On October 24, 1909, seven Jewish women founded Alpha Epsilon Phi. These ladies gathered at the Barnard College in New York City to form a group dedicated to fostering friendships and success that would endure their entire lives. They created this organization to honor their Jewish heritage, and while there’s no religious requirement, members are expected to respect and appreciate the heritage. Faculty approval, student esteem, and sorority fidelity are the three significant notions that they hold dear.
The young AEPhi published its own magazine, “Alpha Epsilon Phi Quarterly,” in late 1917. The women changed the publication’s name to “Columns” a few years later, and it’s still printed under that title today. They release the journal in the spring and fall of each year, featuring important information and recognitions.
As the organization grew and began to spread across the country, it soon joined the National Panhellic Conference. After receiving full membership status in 1951, Alpha Epsilon Phi ranked among the 26 sororities the NPC recognizes. With this involvement came a rotation in leadership, and in 1987, Beth Kersten Saul served as AEPhi’s first chairman. She was the only Jewish woman to do so at that time. Growth for Alpha Epsilon Phi was also growth for many women of faith.
Their unique crest distinguishes the sisters of AEPhi. Whereas other sororities opt for elaborate shield designs, this group employs a simple, powerful image of columns. Three pillars each represent one letter as well as one of the three founding ideas.
Alpha Epsilon Phi members also represent the sorority using pearls, which is its chosen gem. An interesting note is that pearls start small and become much more magnificent through time and effort.
A mascot wasn’t selected until the National Convention in 1977. The group chose the giraffe because of its height and incredibly large heart, relating to the strength of sisterhood and love for one another. The sorority also has two official colors: green and white. These coordinate well with the chosen flower, the Lily of the Valley.
The badge of a sister features each of the three letters in a straight, horizontal row. A thin gold bar holds them together at the back. The letters are also made from solid gold and inlaid with 27 tiny pearls. Each letter has one more than the last, starting with eight on Alpha.
Like many other sororities, service is a large part of AEPhi’s culture. The women of Alpha Epsilon Phi support two organizations through their philanthropy and events. The first is the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. This is a public charity dedicated to the prevention and eradication of AIDS in children. AEPhi sisters Elizabeth Glaser and Susie Zeegen actually founded the charity. Glaser required a blood transfusion during childbirth and contracted HIV because of it. As time went on, she learned that both of her children were also infected, and her daughter Ariel passed away at only seven years old. The death was directly related to AIDS and moved Glaser and her husband to create the foundation.
Since its establishment in 1988, the group has spread across 15 nations. In Alpha Epsilon Phi, sisters continue to raise awareness and donate funds. The sorority holds many events throughout its various chapters, and the women strive to make a difference through the charity.
Sharsheret is the second non-profit that Alpha Epsilon Phi supports. This organization assists Jewish families dealing with breast cancer as well as the specific concerns that they may face. Aside from offering information to increase awareness, AEPhi partners with Sharsheret and hosts fundraisers and events for the organization throughout the year.
Represent the Significance
When you’re part of such a meaningful organization, you want to show it off. A stylish and unique graphic let’s the whole world see your dedication to your sisters and the grand purposes that Alpha Epsilon Phi serves.
Houndstooth Press has designed and printed beautiful shirts for over 20 years. We welcome custom orders and can help publish a design for special events or daily wear. If you’re ready to clothe yourself in special sorority apparel, call or send us a message online. We can’t wait to help you create something truly special.