The Sigma Pi Colony of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity was recolonized at the American University in Washington, DC in November of 1993. There were originally nine founding fathers: Jeff Orlove, Ben Ostroff, Matt Donoghue, Ian Grossman, Larry Schecter, Jeremy Levine, Dave Rubin, Mark Watson, and Alex Vindman. However, as a result of early political problems, the transferring of some brothers to other universities, and overall apathy within the fraternity, only Ostroff, and Donoghue remained in the fraternity until they completed four years at American.
After the founding fathers were inducted, they petitioned the university for recognition. They were invited to attend an IFC meeting, during which a vote was taken to determine their recognition status. The IFC voted unanimously (six to nothing) not to recognize the newly founded colony. Then, the IFC voted on whether or not to ban Sigma Pi indefinitely. The fraternities were split three to three, but the IFC executive board, led by Chaz Fisher, a brother of the Sigma Alpha Mu and a big dickhead, voted to ban the fraternity from campus indefinitely.
Despite the recognition difficulties, the newly founded colony began having events. The first philanthropy event that the new colony had was a day volunteering at the Washington DC Capital Food Bank. The brothers spent the day sorting cans collected from a recent Boy Scout canned food drive. In addition, the fraternity held its first social event. The brothers planned and attended a dated party at The Pasta Place, a restaurant in Georgetown Harbor. This event was extremely successful, and all of the brothers had a good time.
In the spring of 1994, the Sigma Pi colony had its first rush. By national fraternity standards, the rush was not a success. However, by the local standards of Sigma Pi, the rush was successful. There were two men inducted, Bradley Fondak and Benjamin Dedrick. Brad was the only pledge initiated. Brad became an important brother in the fraternity immediately. He quickly was elected as both Scribe and athletic chair, positions he would hold until the spring of 1996. He also later served as Lieutenet Master and Risk Management Chair.
In spring of 1994, the brothers attended their first conclave at the University of Maryland. In addition to learning a large amount about fraternity ideal and procedures, Sigma Pi gained an important ally in the Tau Mu Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi at Towson State University. The Tau Mu Chapter and Sigma Pi colony became quick friends. Sigma Pi attended an event at the Student Union on the Towson State campus. In return, the Tau Mu Chapter attended a Sigma Pi event at Quigley's New Mexico, a local bar and grill.
Around this time, Sigma Pi began to participate in intramural sports. Due to the small size of the fraternity, it was difficult for teams to be competitive. However, Sigma Pi earned its first, victory by defeating Delta Chi, one of the largest fraternities on campus, two to one in overtime during an indoor soccer contest. The brothers also participated in basketball and softball. However, the overall size of the brotherhood remained small.
In the fall 1994 semester, Sigma Pi returned to the American University campus with eight brothers. The brothers had a very strong rush. There were six official and unofficial rush events, and seven men were inducted. The brothers were pleased with their effort, but unfortunately due to various reasons only one pledge, Jeremy Malin, was initiated. Jeremy later became Master of the fraternity for the fall of 1995 semester. Once again, the brothers of Sigma Pi had a philanthropy event at the DC Food Bank, and once again, the event was successful as the brothers spent a productive day volunteering a similar capacity. The brothers had a dated party, this time at Paper Moon in Georgetown. This was the colony's most successful social event to that date.
In the fall of 1994 Sigma Pi encountered problems, founding master Larry Schecter resigned (he later transferred to USC) and Matt Donoghue became Master. Since Matt was thrust into the position of Master mid-semester he was not fully prepared for the full impact and responsibility the position entailed.
In the spring of 1995, the brothers had an unsuccessful rush. Only one pledge, Adam Gerowin, was initiated, and this was late in the semester. Dave Rubin was now Master, and there was a lot of apathy amongst the brothers. Disbanding the fraternity was seriously considered in many meetings throughout the semester. However, three brothers attended the Towson State formal, continuing our association with that Chapter. At the end of the semester, Jeremy Malin was elected Master.
In the fall of 1995, Sigma Pi came back to campus with its lowest brotherhood total, bringing back only seven brothers. They had a successful rush, inducting four rushees and three brothers initiated. The Delta pledge class of Adam Hirschfeld, Sameer Bhandarkar, and Scott Landis were to have an immediate impact. The three brothers were elected to the positions of Scribe, Lieutenant Master, and Exchequer respectively for the Spring 1996 semester. In a second rush late in the semester, nine rushees were inducted and six pledges were initiated.. With this class, the brothers developed a formalized pledge program. However, in the later part of Spring semester, four of the initiates de-pinned for various reasons, leaving Darryl Trell and Jeremy Bard as the lone members of the pledge class.
