Despite rumors about why Greek women don’t have houses on campus, lack of funding is the main thing keeping sororities from building or renovating places to live together.
According to Meg Burgess-Hull, Linfield Panhellenic Council publicity director and programming chair of Alpha Phi, there is a rumor about how Jane Failing donated a large amount of money to the college and instructed the school not to create all-women living spaces because they would be similar to brothels.
Burgess-Hull said that the story isn’t true and doesn’t play a part in her sorority’s decision not to have a house.
“The reason why we don’t have houses is because none of the chapters have decided to spend money on them,” Burgess-Hull said. “It’s really expensive to buy houses with that big of capacity to hold that many girls.”
Burgess-Hull said that there is also a false story about a Linfield policy prohibiting chapters from building houses unless each sorority can have a house.
“If one sorority decides they have the money to get a house, that’s totally fine,” she said. “Just because one chapter has one doesn’t mean that they all have to find houses.”
Jeff Mackay, associate dean of students and director of residence life said that renovating or building a house would be an expensive process.
“Creating a space for that many people to live turns into a challenge, not that anyone’s saying that it can’t be done,” MacKay said.
Mackay said that most of the sororities on campus are relatively new, with Phi Sigma Sigma beginning in 1981.
He said this is a problem when considering that alumni usually fund the creation and upkeep of Greek houses.
“Phi Sig’s oldest alumni are about my age, so they are spending all their money on getting their kids through school and raising families,” Mackay said. “They just aren’t in the right place in life for funding major projects for their undergraduate sorority.”
Senior Courtney Hatch said that even though it would be nice to have a house, her sorority sees many benefits to using a chapter room in Miller Hall.
“It sets us apart from other Greek systems,” Hatch said. “And I think it encourages people who were originally scared of Greek life to get involved.”
Burgess-Hull said she appreciated the opportunity to live with girls from different clubs and sororities on campus.
“Not having a house lets us intermix with the Linfield community instead of sectioning ourselves off,” she said. “We are students as well. We don’t want to alienate ourselves.”
Hatch said that having a specific chapter room in the basement of Miller Hall is a good system for holding sorority meetings.
“We pretty much get free reign down there,” Hatch said. “We get to paint and put new carpet and couches in the rooms. Each chapter rooms has a different personality and feel.”
Joanna Peterson/Managing editor
Joanna Peterson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.