AEPhi Could Come to MITBy Nicole A. Sherry
Nine undergraduate women hoping to bring a new sorority, Alpha Epsilon Phi, to MIT made a presentation to the Panhellenic Association Wednesday night. They are awaiting a decision as to whether a fifth sorority will be invited to come onto campus.
On Wednesday night, the nine women as well as representatives from the national AEPhi organization made a presentation to members of the four existing sororities. The presentation was followed by a discussion of the possibility of bringing the new sorority chapter to MIT. In two weeks, the four sororities will vote whether to extend an invitation to AEPhi to come to campus.
AEPhi was founded on Jewish principles. However, the nine women attempting to form the new chapter plan to rush without religious preference. The women hope to run the sorority like the current four, except that it would probably have a larger percentage of Jewish members, some of the activities would be directed towards promoting Jewish culture, and it would be smaller. The women would like to have around 40 members -- half the size of each of the existing sororities.
"We all want to be a full-fledged part of the Greek community in all respects," said Aliza E. Mezrich '95, one of the nine women. "It is just that we will have a little something different that appeals to us and we think would appeal to others."
The women want to start a new sorority because none of them was interested by the existing sororities, according to Jamie H. Rosenblum '96, another woman from the group. However, the women wanted to be a part of Greek-life and wanted the closeness of a sorority, she said.
"We feel that we have a common base. While there are Jewish women in other sororities and the other sororities are not discriminatory, we feel more comfortable with each other and feel that forming a sorority would give us a medium for developing our Jewishness as well as the benefits of Greek life," Mezrich said.
AEPhi's national philanthropy is the support of a rehabilitation center in Israel. The nine women have discussed the possibility of inviting speakers to discuss Jewish issues, and hope that the formation of the group will facilitate women coming together on Jewish holidays. However, Judaism will not be the sorority's main focus, according to the women. The group hopes to partake in all of the Greek activities, and will work to provide support for all of the women in the sorority, they added.
One of the main concerns of current sororities is that a fifth could reduce number of women rushing each sorority, making it difficult for the existing sororities to fill their quotas. Also, people are concerned that the group would be too homogeneous, that they may intimidate rushees, and that Jewish women may feel pressured to join.
Still, many members of other sororities support the idea. "Summarizing views is hard to do at this point but I think the general view of [Alpha Phi] is that it shouldn't hurt our rush, and that it will maybe make PanHel better by providing support for more women at MIT," said Melonie A. Hall '94, president of Alpha Phi.