AEPhi Story

Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority was founded by seven Jewish women, Helen Phillips, Ida Beck, Rose Gerstein, Augustina "Tina" Hess, Lee Reiss, Rose Salmowitz and Stella Strauss, at Barnard College in New York City on October 24, 1909. Their goal was to foster lifelong friendship and sisterhood, academics, social involvement and community service while providing a home away from home for their members. "It was her [Helen Phillips'] idea and her persistence more than anything else that brought Alpha Epsilon Phi into existence," one founder wrote. "I sometimes think that some of those ties were more necessary to Helen than to the others in this group because Helen had no mother and no sisters or brothers, and to her a group of adopted sisters was more of a need and had more significance."

The dream that was born in a dorm room at Barnard College in 1909 continues to succeed, prosper and thrive on over 50 college and university campuses nationwide. AEPhi welcomes with open arms hundreds of new members each year and seeks not only to live up to the ideals and goals of its original founders, but also to exceed them.

Throughout the past century, Alpha Epsilon Phi has built upon the foundation set by our seven Jewish founders.  Today we are a Jewish sorority, but not a religious organization, with membership open to all college women, regardless of religion, who honor, respect and appreciate our Jewish identity and are comfortable in a culturally Jewish environment. 

The beliefs and goals of Alpha Epsilon Phi and our members are best stated in our Core Values Statement: “Above all else, Alpha Epsilon Phi inspires exemplary women who are: enriched by sisterhood and unconditional friendships, dedicated to selfless service and inspiring others, and committed to intellectual growth and personal development.  As a lifelong member of Alpha Epsilon Phi, I will: respect our shared heritage and traditions, exhibit high ideals and moral character, fulfill expectations and responsibilities of membership, and continually exemplify the values of beauty, strength and wisdom as embodied by the three columns of our insignia.”

Members of Alpha Epsilon Phi have continued to make the vision of our founders a high priority as seen in AEPhi’s commitment to community service and philanthropy since our earliest days, our members’ continued academic excellence and our on-going leadership training and development. 

Marking our Centennial on October 24, 2009, we returned to Brooks Hall at Barnard College and honored the memory of our founders and celebrated all that we have become and will continue to be.