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 Panhellenic Council on the UC Davis campus, which was comprised of 8 national social sororities, voted unanimously to offer 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 6 women who were part of the founding class and continued to graduate as alumni: 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 true 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 has expanded across the country and has opened 15 chapters in 7 states with currently 8 active chapters, 2 colonies, and we continue to expand.
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 7 alumni members from all different chapters voluntarily serving as the directors on the National Board. In addition to National Board members, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi has expanded to having National Board Assistants, an Expansion Committee, and Chapter Advisors.
Mission Statement: The purpose of this organization shall be to promote unity, support a Jewish awareness, as well as to provide a Jewish experience for ourselves, our members, and the community as a whole. This organization is devoted to friendship, motivation, opportunity, leadership, and well-being.
Motto: Spirit, Strength, Sisterhood
These three words, the core of ΣΑΕΠ, are the foundation of what the organization truly is and what the sisters constantly strive toward.
Values: Unity, Trust, Strength, Sincere Sisterhood, and Jewish Values
These values define the sorority as a community. Members, individually and collectively, aim to live these values both in and out of the context of the organization. Each value is equally important and should never be sacrificed for another.
Mascot: The Lioness
The lioness represents strength, power, and force within the sisterhood. A sister, just like the lioness, should be strong-minded and caring to those around her.
Colors: Blue and Gold
Blue is a prominent color in Judaism. Gold represents the richness which ΣΑΕΠ brings to its members. They are also the colors of UC Davis.
Blue irises are flowers that are delicate, unique, and command attention. The colors of the blue iris also are remarkably similar to the colors of ΣΑΕΠ.
The sapphire's blue color is linked to emotions such as sympathy, harmony, friendship, and loyalty.
The Crest: The Crest, which can be seen below, was designed to incorporate many symbols including the mascot, the colors, and the flower