Eight months ago, I and three of my close friends got together because we had finally put into words what we had all been thinking. There was no exclusively Jewish community for women at the University of Minnesota. We realized this after constant exposure to the exclusively Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, and the heavily Jewish one, Sigma Alpha Mu. We saw the brotherhood and the special bond that radiated at every appearance in Hillel or Chabad. These men were part of something much larger than themselves, and we knew we needed to give women on our campus that opportunity as well.
With this in mind, we started working arduously on a concrete plan as to how this Jewish community for women could come to life. We sent out surveys to Jewish students and asked for their thoughts and feedback on the idea of a Jewish sorority. We got immense support from not only students, but also Jewish organizations on campus and even alumnus. With this information we were able to tailor a unique organization to those who are interested in it. What was so special about the process was the fact that we were building a system that fits the women on campus instead of seeing if certain women would fit our system. We named it Kappa Lambda Epsilon for Community, Leadership and Equality.
Our mission is to provide a sense of sisterhood for Jewish women on campus, give them a chance to take on leadership roles, and also be an equal among the avid Jewish community for males. In order to fulfill this mission to its fullest, we registered Kappa Lambda Epsilon as a local sorority which is one not affiliated with Greek life, however, has an opportunity to interact with Greek life and is completely student run. This creates more room for leadership opportunities. We are looking to fill roles anywhere from Social Media Chair to Saturday Shabbat Lunch Coordinator. Additionally, our primary goal is to welcome as many Jewish women as possible. There is no better way to do so than by making Kappa Lambda Epsilon AFFORDABLE. Let’s face it – college is not cheap and tuition is rising. As a local sorority Kappa Lambda Epsilon provides an affordable alternative with no restrictive time commitment. Moreover, all meetings of the sorority are open to the public which gives students a chance to experience Kappa Lambda Epsilon in a transparent way before making a decision for themselves.
As my friends and I continue exploring what Kappa Lambda Epsilon has in store, Rabbi Hillel’s quote comes to mind over and over again. “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?” Who will be for me if I do not feel confident in my own skin as a Jewish woman on campus? Who am I if I do not support Jewish women and help them grow? And if not now, when? If college has taught me anything, it is that I always have an opportunity to take initiative, contribute, make an impact and even start an organization if I want. I look forward to everything Kappa Lambda Epsilon will accomplish and hope that our story of creating an organization that has never existed before will inspire other students to realize that the time is always now.
For more information, e-mail the sorority at [email protected].