Zeta Psi back on campus, moves into original house

After leaving campus in 2001, Zeta Psi moved back into their house on University Avenue last week.

The Zeta Psi fraternity house is seen on Monday, Sept. 4, 2017 on University Ave in Minneapolis, Minn. The fraternity chapter was reactivated in 2015 and returned to campus for the fall semester.

Ellen Schmidt

The Zeta Psi fraternity house is seen on Monday, Sept. 4, 2017 on University Ave in Minneapolis, Minn. The fraternity chapter was reactivated in 2015 and returned to campus for the fall semester.

Luc Mainguy

Moving trucks, light construction and excited fraternity members surrounded a house on University Avenue last week.

The University of Minnesota’s Alpha Beta chapter of the Zeta Psi fraternity moved back to their original building on Friday, which had been occupied by Sigma Pi for about 10 years.

Dan Kobler, the chapter adviser for Sigma Pi, said the fraternity saw the move coming.

“[Sigma Pi members] were a little sentimental to leave the property we founded our chapter in and kind of a little sad about it,” he said. 

Zeta Psi had been inactive since 2001, and restarted in 2015 through the efforts of local alumni, said Lauck Walton, executive director of Zeta Psi International.

Walton said he started working for the organization in 2001, after the Zeta Psi chapter left the University.

“Whatever happened was bad and we do not want to repeat it,” he said of the fraternity’s reason for leaving campus.

According to past coverage from the Minnesota Daily, the chapter’s alumni board banned alcohol from the house in 2000 after a party violated Zeta Psi’s policies.

Ronald Atkinson, assistant director for the University’s Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life, said in an email Friday that he was unable to find records on the reason for Zeta Psi’s absence.

“It’s been really quiet for the last several years,” Walton said of the chapter, adding that Alan Rice, co-owner of the building and former Zeta Psi member, led the movement to restart the chapter.

Rice said he purchased the home in 1982, the same year Zeta Psi left the house. The house was rented out for various purposes, most recently to Sigma Pi for the last decade.

Zeta Psi International and local alumni made the decision to restart the chapter in 2015, Walton said.

Since then, Zeta Psi has grown to 26 members from the original four to six members, said chapter president and University senior Josiah Lucas. 

Lucas said he joined Zeta Psi in December 2015, when the fraternity was “10 guys meeting in a living room.”

Though the fraternity is growing rapidly, Lucas said returning to the University is intimidating.

“It’s kind of scary coming back to campus as the new guys in town,” he said.

Lucas said he is excited about moving into the chapter’s original house, and said he “felt very welcomed” by the University’s Greek community.