Alpha Epsilon Phi

Alpha Epsilon Phi
Founded October 24, 1909 (1909-10-24)
Barnard College, (New York, New York)
Type Social
Emphasis Judaic Values and Sisterhood
Scope National
Motto Multa Corda, Una Causa
Many Hearts, One Purpose
Colors      Green      White
Symbol Columns
Flower Lily of the Valley
Jewel Pearl
Publication Columns
Philanthropy Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation,
Chapters 50
Mascot Giraffe: It has the biggest heart, and its head is above the rest.
Headquarters 11 Lake Avenue Extension
Danbury, Connecticut

Alpha Epsilon Phi (ΑΕΦ) is a sorority and member of the National Panhellenic Conference. It was founded on October 24, 1909 at Barnard College in Morningside Heights, New York City by seven Jewish women; Helen Phillips Lipman, Ida Beck Carlin, Rose Gerstein Smolin, Augustina "Tina" Hess Solomon, Lee Reiss Liebert, Rose Salmowitz Marvin, and Stella Strauss Sinsheimer. The mission of Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority is "to inspire and support exemplary women dedicated to friendship and a lifelong commitment to Alpha Epsilon Phi while building on the vision of our Jewish founders."[1] It is a national sorority, meaning it has multiple chapters across the United States, rather than a local sorority, meaning it has strictly one site location and chapter. Although it is a historically Jewish sorority, it is not a religious organization and welcomes women of all religions and race who honor, respect and appreciate the Jewish faith and identity and are comfortable in a Jewish milieu to pledge for sisterhood.[2]


Out of a desire for friendship, mutual understanding and respect for the high ideals of womanhood, Alpha Epsilon Phi was founded. Seven Jewish Barnard College women met one day in 1909 to found a "club" where they could foster their aims and desires and became the founders of Alpha Epsilon Phi. At the time, not all sororities allowed Jewish women to join organizations. They were discriminated against and asked to make separate organizations. The discrimination was frustrating for Helen, above all others, and fostered the idea for forming their own chapter, promising friendship and sisterhood. The club encouraged community service, academic presence on campuses, an increased and positive social presence and reputation, and providing a "college home and family" for each of its sisters. This idea was the firm basis upon which Alpha Epsilon Phi was founded. ""It was her [Helen Phillips'] idea and her persistence more than anything else that brought Alpha Epsilon Phi into existence," one founder wrote. "I sometimes think that some of those ties were more necessary to Helen than to the others in this group because Helen had no mother and no sisters or brothers, and to her a group of adopted sisters was more of a need and had more significance."[3]

In the early 1900s a college education for a woman was quite rare. However, in 1889 Barnard College opened its door and young ladies from well-to-do families came to continue their high school studies. There were seven: Helen Phillips, Ida Beck, Rose Gerstein, Augustina Hess, Lee Reiss, Stella Strauss and Rose Salmowitz. Helen Phillips was the one who really inspired the idea of forming a club. She wanted some material thing to keep in closer contact with her friends. Helen suggested that the others meet in her room and discuss the possibilities of such a club. And so, on October 24, 1909, Alpha Epsilon Phi came into being. The other women met in Helen's room were not chosen because of any special scholastic prominence, financial circumstances or other arbitrary standards, but because they had a common heritage, shared common interests and were imbued with the ideals of true friendship. Still today are Helen, Ida, Rose, Augustina, Lee, Stella and Rose heroes and inspirations for Alpha Epsilon Phi chapters across the nation.


Crest The columns of Alpha Epsilon Phi were added in 1916, the sorority's seventh year in existence. It was decided to create a simple insignia as opposed to an elaborate crest like that of most other Greek letter organizations. Each column of the insignia holds special significance to the members. The three columns Α, Ε and Φ represent faculty approval, student esteem and sorority fidelity, in order.[4]

Gem The pearl was chosen as the national gem by the founders. They chose the pearl because of its glowing beauty gained through years of growth and the fact that it is a jewel that literally grows. "Pearls" are symbols for philanthropic events sisters participate in. Different activities or events have a different value of pearls; you earn them as you participate in philanthropies.

Badge Each woman that has progressed from new member into sister receives a 24 karat gold badge with A. E, and Φ, on the front with 27 pearls. Α has 8 pearls, Ε has 9 pearls, and Φ has 10 pearls. On the back are the new sister's initials, marking it her own.

Colors The colors of green and white were also chosen in the beginning by the founders. They represent growth and fellowship, respectively.

Flower The last symbol of Alpha Epsilon Phi which can be directly attributed to the founders is the flower. The lily of the valley was selected for its simple beauty and for the fact that it is green and white. The lily of the valley's Hebrew translation is "shoshannat-ha-amaqim."

