A Q&A with AEPhi Mu—Our Twitter Contest Winners!

The sisters of the AEPhi Mu chapter at the University of Illinois won EGPAF’s Twitter competition this November. They are our third and final AEPhi spotlight for 2013. (Credit: AEPHi Mu)

AEPhi Mu

As we celebrate our 25th anniversary this year, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) wants to acknowledge an important UP 4 THE FIGHT partner that has stood by our side since 2000: Alpha Epsilon Phi (AEPhi). As AEPhi sisters themselves, Elizabeth Glaser and Susie Zeegen would have been proud of our partnership with this amazing sisterly organization.

There are 50 active AEPhi chapters at universities across the United States that fundraise for EGPAF annually. We have the privilege of spotlighting three of these chapters for the months of September, October, and November to commemorate our anniversary.

Our third and final spotlight is on the AEPhi Mu chapter at the University of Illinois — our Twitter contest winners! These girls went above and beyond on social media and got their fellow chapter sisters, friends, and families to tweet about the amazing work that EGPAF does in 15 countries worldwide!

Get to know this AEPhi chapter through our question and answer session with its Vice President of Operations, Jordan Koziol, and Vice President of Philanthropy, Mara Dubnow:

Tell us, what’s unique about your chapter?

Our chapter is unique for a variety of reasons. To start, we are all very close and love doing things as a group. We believe that it is important to have an unwavering work ethic; when we want something we try our hardest to make that dream a reality – like EGPAF’s Twitter contest. We try to excel in all areas of the Greek Community and hold ourselves to high standards so that we always have something to work for.

What motivates your chapter to fundraise and support EGPAF?

Our motivation to fundraise for EGPAF comes through our special connection with the organization. It is hard to fundraise and support an organization that girls have no connection to. As AEPhi sisters, we all have a very special place in our heart for EGPAF as Elizabeth Glaser and Susie Zeegen, AEPhi Alums, co-founded this wonderful organization. Our direct connection gives us so much motivation and drive to want to help EGPAF, and make it a huge part of our entire AEPHI chapter.

What has been a favorite moment throughout your AEPhi career associated with EGPAF?

My favorite moment was during second invite of recruitment this past year. We made a montage video about Elizabeth Glaser, describing how and why EGPAF was founded. The morning of second invite, AEPhi’s executive board decided to show our entire chapter this video to get everybody in the philanthropic mindset. Watching each and every girl's face as they absorbed the heart-wrenching words of Elizabeth Glaser is an experience I will never forget. In that moment, EGPAF went from being an organization that AEPhi chapter's support, to being important and inspirational for each and every girl in our house. (Mara)

What fundraising events has your chapter planned throughout the years?

Every spring, our chapter fundraises for EGPAF through large philanthropic events. For the past few years, we have consistently organized “Pheast with the Phis”, a barbecue dinner at our AEPhi house. With food and entertainment such as a capella groups and outdoor games, this event has been a lot of fun for guests and wildly successful.

This past spring, we wanted to make more of an impact for EGPAF. We turned “Pheast with the Phis” into “Phighting with the Phis,” a new and improved event consisting of a barbecue dinner plus a special 5K color run. The 5K course was mapped out in Urbana, and AEPhi girls stationed all along the course throwing special "powder paint" on the runners. By the end of the run, the runners come out covered in colorful powder, laughing and smiling nonstop. One of the greatest parts of this event is that it attracted more than just the Greek community at our school. We had runners in it from all across campus, and our seniors had an especially fun time running it together. It was a unique and different philanthropy event that nobody on campus had done yet, and that made it even more exciting and special. We will also be putting this same event, “Phighting with the Phis,” on again this spring, and we are hoping for an even larger crowd!

What will you take away from being a member and sister of AEPhi?

Being a part of this amazing organization has truly enriched my college experience and has given me opportunities that I never could have dreamed of. Being on the executive board has been challenging but an immensely rewarding experience for me. It has helped mold me into the woman I am today and has prepared me to become the woman that I aspire to be in the future. As a senior, it saddens me to know that my time in AEPhi as a collegian is coming to an end. However, my time with AEPhi is truly just beginning; I know that I will continue to be an active sister in AEPhi for the rest of my life. (Jordan)

Thank you to the sisters of the Alpha Epsilon Phi Mu chapter at the University of Illinois for their continued support of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation! We look forward to their next event as they help us to continue the fight against pediatric HIV/AIDS.

If you missed any of our past AEPhi spotlights, check out September’s Q&A with chapters from Tulane University and October’s Q&A with the University of Wisconsin.

For more information about Alpha Epsilon Phi and the UP 4 THE FIGHT program, please contact Sydney Van Horn at up4thefight@pedaids.org.