Sororities vie for permanent campus home

The University of Minnesota has pushed to grow greek life, but housing poses problems.

Isabella Murray

While the reintroduction of two sorority chapters will help expand the University of Minnesota’s Panhellenic presence on campus, housing issues could complicate the growth.
Chi Omega returned to the University in fall 2013, and Phi Mu will come back to campus next fall after a 46-year absence. Both chapters are looking for a permanent residence.
In a 2012 report, the University’s Greek Community Strategic Task Force set the goal of adding at least three sororities by 2018. When it returns to campus this fall, Phi Mu will be the 15th sorority chapter on campus.
Chi Omega’s Pi Beta chapter currently has 154 women, chapter president Micaela Resh said. Some members live in the 17th Avenue residence hall, but Resh said they hope to find a permanent home.
“While the Suite is our temporary home, Pi Betas have filled it with tons of laughs, memories and fun since our re-colonization,” according to the Chi Omega chapter’s website.
Moving the sorority under one roof would not only unite some Chi Omega members who live elsewhere, but would allow one of campus’ largest sorority chapters room to grow even larger.
“Chi Omega’s house corporation board is evaluating housing options,” said Leslie Herington, the organization’s national executive director. “They are actively searching. … In the meantime, we are grateful to the University for providing space for our chapter in a prime campus location.”
Besides Chi Omega, the 17th Avenue residence hall also houses some members of the Theta Chi fraternity and the Pillar House, a lodging program for first-year students interested in joining greek life, according to the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life.
Another sorority on campus currently without housing is Alpha Epsilon Phi, due to its small membership.
“I actually like not having a house; the dues are so much cheaper,” first-year genetics student and Alpha Epsilon Phi member Kayla Borden said.
However, most other sororities find housing an integral part of maintaining their presence on campus.
“Phi Mu’s housing department is in contact with the University about future housing plans. Nothing is finalized at this time,” said April Roberts, director of extension for Phi Mu.