Alpha Epsilon Phi ~ AEΦ
Open Motto: “Many hearts. One Purpose.”
Colors: Green and White
Flower: Lily of the Valley
In 1909 - at Barnard College - seven Jewish women met to form a "club" that would later become known as the sorority Alpha Epsilon Phi. In the early 1900s it was very rare for women to attend college but in 1907 Barnard College opened its doors to young ladies of well-to-do families. Helen Phillips was the one who came up with the idea of starting the group. She along with Ida Beck, Rose Gerstein, Augustina Hess, Lee Reiss, Stella Strauss, and Rose Salmowitz founded Alpha Epsilon Phi on October 24th, 1909. The women shared common heritage, interests and an appreciation for true friendship. Their goal was to form a group that would help foster lifelong friendship and provide a home away from home for its members.
Currently Alpha Epsilon Phi has over 100 chapters and over 80,000 initiated members. Although it is a Jewish sorority they are not a religious organization. According the Alpha Epsilon Phi official website "...membership (is) open to all college women, regardless of religion, who honor, respect and appreciate our Jewish identity and are comfortable in a culturally Jewish environment." Young women who are part of a legacy are given careful consideration when pledging but it is not guaranteed a bid.
Philanthropy and service are a big part of being an Alpha Epsilon Phi member. From the very beginning their focus was to assist Jewish war survivors, provide scholarships and aid in educational endeavors. While members are involved in many philanthropic projects their two official philanthropic are the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and Sharsheret.