On February 28, 1937, the Omega Chapter was first installed at one of the South’s great universities, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The chapter had been organized by George S. Toll under the name of Alpha Epsilon, in his brief tour as Field Secretary for Alpha Epsilon Pi. At the time of its formation, there were several competing groups on campus: Tau Epsilon Phi, Zeta Beta Tau, and Phi Alpha. Housing was difficult to obtain, but finally a small house was leased at 306 McCauley Street, some distance from the campus. The group grew slowly, and after two years, received permission to petition the national fraternity. The ceremony was held at the Carolina Inn and was attended by many.
The chapter’s housing facility was decidedly inadequate, and this, coupled with the distance from campus, resulted in a failure to pledge an adequate number of men. By the end of 1939, the Omega Chapter was on the dormant list. It might have been saved if the then Supreme Board and Trustees had been willing to gamble on a house on campus that had become available. A conservative attitude was the order of the day, and that house was purchased by another group, which exists to this day. The Omega Chapter closed its doors.
In 1947, under the leadership of Joseph Lefkowitz, and with the help of Arnold B. Hoffman, the chapter was reactivated. For the 1947-48 academic year, a house on Fetzer Lance, though inadequate, was obtained. For the 1948-49 academic year, the chapter ranked first academically, and almost half of its members were elected to Phi Beta Kappa. The campus was scoured for adequate housing, but small as it is, Chapel Hill was so tightly zoned against fraternities that there just was nothing available. The house occupied by the chapter was poorly located and inadequate. By 1951, Omega was inactive once again.
Sporadic attempts since 1951 to re-activate the chapter were unsuccessful until 2000 when Omega was re-activated with the initiation of seven new brothers. The fratnernity sprung out of the hard work of the refounding members: Matt Minchew, first chapter master, Scott Fisher, Joshua Klein, Simon Newman, Jeffrey Richek, Mike Schoen and Benjamin Silverberg. These six had a vision of a fraternity on the UNC campus that could truly embody the ideals of a greatness. What would start simply as a group of guys meeting in the Student Union quickly blossomed into a true brotherhood of college men.
Omega was officially rechartered on March 23, 2002. The ceremony was, again, held at the Carolina Inn. Supreme Master Jonathan Pierce, Supreme Scribe Ira Brody, and International Director of Chapter Services Andy Borans presented a replica of the original Omega charter to Jonathan Bowman, Phillip Brodsky, Benjamin Couch, Matthew Fishbein, Scott Fisher, Adam Geller, Jeffrey Goodstein, Craig Hoovler, Mitchell Kaye, Joshua Klein, David Krusch, Brandon Lunk, Matt Minchew, Jeffrey Richek, Zachary Rosner, Jonathan Saks, Steven Shifrin, Benjamin Silverberg, Joshua Stalford, Asher Stein, Colin Sutker, Benjamin Tosky, and Ryan Zimmerman. Or Mars, honorary brother and executive director of North Carolina Hillel, was also present.
Things started to change quickly for Omega — it’s place had been made and now was the time for growth. Only a year after receiving full recognition from the International Fraternity, Omega successfully reentered the University community. University recognition and Interfraternity Council Membership was obtained during Spring 2003. Shortly thereafter, the prominent center-house in Fraternity Court was secured for the chapter by one of the brothers. Having a physical symbol of its presence and, finally, a central meeting place aided recruitment efforts and led to a new era of pledge class sizes that were competitive or larger than most fraternities on campus. The Omega chapter endured a brief hiatus off-campus from 2008 to the Spring of 2013, yet thrived both socially and academically, and continued to grow.
With great excitement, the brothers of the Omega chapter of AEPi were proud to return to a house in Fraternity Court Fall 2013. The joint efforts of a few hard working brothers and AEPi nationals has ensured that the chapter will continue to have a stable and ideal housing situation in the future. Currently, our chapter is led by our Master, Joshua Schwartz. With his dedication and hard work, our fraternity’s future looks very bright indeed.