FarmHouse opens doors to welcome first residents


The South Dakota State University FarmHouse Fraternity chapter finished its new house in time to celebrate the organization’s 50th anniversary in April. 

The new FarmHouse has 20 bedrooms and can hold up to 48 members, said Trevor Hansen, the chapter president.  There are currently 58 members, most of whom have moved into the new building.

The house also boasts a library, three study rooms, conference rooms, lounges and a guest bedroom. 

The house incorporates sentimental value and symbolic meaning as well. The large fireplace mantle from the old house was split into two smaller mantles for the new house. The four pillars outside the house symbolize the intellectual,

social, physical and spiritual development of their members, Hansen said.

Having a new house leaves a “huge physical footprint the public can see,” said former President Taylor Thooft. The larger building helps accommodate FarmHouse’s growth.

The 15,400-square-foot house costs over $2 million and was built with the future in mind, Hansen said. It includes accessibility for members with handicaps and the possibility of creating a room for a “house mom.”

Jeff Davis, the South Dakota FarmHouse Alumni Association President, helped organize the funding of the project and raised more than $1 million for the new house. 

“It is a great mission—very humbling and proud,” Davis said. 

The chapter and the alumni worked together to build and finance the new house.  Nearly 50 percent of funds for the new house were from SDSU FarmHouse alumni. On average, 15 percent of alumni associations donate to current building projects in the FarmHouse Fraternity, Thooft said. 

The South Dakota FarmHouse Alumni Association will also benefit from the new house. The building is open for them to use for their annual meeting or to conduct interviews.

Greek Life adviser and FarmHouse alumni Alan Haarstad said “new houses bring a certain level of excitement to Greek Life.” 

Haarstad works with the daily activities of the Greek Life chapters and acts as a liaison between the chapters, the university and the national organizations.

There is a correlation between Greek Life recruitment and having a new house, he said. The excitement

carries over and members get motivated to promote their fraternity.

Alhough there is a new house, the old FarmHouse building is still standing. It is now on the Ceres lot and will become the new Ceres house. The South Dakota State College Development organization owns the Ceres house and is in charge of building and remodeling.

Ceres Chapter President Erin Wicker said having more chapters living on Greek Row will bring a better sense of community and communications between chapters.  With 40 active members, Ceres is ready to move into a house to call their own.

It will be the only Ceres chapter in the country with its own house in a Greek Village, Haarstad said. They will be able to have a permanent meeting place and “do life together.”