Every chapter has a president, some vice presidents, and probably a secretary, treasurer and even a pledge trainer. Those offices, common to most chapters, are well known, as are the responsibilities that come with them. The sergeant-at-arms and the parliamentarian, while found in some chapters, are offices of mystery and uncertainty. Because of their rather unique and specific roles, many members do not know what they do. The goal of this guide is to begin to answer the question, “What does the sergeant-at-arms or parliamentarian do?”

No publication, however, can provide all the answers to that question, and because these offices vary greatly among chapters (more so than other offices), this document only talks about the very basic or common responsibilities. Accordingly, we do not attempt to cover every possible responsibility these offices could have; instead, we try to provide some guideposts as you plan your term of office. At the very least, this document should give you a better understanding of your role as the chapter’s sergeant-at-arms or parliamentarian.

It is highly recommended that during your term of office, you work on a creating a supplement to this handbook to assist the future sergeants-at-arms and parliamentarians of your chapter. Whether you use a binder, folder, or some other way of keeping the documents together, the following information should be included:

  • Chapter Bylaws
  • National Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws
  • Copies of any standing rules or policies that are used by your chapter
  • Contact information for the current section chair, region director, and chair of your chapter’s Advisory Committee

Throughout your service as sergeant-at-arms or parliamentarian, remember that you have chapter advisors and a section staff who are willing and able to assist you. Make use of their talents and experience.



  • National Bylaws Spring 2011- Under Chapter Improvement- must be logged into Website
  • Membership Policy- Under Officers
  • Chapter Assessment and Planning Session- Under CAPS Resources
  • National Pledging Standards- Under Officers
  • Pledge Manual March 2011- Under Chapter Improvement
  • Risk Management Policy- Under Managing Risk
  • APO Style Guide- Under Communications


Of course, it isn’t at all possible to cover everything about Parliamentary Procedure, parliamentarians, and sergeants-at-arms in one small handbook. But it is our hope that, at the very least, you have a better understanding of how all these work together to help your chapter do its business.

You will find that we have not attempted to provide you with an answer to every question, problem, or crisis that may arise during your tenure. Instead, we hope the guidance provided will enable you to make proactive decisions that will provide positive experiences and support for your chapter's alumni program. Remember, one of the best supports any officer can have is interaction with the previous officer and transference of information. If you feel that you have learned something in your position which could help many other officers in the Fraternity, please send your suggestions to so this manual can remain fresh and relevant


APO IMPACT Chapter Training Program was developed under the 2006-2008 National Leadership Development Committee, Ed Richter; Program Director. Many thanks to all who helped in writing, reviewing and developing this dynamic tool.