VCU considers Greek housing option

Stephen Nielsen
Contributing Writer

For many people, the image of a university is synonymous with the fraternity and sorority experience. For the students for whom this is true, the image is accompanied by the prospect of Greek Row, where they can live the Greek experience with brothers or sisters.

At VCU, this idea may finally become a reality, but not in the traditional sense.

Talks are underway to establish what would be the first Greek-specific housing at VCU. The plan would entail designating a few floors of an already-established residence hall for use of a number of Greek organizations.

“We would basically carve out a section, whether that’s a floor or other areas within a particular residence hall already on campus,” said Reuban Rodriguez, interim director of Residential Life, Housing vice provost, and dean of Student Affairs.

With no traditional “Greek Row,” VCU is piloting a program to house Greek students together, similar to already-established learning communities. Right now, Residential Life and Housing plans to use the Cary and Belvidere dorm for the program.

“Potentially, we’re talking about a hundred (students) for next year,” Rodriguez said. If this plan goes through, it would be a pilot program that could lead to a larger Greek residence hall being established.

“The plan would be to identify a future location for a more traditional approach to fraternity and sorority housing in the new Master Site Plan for VCU,” said Carolyn Whittier, associate director of Programs and Educational Services. The current plan may lead to more permanent development in the future.

To many students, this would be for the best. Dayne Keesee, a member of Omega Psi Phi, feels that, while it’s good that VCU is making the effort to make the traditional experience for Greek communities, it may not be enough.

“I feel like, in a dormitory, that’s a lot of work. … Let’s say some of my brothers who don’t live here come, you’d have to sign them all in,” Keesee said.

On top of that, he said a dorm might not meet students expectations for a real Greek experience. He said that if offered, he could be interested, but wouldn’t want it to be permanent.

For other non-Greek students, the issue may deal more with whether this will be an appreciated change.

“I feel like it would really appeal to younger (Greek) students, and not older students who would rather have a house,” said VCU student Madison Sorah.

Sorah said the program was only a matter of time since VCU has honors and sports dorms.

“We are literally weeks away from making a decision for next year, now that we have some sense of, on (the students’) side, the type of commitment and the spaces available for next year,” Rodriguez said.

According to Rodriguez, there has been a popular response from the VCU Greek community at the prospect of this new dorm, and, for the first time, a large enough population of students in fraternities and sororities to warrant the new housing option.

 

Photos by Amber-Lynn Taber

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