I’ve written before about how and why I ended up joining AEPi in my freshman year at Kent State. Confronted by anti-Semitism and ignorance among my peers in the freshman dorms, I knew that I needed a place where people could be like me. I walked out of my dorm, down the street and pledged AEPi.
I think it is safe to say that I had no idea that AEPi was an international fraternity (we were in Canada and the US at the time) or even that we had chapters across this country. It didn’t matter to me at the time. But, boy, did that change.
In the spring of 1988, AEPi International came to Kent, Ohio. Our chapter hosted conclave and I suddenly had a much bigger picture of what AEPi was about. I met Brothers and pledges from near and far and got an understanding that, in a lot of ways, we were all the same. Yes, my chapter was a little bit smaller than the chapters at Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan but we shared many of the same issues. I remember spending a lot of time talking and learning from my newfound Brothers.
Another important first came about that fateful weekend: this was my first introduction to anyone on the AEPi staff. I’m pretty sure that was where I first met Andy Borans, PSM Stan Odesky (z”l), PSM Steve Bernstein and PSM Jon Pierce, who was an ELC at the time. All of these men have played a huge role in my life. Who would have dreamed that a fun-filled and educational weekend would have gotten me started on my AEPi International journey? I had such a great time that I attended conclave every year until I graduated and in my junior year, we won the Midwest AEPi basketball tournament.
If you’re an undergrad reading this, I can’t encourage you enough to attend your regional conclave. Take advantage of this opportunity to meet Brothers from other chapters, learn from each, make friends and network with our AEPi International staff and volunteers.
If you’re an alumnus reading this, I’d love to hear from you about some of your memories of conclaves past We’ll share the best ones on our social media channels over the next few weeks. Send me a note at [email protected].
I’m planning on going to several conclaves. I look forward to meeting you there!