Other colleges offer all-greek complexes

Some contend that the complex will strengthen greek community bonds.

by Neil Munshi

Students in fraternities and sororities across the nation are living in all-greek apartment complexes.

At least 15 schools nationwide have built all-greek housing complexes, according to a written summary distributed by the Minnesota Greek Alumni Partnership.

University administrators and greek officials are currently discussing the possibility of building an all-greek apartment complex on the 1700 block of University Avenue Southeast. The greek community will fund the proposed building on University-leased land.

Some students have raised concerns about the project as discriminatory and stripping the community aspect from greek life. Some also have said they were worried putting rivalry fraternities into a single building might cause problems.

Bob Dudolski, director of Greek Life at Eastern Illinois University, said that although it might have been a concern, greek students’ interaction at that school’s Greek Court have been without conflict.

Greek Court was built between 1990 and 1995 for $22.5 million and houses approximately 700 students, according to the university’s Web site.

“I think it has helped to eliminate a lot of the rivalries between organizations,” Dudolski said. “There’s a real sense of community amongst them out there.”

Doug Case, coordinator of fraternity and sorority life at San Diego State University, said his school’s Fraternity Row faced similar concerns, but it ended up strengthening bonds among fraternities.

Fraternity Row, funded by the San Diego State University Foundation, was completed in 2002 for $16 million and houses 264 students, according to the foundation’s Web site.

Case said the university’s project has been a successful bonding tool as well as a great way to update rundown greek housing conditions. It also moves the fraternities away from single-family home neighborhoods, he said.

While the project has been received well, Case said, some greek students complain about the lack of a sense of community they gain living in a normal fraternity house.

“People tend to congregate in the apartments rather than the chapter house,” he said.

Greek students also feel they don’t get to know everyone in the fraternity, because the apartments segregate them, Case said.

Mark Owczarski, director of news and information for Virginia Tech, said the commonwealth of Virginia built the school’s Oak Lane Community in 1981 as a housing option for students in organizations interested in living together.

“Students in fraternities and sororities are viable student groups that are looking for communal living options,” Owczarski said.

A safer, cleaner living environment, with the added benefit of knowing your landlord has a vested interest in your safety and care, are some of the advantages of housing greek students in university housing, he said.

“When the pipes break or there’s a leak in the ceiling, you know who’s going to (fix) it, and in this case, the landlord, Virginia Tech, has a tremendous care and concern for our students,” he said. “We want to make sure they are well-housed and well taken care of.”