(The following is excerpted from CEO Jim Fleischer’s address to the 107th Supreme Council of Alpha Epsilon Pi)
Those of you who know me well know that I am not prone to panic, drama, or over-exaggeration. Those of you who aren’t that familiar with me will just have to believe that is the case. Given that, please take my following words very seriously.
I fear that AEPi — and the Greek system as a whole — may be on the precipice of the most challenging era for fraternities since the Vietnam War. Greek systems are beginning to crumble at some universities and the members are not fighting it. Fraternity chapters are on the defensive, and, again, membership is sometimes choosing to quit rather than fight.
This, coupled with the COVID crisis, has brought fraternity life to this monumental moment. With more and more schools choosing to go online, fraternity membership may take another hit.
First, to our undergraduate Brothers, let me say that I appreciate your passion about all of these issues. Your concern for justice and fairness is phenomenal and is exactly the kind of thing that we would hope can create real and meaningful change in Greek Systems and our society.
AEPi, and our Brothers, have often been at the forefront of social change over our 107-year history. Our Brothers led the way to bring refugee Jews to the United States after World War II. Our Brothers were among the initial American supporters and financiers of the state of Israel. Our Brothers were among the leaders of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. More recently, our Brothers and our fraternity have helped push society’s envelope in terms of LGBTQ+ issues and inclusive Jewish leadership. Since 1913, AEPi has led.
We must continue in that tradition. Fight for a better campus Greek System as an AEPi. Fight for social justice causes as an AEPi. Fight for bystander intervention as an AEPi. Fight for equality as an AEPi!!
Don’t do these things in spite of being an AEPi.
For years, we’ve said that the fraternity is a learning laboratory which allows our undergraduate members to hone their skills before going out into the world. Now, is the time to put those skills to use on your campus and in your communities.
AEPi’s mission is to train the future leaders of the global Jewish community. Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, is a central tenet of our fraternity. Let’s show the world that is exactly what we are doing. Be a leader in all of your local communities. Contact the International Office and we will help you find the right way for your chapter to do so.
Our mission – to develop the future leaders of the world’s Jewish communities – relies on us having leaders.
It’s time to help us lead. I hope you’ll join me.