Hannah BakerNews Editor
Like other universities, SDSU has Greek chapters that make up the Greek Life community on campus. However, one aspect of the Greek community that many universities have, though SDSU lacks, is a Greek Row or Greek Village.
Since the late 1960s, land has been designated on 20th Avenue (next to
Farmhouse and AGR) for a Greek Village, which after many years of negotiating, is in the process of coming into existence.
“Former President Briggs had a real desire to see Greek Life expand and wanted to bring the Greek community closer, so land was set-aside for this,” said Marysz Rames, vice president for student affairs. “After a variety of approaches, the university was finally able to negotiate a way for Greek chapters to build their houses.”
According to Rames, the majority of the land has sat vacant for so long because chapters were unable to get bankable loans to pay for the project. In order to help chapters acquire the loans, the State College Development Association, a financing group that promotes the enrichment of SDSU, is stepping in by leasing the land from SDSU and then leasing it out to the individual Greek chapters. By doing this, chapters are now eligible for the needed bankable loans.
“The State College Development Association is acting as a third party in the process. They will lease the land from SDSU and then turn around and lease it to individual chapters that wish to build a house on one of the open lots,” Rames said. “Each chapter will be responsible for funding their own house and working out all the details that come along with that8212; including the size of the house and how many rooms it has. The university is not contributing any funding to chapters for this.”
Kam Nelson, a junior communications and theater major who participates in
Delta Chi fraternity said there are many advantages to having a Greek Village but there could also be some disadvantages as well.
“To implement anything you have to see it from so many points of view.
Although this might be an excellent addition for Greek Life, it could also be viewed as showing preference to students in Greek Life over those students who don’t participate in it … having a Greek Village could also give off the stereotype that it’s a place to party when Greek Life at SDSU has never been about that,” Nelson said. “I am very proud to be Greek and as we continue to move forward in this I think we must approach it with the white glove treatment and make sure it doesn’t negatively affect Greek life.”
Rames said having a Greek Village would not show preference to students who participate in Greek life.
“This is not showing preference to Greek students. Although we are providing the land, we offer other organizations like the University Program Council and The Collegian office space when not all students are a part of those organizations but it provides the opportunity for those students have resources to be successful. Which is the overall goal8212; providing resources for students to be successful and this is just another way to do that.”
According to Nick Wendell, assistant director for student activities, individual chapters have independence when it comes to the design and appearance of what their houses will look like once completed.
“Each chapter has the freedom to decide what kind of house they would like to build. However, the look of each house will be consistent with the existing community and will be organic to the neighborhood. If there is a certain type of shingle or landscaping requirement, than chapters must abide by those. That way the community stays cohesive,” Wendell said.
Addie Wolcott, Greek Life advisor, said she is excited about the opportunity for each chapter to have its own house in a central community.
“Having a Greek Village will raise the community feel and have all the chapters together in one place, which will unite them as a group,” Wolcott said. “This will be a beautiful feature to add to SDSU and take Greek Life to the next level.”
Although the Greek community at SDSU is smaller compared to other universities such as the University of South Dakota or the University of Minnesota that have active Greek programs, only three to four percent of students at SDSU participate.
Wolcott said a Greek Village could promote and attract more students to becoming Greek.
“A Greek Village would be a positive recruiting tool for the 10 chapters to raise numbers. Our peer institutions have Greek Villages or a Greek Row, and by implementing one at SDSU it would not only benefit Greek Life but SDSU in general,” Wolcott said.
Wendell also said a Greek Village would have several positive effects for SDSU.
“Having a Greek Village would give Greeks a physical footprint in the community. Each Greek chapter has differing philanthropic efforts and missions in the community already so by putting them together into one place it increases the Greek profile and gives them a more substantial community presence.”
Several students who participate in Greek Life are excited about the opportunity for a Greek Village. This includes Sarah Wettergreen and Anna Retterath, who are both junior pharmacy majors and participate in Kapa Psi fraternity.
“I think it would be beneficial to have a Greek Village because it would bring people together in one community,” said Wettergreen.
“When you join Greek life you’re not just joining one, but are a part of the Greek community as a whole. This would be a good way to get everyone unified and together,” Retterath said.
Dan Schmidt, a junior advertising major, does not participate in Greek Life but would not be opposed to having a Greek Village.
“I mean, I really have nothing to do with it, but who am I to stop anyone from having a Greek Village,” Schmidt said. “If they gather the money themselves they should be able to.”
Amber Uptagraff, junior nursing major, also said building a Greek Village is a good idea.
“Right now no one really knows about Greek life so having a Greek Village would enhance each chapter,” Uptagraff said. “Also, right now I don’t even know where most of the chapters houses are besides ARG and Farmhouse so having them all together in one place would be a cool feature.”