Jim’s Journal: From Strength to Strength

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you.

We’ve made it through one of the toughest years in history as Brothers who are committed to AEPi, our mission and our survival. A year ago, as we were staring down just the second month of lockdown, our fraternity underwent a truly remarkable transformation. We moved to virtual programs and began making plans for campus re-openings with almost no idea what was going to happen.

Our traveling consultants made plans not to travel but committed to working with our undergraduates via Zoom. Our AEPi Foundation staff canceled a slew of events and pivoted to virtual alumni networking events. Our housing staff worked to make our houses safe and equipped with the appropriate cleaning supplies and PPE.

My senior staff and I met with our dedicated volunteers on the Supreme Board of Governors, the Finance Committee and the ESPONDA Board of Directors to make contingency plans for worst case scenarios.

Honestly, I had no idea what was going to happen.

It’s been a tough year…there’s no doubt about that. But, working together with our undergraduate and alumni Brothers, we have made it through the the 2020-21 school year in pretty good shape. I’m proud of the way that our staff has responded. I’m prouder, too, of the way that our chapters have responded.

Even in the face of the pandemic, AEPi has continued to grow. In the last year, we have launched new chapters at Vanderbilt, Kennesaw, Santa Barbara, and in the city of Tallahassee, Florida. Imagine the commitment it takes to our mission and our fraternity to commit to building a new chapter of AEPi without even having the opportunity to safely gather! I am beyond proud of these young men who have taken these steps to build a Jewish home away from home on those campuses and in those communities.

We’ve continued to see the ugly specter of antisemitism rear its head on campuses and online throughout the year but, again, our undergraduate Brothers have very often risen to the challenge to make their campus communities places of tolerance and peace. In Israel, our Brothers organized a philanthropy campaign to allow Jews in the diaspora the opportunity to have notes placed at the Kotel, At schools like Cal Poly – SLO, Rutgers, and Iowa, our Brothers have stood in the face of antisemitism and developed campus programs which reflect our values and clearly demonstrate that we are accomplishing our mission — to develop the future leaders of the world’s Jewish communities.

Even in the face of a global pandemic, we have persevered. That’s our history, our heritage.

To our Brothers who are about to graduate in the coming days and weeks, let me be among the first to wish you a hearty Mazel Tov! You, too, have overcome these difficult times and have reached a monumental pinnacle in your life. While your undergraduate days may be behind you, your days of being a Brother of Alpha Epsilon Pi are just getting started. I hope you will continue to stay involved with AEPi as a volunteer and take advantage of all of the networking and Brotherhood events that we have to offer. As a first step, let me remind you to register for the AEPi Business and Professional Network (BPN), where Brothers from across the world can post about job and internship opportunities as well as share advice and support each other.

May we all continue to go from strength to strength. I can’t wait to see many of you this summer. Look for announcements about summer programming and convention coming soon. Until then, please stay safe and healthy.