Fraternity and Sorority Students Answer the Call for Israel Education on Campus
by Andrew S. Borans
From August 6-8, international Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) will play host to 85 university student leaders from across the world in Phoenix, AZ. After a three year hiatus, AEPi has teamed up with The David Project, The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Israel on Campus Coalition, Hasbara Fellowships, Jewish National Fund, and Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority in the relaunch of its Israel Amplified program – a unique Israel education and advocacy conference specifically designed for fraternity and sorority leaders. The potential for impact has never been greater. We are so excited that these amazing student leaders, both Jewish and non-Jewish, have decided to spend a piece of their summer break learning about the role they can play in bringing a positive conversation and better understanding about Israel onto their university campuses.
The situation between the Israelis and Palestinians, as well as Israel in the global forum, continues to remain a hot-button issue on many college campuses. And in the last ten years years, Israel education has become a significant part of the campus experience for many Jewish students. Still, the organized Jewish community on campus struggles to educate their peers about Israel, build campus coalitions, and finds themselves in a scramble to identify allies when they learn an Israel divestment resolution will be presented at the next student government session.
As the only college fraternity with chapters in the State of Israel, Alpha Epsilon Pi prides itself as being one of the leading collegiate voices in Israel education and activism, and we have identified a unique opportunity to bring many other influential voices into the fold.
The Israel Amplified Conference is a three day summit designed specifically for students involved in their campus Greek Community. Participants will have the opportunity to join other outstanding fraternity men and sorority women from all over the world to learn about Israel and how to effectively tap into the strategic networks within the Greek Community, and bring a conversation about Israel to campus. Seminars will be taught by esteemed scholars and Israeli officials, student peer leaders, and leading experts on Israel education and campus activism.
These men and women of the fraternity and sorority community represent the largest coalition of student leaders in the world. The Greek Community is made up of hundreds of thousands of university students seeking the best possible college experience through leadership enrichment, networking, career development, friendship and social action. At the core of Greek life, however, is the desire to inspire our members how to be positive role models and ever contributing members of society. I have been involved in fraternity and sorority development for over thirty years and am constantly reinvigorated when I see students standing up for a meaningful cause.
The Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, in particular, is dedicated to developing the future Jewish leaders of the world, while serving as a link between high school and career. Part of this mission involves educating our members about Israeli history as it relates to the Jewish people, as well as the broader global community. In the last three years alone, the Alpha Epsilon Pi Foundation has awarded over $770,000 in grants to a wide variety of initiatives and programs that have all directly, and indirectly, impacted Jewish students all around the globe. We are excited to see what they will do in the coming years.
I am thankful for the commitment and dedication our Israel Amplified participants have already expressed to a cause that is so important – Israel education. I know that these few days will prove meaningful and inspirational.
Andrew S. Borans is Executive Director for the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity and Executive Vice President for The Alpha Epsilon Pi Foundation, Inc.