Jim’s Journal: Looking to 2021

In a year full of firsts, we had another one of them last night as we launched our first all-virtual Conclave and Masters Academy. As with most things over the last 10 months, the team at Alpha Epsilon Pi International has had to reinvent our programs to make them accessible and relevant for our current virtual lifestyle. I’m very proud of our staff for the way they’ve adapted to our ever-changing situation.

With the turning of the calendar over to 2021, students are heading back to campus soon — both virtual and actual – and AEPi chapters will begin to work towards recruiting new member classes and we will look to expand the fraternity to new campuses.

Can we do that now, in the middle of a pandemic? Does it make sense?

Our belief is that, now more than ever, AEPi is more than relevant. It’s crucial.

Fraternities provide a supportive community at a time when campuses may not be able. AEPi keeps our men connected to each other, their campuses, and their communities. The benefits of strengthening these bonds are even more important as many of our students are, again, looking at some or all of the coming semester being conducted virtually.

AEPi gives our Brothers the lessons in leadership and community building that they likely won’t be getting from other campus organizations this year.

Fraternity has been studied and, consistently, fraternity members are more likely to stay in school, have higher grades, and better graduation rates than students not affiliated with fraternities. This isn’t something to which fraternities aspire. This is fact.

Studies have shown that fraternity members, following graduation, are more likely to thrive than non-fraternity members, in five elements of well-being:

  • Sense of purpose in life,
  • Social connections to others,
  • Financial stability,
  • Connection to their communities, and,
  • Physical health.

Again, this isn’t something to which fraternities aspire. This is fact.

So, yes, it will likely be another strange semester (and, hopefully, things will be more normal by next fall) but we’re continuing to focus on the things which make us relevant, strong and vital to our community.

To my undergraduate Brothers, I hope to see you at #AEPiConclave soon!

Please stay safe and healthy.