Mascot At the 1977 National Convention the giraffe was chosen as the mascot for Alpha Epsilon Phi. It was suggested as the mascot by sisters of the Alpha Kappa Chapter at Miami University. It stands the tallest and has the largest heart.

Open Motto Multa Corda Una Causa... Many Hearts One Purpose was chosen as the open motto in the early years of the sorority because it best expressed the intentions of the founders of Alpha Epsilon Phi. Alpha Epsilon Phi sisters have a handshake to great one another, proving sister's are actual members of the sisterhood.

Tag Line In 2001, the sorority unveiled its updated image, complete with a new tag line: Above All Else. In full, the "Core Values Statement" is as follows: Above all else, Alpha Epsilon Phi inspires exemplary women who are: Enriched by sisterhood and unconditional friendships, Dedicated to selfless service and inspiring others, and Committed to intellectual growth and personal development. As a lifelong member of Alpha Epsilon Phi, I will: Respect our shared heritage and traditions, Exhibit high ideals and moral character, Fulfill expectations and responsibilities of membership, and Continually exemplify the values of beauty, strength and wisdom as embodied by the three columns of our insignia.[5]

Magazine Columns is the official magazine of Alpha Epsilon Phi and published biannually in the fall and spring seasons. It is sent to collegians, alumnae volunteers, donors, subscribers, interfraternal partners and friends, and fraternity and sorority professionals and vice presidents of student affairs on campuses with AEPhi chapters. Families contribute to Columns to sponsor philanthropic events and activities that current members, alumnae, family members, and friends can participate in from Atlantic to Pacific.[6]

Debuting as "Alpha Episilon Phi Quarterly" publication in November 1917, the magazine began with news, awards sisters' received, sisters in the media, and more. The title was changed to "Columns" in the late 1920s.[6]

National philanthropies

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (abbreviated EGPAF) is a public charity which "seeks to prevent pediatric HIV infections and to eradicate pediatric AIDS through research, advocacy, and prevention and treatment programs." The organization was founded in 1988 by Elizabeth Glaser (Sigma Chapter), Susan DeLaurentis, and Susie Zeegen (Xi Chapter). There are over 15 nations that work with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation. With more than 87 percent of the 1,000 international employees EGPAF has, the foundation is a leader in combating and eliminating Pediatric Aids.

In 1981, Elizabeth Glaser contracted HIV through a blood transfusion during childbirth. Elizabeth and her husband, Paul Glaser, later learned that she passed the virus to her children, Ariel and Jake, without knowing it. In 1988, Elizabeth and Paul lost seven-year-old Ariel to an AIDS-related illness. Immediately inspired by the love for their child, Elizabeth and Paul created the Pediatric AIDS Foundation with their friends Susie Zeegen and Susan DeLaurentis. The mother, couples, and friends summed up their intention with the mission statement: Giving hope to children and families affected by HIV and AIDS.[7]

Elizabeth Glaser pledged AEPhi while a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Young women of AEPhi across the United States carry on Elizabeth’s legacy by raising awareness of Pediatric Aids on their campuses through monthly small and annually grand philanthropic events for the community and sisterhood. Additionally, by donating much-needed funds in support of the mothers, children, and families helped by EGPAF, AEPhi’s recognized the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation as one of its national philanthropies.[7]


Sharsheret is a national non-profit organization dedicated to serving the unique concerns of young Jewish women with breast cancer. It was founded in November 2001 by Rochelle Shorentz, a Law Clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice's Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a famous sister of Alpha Epsilon Phi. After Supreme Court Justice was diagnosed with breast cancer at 28 years old and researched the rising epidemic in young Jewish women and families with Rochelle Shorentz, the two partnered together to combat over 23,000 breast and ovarian cancer cases.[8]

Sharsheret’s important contributions to women’s health, earned the organization the New York State Innovation in Breast Cancer Early Detection and Research Award, and selected as a member of the LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance. Rochelle Shorentz was brought onto the Federal Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention honorary members. In the same year, Sharsheret's motivation and drive promoted the launching of a national ovarian cancer organization.

By interacting with young Jewish families, women, and men alike, Sharsheret recognizes the increasing need for knowledge about breast and ovarian cancers. The organization hosts a variety of national events, such as the 2013 NYC Schlep: Jewish Breast & Ovarian Cancer Run/Walk, in New York City's Bryant Park.

Sharsheret is partnered with Alpha Episilon Phi off of their common love for support. Hebrew for "chain," Sharsheret acts as a link between all young Jewish women and their families, facing breast cancer at any stage, with the non-profit organization.[9]


Organizational structure

Otherwise known as Executive Board "Eboard," Alpha Epsilon Phi's Organizational Structure is broken down as follows:

President- Elected for calendar year. In charge of overseeing all of the chapters activities, reporting to advisors and other members of nationals as well as representing the sorority at Greek and college-wide events. President presides over all chapter meetings and runs executive board meetings. President oversees the activity of the Vice Presidents. President must have had prior experience on EBoard.

