Usually when someone brings up the topic of Greek life the first image to come to mind is an Animal House-like atmosphere, with sub-par housing and general debauchery all around.
While this stereotypical view of Greek organizations may still exist in the minds of many, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. The face of fraternities and sororities has been shifting, and plans are in the works for yet another change to bring Greek life up another rung on the ladder at Washburn.
The proposal of an on-campus Greek Village has been a hot-button topic lately. While there are no definite plans, a set timeline or even financial means, the idea is still being considered. If it happens, the Village would be a large complex building managed by the University that would house Greeks.
At this point, Greek members and Washburn’s administration are still in the early phases of this plan, with final decisions on which houses are going to join and how they are going to pay still being made.
“I’m sure that [a Village] would turn Greek life around,” said John Warren, president of Delta Chi, Washburn’s newest fraternity, which is without housing. However, as attractive as the idea of a Greek Village is to the Delta Chis, they are not able to financially support either building their own house or contributing to the cost that it would take to build a village.
“At the moment, it wouldn’t work for us. We don’t have alumni, and we don’t have money to buy a house,” said Warren. For a house to move into the proposed village they would be required to raise at least $500,000 to be used toward construction cost, with the rest being picked up by the University.
It has mainly been fraternities who have expressed interest in the Greek Village.
“I’m not sure about any sorority, because they’re in pretty good shape. Sororities have maintained their properties better than fraternities,” said President Jerry B. Farley. “Fraternities need some help, and we’ll be willing to help them because they’re important to the campus.”
Among those that have expressed interest are the Sig Eps. While their current house is in good shape and very livable for many years to come, they have realized that an update is needed in order to compete with living accommodations like the Living Learning Center and Washburn Village.
“For what the average college student expects when they come to campus, [our house] doesn’t fit that,” said former Sig Ep President Kris White. While White graduated at semester, he was in the early dealings with the plan for the proposed Village.
While Greek houses will be required to raise a substantial amount of money on their own to pay for the estimated costs, many believe there are benefits to moving into a Village. Besides updated facilities that would exceed current university housing, the buildings will also be regulated by the University, relieving the organizations of the headaches that come along with managing housing.
The location for the village, providing the plan is passed, will be on the East side of campus along Washburn Avenue between 18 and 19 street.
“There’s quite a bit of land there,” said Tom Ellis, special assistant to the president. “It doesn’t look like it, and if you drive by you don’t realize how much land there is.”
While housing is an intricate part of any Greek organization, there is much more to it than that.
“Keeping an open mind right now [is important]. Everybody’s got something to add to the process. [But] we’re not solely based on living arrangements. Being Greek is about the experience, the added value,” said White.