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My Big, Fat Greek Dormitory: All Greek orgs set to reside under one roof next year

November 7th, 2013

Things will be getting a whole lot “Greeker” in Hamlin Hall starting in the fall of 2014. At a PanHellenic Council meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 30, Residence Life announced its decision to house all eight Greek organizations (all organizations besides Lambda Chi Alpha, which is still in the process of getting its charter) in Hamlin Hall. Half of the organizations have already made Hamlin their home, and the other four will make the move over the summer.

While the floor plan is not yet set in stone, the tentative plan is to move Chi Omega to the south wing of the first floor, Delta Tau Delta to the ground floor, Gamma Phi Beta to the south wing of the third floor and Kappa Alpha Theta to the south wing of the second floor. Sigma Phi Epsilon, Kappa Delta, Beta Theta Pi and Kappa Kappa Gamma will remain on the first, second, third and fourth floors of the north wing of Hamlin, respectively.

This decision came as a result of Res Life reworking next year’s housing system, which will be altered by the renovated Murphy Hall, which will house upperclassmen.

“We wanted to balance what we wanted to do for the greater student population as well as the need to provide this experience that is so important to the Greek community,” said Director of Residence Life Lisa Brown.

Brown said that the change also aims to promote unity within the larger Greek community.

“We’re hopeful that by having them share one residence hall, we can help promote that unity and give them more opportunities for interaction being in closer proximity,” she said.

Junior Samantha Ross, housing chair of KKG, said that she and her friends are excited at the prospect of getting to know more people in different Greek organizations by being in the same living quarters.

Holly Mittelmeier, assistant director of student activities, said that not only will the decision promote unity amongst organizations, but it also makes sense for the larger campus community. She said that having freshmen move into dorms where Greek floors have already established themselves, like Campion Hall currently does, hinders the sense of freshmen community.

Many members of fraternities and sororities on campus were surprised when they heard the news. The Greek organizations were not consulted during the decision making process.

Sophomore Courtney Fallon, housing chair for Chi Omega, said that while her organization was initially shocked by the news, they were comforted by Res Life’s promise to help ease the transition.

“When Lisa Brown said they were going to pay for everything and they’re going to repaint our floors for us and really not leave us in the dust as to how they were going to move us over there, that kind of calmed everyone’s fears a little bit,” said Fallon.

The move has different implications for different Greeks. Delta Tau Delta, the smallest Greek organization, will experience cuts in the number of rooms it has available for its members. According to Alexander Wells, vice president of Delta Tau Delta, their current floor in Campion has 28 beds available; in Hamlin, they are only allotted 16. The organization also will not have the “elbow” lounge that the other seven groups have.

Sigma Phi Epsilon, Kappa Delta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Beta Theta Pi and Kappa Kappa Gamma will all have 38 beds; Gamma Phi Beta will have 42 to fill; and Chi Omega will have 34.

Some members of the Greek community have expressed concern about the effects this decision might have on the overall relationship between the Greek community and the rest of campus.

“I think it will isolate it a little bit more. Before all the buildings were sort of half-Greek, half non-Greek, so we were a little more integrated. I think that by putting us all in one building, it kind of removes us even more from the community in that sense,” said Wells.

Joe McHugh, junior housing chair of Sigma Phi Epsilon, echoed this concern.

“People already view the Greeks as only sticking to themselves, they only hang out with other Greek people, and they don’t really branch out,” McHugh said. “While I don’t think that’s true, I think that’s only going to reinforce that image that people have.”

Others disagree with this prediction.

“I think as a whole, Greek members are really involved in the rest of campus in general, so I don’t think it will have that big of a difference … Even when they were in Campion, they still had their own floor, so it’s not like they’re involved with other students anyway, so I don’t think much will change,” said Ross.

Deirdre Byrne, senior resident assistant and president of the PanHellenic Council, said that while she understands that some organizations may be upset because of their emotional attachments to their current floors, the overall reaction has been positive. She said that the Greek floors are already fobbed off, which creates disconnect among both Greek and non-Greek Hamlin and Campion residents.

“I think it’s great that the freshmen will be in Campion and it’s all going to be opened up so that they’ll have more of that community together,” said Byrne. “Ultimately, in the long run, I think a lot of people will see that it’s best for not just the Greek community, but the entire John Carroll community.”