The year was good for Sigma Pi socially. In the fall, the brothers participated in football, soccer, and the holiday basketball tournament. Also, the brothers had a philanthropy event with Hillel, running an informational booth about Tay Sachs in Mary Graydon Center. However, the event was met with a mixed response by the American University community. There was a dated party at Primavera's Restaurant, and a two year anniversary celebration at Las Pampas in Georgetown. Also, one brother lavaliered a member of Chi Omega sorority. Once again, the issue of recognition for Alpha Epsilon Pi was brought up in an IFC meeting. Once again, we were voted down unanimously, six to nothing.
The spring of 1996 saw new dedication among
the brothers of Sigma Pi. The attitude was positive, and rush
was very successful. The events took place at Babe's Billiards
and Hooters. Seven men were inducted, and four were initiated.
Extended rush brought two more pledges, one of who was initiated.
Jon Rand, a brother who transferred from Pi Beta at Hofstra University,
organized an extremely successful induction party at Red, Hot,
and Blue Restaurant. Matt Donoghue was Master once again, and
this time, provided us with a vision of on campus recognition,
which was achieved in April. The colony gained interest group
status with provisions by the IFC that eventually lead to recognition.
We were voted the best delegation at the North Atlantic Conclave
at Temple University. The brothers put forth the goal of obtaining
their charter as well, which was accomplished in August. The colony planned its first formal, which was a successful event that showed great brotherhood and fraternity pride. More importantly, Sigma Pi recognition by the IFC as a fraternal interest group, gave us the right to rush after other fraternities and attend IFC meetings as a nonvoting member -- key factors to insuring our survival and growth on campus.
The brothers returned to campus in Fall 1996
with only 12 brothers in good standing, due to the de-pinning
of some brothers for a variety of reasons and the graduation of
two others. But the brothers of Sigma Pi used this setback to
become stronger. Sam Bhandarkar was elected Master, and his goal
was to make fraternity, brotherhood and improved Greek relations
the main focus of AEPi. Nowhere was our new image among AU Greeks
more visible than at Delta Gamma Anchor Clanker, which Sam dejayed
and featured the brothers defeating Delta Tau Delta in tug-of-war.
Social events were planned in abundance. There were weekly get-
togethers Tuesday nights at Winston's in Georgetown early in the
semester, and many brothers went out for post-meeting meals on
Sunday. Two pledges, Brett Berkman and Justin Levin,
were initiated. There was a brotherhood retreat to Busch Gardens right before rush. This extremely successful event has now become a brotherhood tradition. Another dated party took place at The Improv and the Chapter at Maryland invited us up on November 8 to join them for a social mixer with Sigma Delta Tau.
The Spring 1997 semester will go down as the greatest semester in the history of Sigma Pi to date and one of the greatest for all time. The brothers completely committed themselves to their goal of recognition as a full-fledged fraternity. With much hard work, we were voted the most improved chapter at the awards luncheon in early April. Rush brought six pledges, three of who were initiated: Rory Burke, Aaron Malofsky, and Matt Homonoff. But that does not even begin to describe the "AEPassover" from April 18 to April 26. The brotherhood softball team, keyed by Adam's pitching and the tremendous infield of Donoghue, Homonoff, and Burke, advanced to the intramural finals after wins over Alpha Tau Omega and Phi Sigma Kappa. That does not even compare to the incredible formal the brothers had in Baltimore, featuring brotherhood awards and one great evening of wine-ing dinning and pride. Why, you ask? On Thursday, April 24, 1997, the IFC voted and recognized AEPi as a full-fledged fraternity at American University.
AEPI is definitely looking up. Shawn Quill, Tyrell-Jones Eiland, and Paul Feinstein were all initiated in the Fall of 1997. The brothers took another retreat to Busch Gardens, which proved to be a highly successful event once again as the brothers bonded. Our image on campus has improved dramatically from our early days, as evidenced by the highly successful end of semester bash thrown at South Beach. The party was so successful that not only did it indirectly force another fraternity to abandon their party for lack of attendance, but formed a relationship with the club's owner that should ensure plenty more events in the near future.
AEPi is on the move as we look for obtaining the last hurtle set before us for complete and total recognition -- the granting of full Chapter status, upgrading our current colony status.