their events for the fall include pledge meetings, professional development opportunities and philanthropy events. The group hopes to expand more in the spring.
“Find your nest” is a motto that the fraternity strives to live by as both Terps and public policy students. The members described “nest” as not only a home, but also a representation of some of their pillars. KOA encourages students to understand the importance of networking, having enthusiasm, giving back to the community and transforming themselves into leaders.
The group’s values include respect, integrity and grit. Saunders says she plans to apply her grit as she becomes more involved in grassroots organizing, advocacy work and election reform.
Following the fall rush events, KOA now has 27 new members. One of the members, Samuel Rosen, says he sees KOA as an opportunity to, “build a community with like-minded people.” He eventually wants to go to law school and he says public policy is the right fit for him. Policy intersects all areas and KOA offers students the chance to grow as leaders in their fields of interest. Ford says she is interested in health and public service, so she plans to intersect both into health policy.
KOA’s original chapter is at the University of Michigan, and it was brought to the University of Maryland this year. The members of KOA noted that everyone at SPP is welcome to join the fraternity. Students in other majors, various graduating years, graduate students and alumni are welcome. For more information, visit the KOA website.