VP Operations: In charge of all operational tasks for the chapter and serves as the second in command. This includes maintaining the listserve, taking minutes at each meeting, taking attendance at weekly chapter meetings as well as other chapter events. VP operations is in charge of all scheduling tasks for the chapter and serves as the secretary for the executive board.

VP Standards: In charge of enforcing chapter's by-laws and constitution. VP standards deals with any judicial issues that come up with sisters of the chapter (violations of social policy, attendance or financial issues). VP standards presides over standards hearings and has members from each class who sit on standards board.

VP Finance: In charge of setting and collecting member's dues as well as financing from nationals and the university. VP Finance is in charge of setting the chapter's budget for each semester and is in charge of reimbursing chapter members. VP finance is responsible for paying anyone owed by the chapter (venues, tshirt distributors, etc.)

VP Recruitment: Organizes all recruitment events as well as the details that correspond with them (finance, attendance, etc.), voting and works with nationals and panhellenic to establish total and quota. VP Recruitment is responsible for setting up the appropriate recruitment events during an "off semester".

VP New Member Education: In charge of all new member events that occur during the "pledge process." Runs new member meetings,new member events and serves as the liaison between sisters and new members. New Member educator deals with all issues the new members may have during the pledge process and is responsible to correspond with the chapter advisor and nationals during the pledge process.

VP Programming: Responsible to set up events for the chapter with on-campus residences, the overall university panhellenic and Inter-Greek Community (IGC) boards and the sorority's national philanthropies. These include educational events as well as philanthropic events.

VP Social Responsibility: Responsible for organizing social events with other groups on campus. Responsible to enforce appropriate and legal social policy throughout the sorority. Is in charge of organizing formal and semi-formal.

Notable members

Name Original chapter Notability References
Barbara Barrie Omega, Texas actress; (Barney Miller) [10]
Lillian Copeland Xi, USC Olympic Gold and Silver medalist [11]
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Kappa, Cornell Supreme Court Justice [10]
Elizabeth Glaser Sigma, University of Wisconsin AIDS Activist and co-founder of The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation [10]
Nancy Goodman Brinker Mu, Illinois Founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Research; appointed in 2001 as Ambassador to Hungary [11]
Erica Hill Alpha Chi, Boston University CNN Anchor [11]
Bessie Margolin Epsilon, Newcomb former U.S. Department of Labor attorney [11]
Charlotte Rae Omicron, Northwestern actress; (Diff'rent Strokes, The Facts of Life) [10]
Judith Resnik Alpha Nu, Carnegie Mellon 2nd American woman astronaut [11]
Dinah Shore Chi, Vanderbilt Singer, actress and talk show host [12]
Annette Strauss Omega, Texas former Mayor of Dallas [10]
Lauren Weisberger Kappa, Cornell author, (The Devil Wears Prada) [10]
Harriett Woods Pi, Michigan former Lt. Governor of Missouri [10]

See also


  1. Alpha Epsilon Phi Mission Statement
  2. "Home." Alpha Epsilon Phi. Alpha Epsilon Phi, 2013. Web. 06 Mar. 2013.
  3. "AEPhi Story." Alpha Epsilon Phi. Alpha Epsilon Phi, 2013. Web. 06 Mar. 2013.
  4. "Phi Phacts." Alpha Epsilon Phi. Alpha Epsilon Phi, 2013. Web. 06 Mar. 2013.
  5. "About." Above All Else. Alpha Epsilon Phi, 2012. Web. 20 Mar. 2013
  6. 1 2 "Columns." Alpha Epsilon Phi. Alpha Epsilon Phi, 2013. Web. 06 Mar. 2013.
  7. 1 2 "Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation." The Foundation and Alpha Epsilon Phi (ΑΕΦ). Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, 2013. Web. 06 Mar. 2013.
  8. "Our Story." Sharsheret. Sharsheret, 2013. Web. 06 Mar. 2013.
  9. "XOXO AEPhi." Sharsheret. Sharsheret, 2013. Web. 06 Mar. 2013.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Jacobson, Judie (January 2, 2007). "Conversation with…Bonnie Wunsch Jewish sorority on the rise in CT and elsewhere". The Jewish Ledger. Retrieved 2007-03-13.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 "Alpha Epsilon Phi - Famous Phis". Alpha Epsilon Phi. Retrieved 2007-03-13.
  12. Sanua, Marianne Rachel (1994). 'Going Greek': A social history of Jewish college fraternities in the United States, 1895-1945. Columbia University.

External links

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