ΣΑΕΠ History

After a national Jewish sorority closed its chapter at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) in the early 1990s, the Jewish women on campus felt a void without a Jewish social organization. In the fall of 1998, with the help of  Alpha Epsilon Pi (ΑΕΠ), the idea of starting a Jewish woman’s group, not necessarily a formal sorority, was conceived and executed. Several informational meetings were held at the ΑΕΠ house and at the Hillel House. The response was extremely positive, and thus, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi (ΣΑΕΠ) was born on October 1st, 1998. In the spring of 2000, the UC Davis Panhellenic Council, which was comprised of 8 national social sororities, voted unanimously to offer the first chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi associate membership to the Council. This allowed Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi to become a presence in the Greek community on campus.

The Eternal Mothers of our organization were extremely important to our formation. Our Eternal Mothers are the 6Davis3 women who were part of the founding class and continued on to graduate as some of our first alumnae: Alycia Seaman, Erin Glick, Leah Dansker, Rachel Rothfarb, Erin Barker, and Dana Miller. These women were integral in the foundation of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi and created the values that each sister still holds dear today.

The “Sigma” in our name is meant to represent “sisters of,” making us the sisters of ΑΕΠ to honor their contributions in creating this sorority. The letter Sigma (Σ) is also the 18th letter of the Greek alphabet, and in Jewish tradition, the number 18 means chai (life), adding even more meaning to our name.

In the spring of 2002, the first season of MTV’s “Sorority Life” was filmed on the UC Davis campus, featuring members and pledges of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi. Through the airing of the show, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi began to expand across the country.  We have so far opened sixteen chapters, with nine currently active chapters and six colonies. We are currently in a stage of significant expansion and look forward to growth across North America.

A National Board was started in the summer of 2002 to oversee the expansion and growth of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi as a nationwide sorority. Currently, there are eight alumnae members from different chapters voluntarily serving as the directors on the National Board. In addition to the National Board directors, the national structure of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi has expanded to include assistant directors and chapter advisors. In the summer of 2016, we hired our first paid staff member, an Executive Director. The Executive Director oversees membership expansion, financial development, and the creation of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi Foundation.

Please visit our Contact Us page to find out more about our National Board.