Fraternity and Sorority chapters acquire new physical houses

Alpha Omicron Pi welcomes their new members on Bid Day in the Memorial Union Quad. The chapter currently has 130 members and has recently moved into a new physical chapter house, where they house select members and hold chapter meetings. 

Brock Hulse, News Contributor

Alpha Omicron Pi, Pi Kappa Alpha move into chapter houses for school year.

Pi Kappa Alpha and Alpha Omicron Pi know all too well what it is like to be an unhoused fraternity and sorority chapter on campus, but recently both have acquired houses of their own.

Finding a place where a student organization is able to both run out of and house their members is no easy task according to Alpha Omicron Pi chapter President Laci James. 

By the start of the new school year, each chapter came into possession of a new physical house in Corvallis, where they are able to house members and run their chapter operations.

Alpha Omicron Pi, otherwise known as AOII, is a social sorority and part of the Panhellenic Council. While AOII can trace their roots here at OSU back to 1926, they recently reinstalled their chapter in 2013. They currently have 130 members.

Pi Kappa Alpha, otherwise known as PIKE, is a social fraternity and part of the Interfraternity Council. PIKE also has a history at Oregon State, originally coming to OSU in 1920. PIKE recently reinstalled their chapter this year, and currently have 92 members.

According to PIKE Chapter President Kyle Daniel, doing from an unhoused chapter to a housed chapter was very beneficial operationally. This was in large part due to PIKE being able to hold chapter meetings at their house instead of Gilbert Hall.

“It’s a lot easier to just say, ‘Hey meet us at the house’ instead of having to reserve places and coordinate all that,” Daniel said. “You just say, ‘Hey meeting’ and you don’t even have to say where. You just know.” 

According to James, having a house doesn’t solve every problem.

“Our old chapter house just simply wasn’t big enough for us anymore,” James said. “There was no meetings happening there because we couldn’t fit anyone in there.”

The need for a larger house was not something new for the women of AOII, as the AOII Headquarters has been looking for a new house since the chapter moved into the old house, according to James. 

A similar struggle for both chapters was the short time frame between figuring out that they would be obtaining a house soon to the actual move-in date, according to James. Both chapters first learned about the houses becoming available in January.

“Normally, you have a lot more time and advance notice that you will be moving into a property,” Eric Webber, previous PIKE chapter president, said via email.

According to James, the change was more than just a new physical house for AOII.

“It was really hard to make sure everything was done in time,” James said. “I really wanted to make this be a stepping stone for us. We had 30 people when we got the old house, and now we’re at 130. It’s been a big step in a really short period of time.”

There are currently 30 housed fraternities and sororities at OSU, 19 of which are members of the Interfraternity Council, with the remaining 11 chapters belonging to the Panhellenic Council. The Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils are currently the only fraternity and sorority councils on campus

with housed chapters.

When it comes to an organization being allowed to start a new chapter at OSU, each governing council or community has their own processes and policies that guide the expansion process, which are typically found in the governing council(‘s) bylaws, according Leslie Schacht Drey, director of the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life.

Once an organization is approved to charter or reinstall through the Panhellenic Council, the process of obtaining a physical location is up to the organization itself, according to Sara Perry, president of the Panhellenic Council.

“If a new fraternity or sorority is interested in obtaining a house off-campus, that is something they can pursue independently.,” Schacht Drey said via email. “In the current fraternity/sorority housing model at OSU, all housed chapters are located off-campus so the governing councils or OSU does not oversee the pursuit of property for individual organizations.”  

When it comes to the funding needed in order to obtain a physical building, that too is up to the specific organization.

“Another factor to consider is if the local organization is affiliated with an inter/national organization and what their inter/national structure for housing is,” Schacht Drey said via email.

For both AOII and PIKE, their organization’s headquarters played a large role in the process of obtaining their chapter’s houses. 

“In AOII our chapters don’t own our facilities, we have a whole other branch that’s AOII properties,” James said.

The PIKE Headquarters was the owner of the house that OSU’s PIKE chapter moved into prior to this year, according to Daniel.

“PIKE has been around (at OSU) since 1920, and they have owned the house since the late ‘70s,” Daniel said. “Our house is one of seven chapter houses that our International’s owns throughout the country, most houses are owned by an Alumni Association.”

Neither house is done being worked on yet, with both chapters working on finishing up renovations and planning out future improvements to their new homes, according to James and Daniel.

“Having a chapter house means you have a face on campus that’s connected with you,” said Daniel.

According to James, art of the dues paid by members of AOII is meant for the upkeep of the house.

“Your house is the most obvious symbol of who you are,” James said. “We want it to be showing realistically what AOII stands for.”

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