Above: Georgia Southern’s AEPi chapter plans weekly events for potential members leading up to rush week, then nightly events that week, which starts Sept. 5.
Jewish college students who take flight from metro Atlanta to Georgia Southern now have a fraternity where they can flock together in Statesboro.
Alpha Epsilon Pi received its charter Nov. 22, 2015, exactly two years after 13 Eagles launched their quest to start a chapter at Georgia Southern.
“Our brothers and I are interested in more than just finding Jewish men and bringing them together,” said Seth Yarus, a graduate of East Cobb’s Pope High School who is now a Georgia Southern junior and the chapter president. He said the 16 AEPi members are working with Hillel to build a Jewish community.
Yarus, a member of Temple Kehillat Chaim, was not one of the original 13 who decided to launch the chapter but said he was attracted by the fraternity’s values after being invited to lunch with some of the brothers. Last year he was elected president of the group, composed of members from metro Atlanta, Savannah and south Georgia.
He estimated that Georgia Southern has 150 Jewish students.
To serve as many of them as possible, AEPi holds a Shabbat dinner on campus every other week; Yarus said the brothers get kosher food in Savannah. All students, faculty and staff, Jewish or not, are welcome.
The AEPi brothers also go out to lunch together each Wednesday.
The fraternity offers events for the major holidays and commemorates the Holocaust each spring with the silent We Walk to Remember march, followed by 24 hours of reading the names of victims.
AEPi doesn’t have enough members to have its own nest yet, so events are run from a house members rent. Yarus said the goal is to get a house once the chapter is large enough.
Georgia Southern has rush each semester, so Yarus is hopeful of adding at least a few brothers twice a year to sustain and grow the chapter. “If we can continue to get more and more guys, it will be a lot easier.”