Guidelines for the greek housing boom

The University should be mindful of the risks with adding greek life to residence halls.

Daily Editorial Board

Increased cooperation between the University of Minnesota and the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life since University President Eric Kaler took over has further affirmed the University’s support for greek life on campus. 

Though the University has the lowest greek-life participation rate among the Big Ten,  participation in fraternity and sorority life on campus has steadily increased since 2004.

But now the greek community is experiencing growing pains as many chapters have more members than they do room in their chapter houses.

To meet housing demand, a third of the 600 beds in the new 1701 University Avenue residence hall will be reserved for fraternity and sorority members.  If the greek community continues to grow, the University could build more facilities for greek students, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Jerry Rinehart told the Minnesota Daily last week.  While both greeks and the University can benefit from this partnership, it is important to consider some of the less-positive effects of these new arrangements.

For freshmen residing at 1701, living alongside older members of the University’s greek community could be problematic. The “everybody’s greek here” perception could lead them to feel pressured to join a fraternity or sorority. Not to mention that their proximity and access to the high-risk drinking environment known to be perpetuated at fraternity parties is just blocks away from their residence.

Current fraternity and sorority members thinking about living in the new residence hall should also consider that living in University housing with other greek members is not the same experience they will get living in their chapter’s house with its unique and rich history.

The University and the greek community should consider these factors before further pursuing the housing partnership.