Back to School and Nothing to Do?

20 Aug

aepiWith school starting back up this week, I was reminiscing about my first week of freshman year in college and the activities I was involved with. One part of that week I will never forget was being asked to join the brothers of AEPi at a BBQ. I knew what the “BBQ” meant but A-E-Pi…what were these letters and why did I care?  AEPi stands for “Alpha Epsilon Pi” and is a part of Fraternity life on college campuses throughout the world. Little did I know these letters would mean more to me than I thought…

Unlike other Fraternities on campus, Alpha Epsilon Pi was founded to provide opportunities for the Jewish college man seeking the best possible college and fraternity experience. In all honesty, the Jewish part was something that I initially thought was not the biggest draw to join. In my eyes, the brothers that made up this organization were the reason to join. I realize now that the brothers’ being Jewish was what set AEPi apart from the others. I felt comfortable, I felt at home. Over the next three years I became more and more involved, eventually becoming President of the chapter in my junior year and furthering my leadership skills through involvement in other organizations such as Student Government and Hillel.  AEPi helped me to become a better leader and a better a person.

Alpha Epsilon Pi’s 100th anniversary just took place in New York and although I was not able to attend, many brothers still sent photos to me making sure I didn’t miss the highlights. It’s moment like those that make me cherish my experiences in college and make me think back to that first week that changed my life.

Fraternity and Sorority life can be a great learning experience during your college years. Quick fact: 85% of Fortune 500 Companies are run by a member of a Greek organization. I am not saying that there is a Fraternity or Sorority for every student out there, nor am I saying that joining one that is Jewish is particular the way to go. These organizations are usually strongly misunderstood by allegations that all of them haze and care more about partying than anything else. I am here to say that Fraternity and Sorority Life CAN make a huge impact on both your college and personal careers. They provide structure and environments in which intimate friendships can flourish and a place where leadership opportunities are vast. So give them a shot! There is so much going on the first week of classes and getting involved is a great way to keep busy and do something important while in college.

To learn more about Alpha Epsilon Pi click on this link: http://www.aepi.org.

Len Steinberg is the Assistant Program Director at The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee.

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