Sorority members displaced

Sorority house on campus that was damaged by flooding.

Anna Weeks, Greek Peek Blog Manager

Alpha Omicron Pi forced to move to smaller home, property damaged 

Week one of winter term is when students normally catch up with friends and start classes, but for the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, it was filled with water.

Gregory Anderson, AOII’s contractor, was greeted with roughly three to four inches of standing water covering the floor of the house when he visited over the break. The women living in the chapter house had to be moved to temporary housing until the home can be repaired.

Alpha Omicron Pi knows all too well what it is like to not have a chapter house. According to Laci Mae James, chapter president, they never imagined that after a short two and a half years of having a house, they would be without one yet again.

A few months after coming to OSU in March of 2014, AOII purchased their first home. The Dutch Colonial style suite was previously the Harrison House Bed and Breakfast.

During winter break, a pipe in the house was capped when a sink was removed. After the residents left for the break, the heat in the house was turned off in order to save money. This in turn led the pipes to freeze when the temperature in Corvallis dropped into the teens, resulting in the pipe bursting. There were no injuries, as no one was in the house over break, according to James.

“We didn’t really anticipate it to get that cold,” James said. The 10 women who lived in the house were notified a week

before winter term began that they would have to move. It is estimated that the flooding had occurred seven to 10 days prior, according to James.

“If there wasn’t that drain there, they said that they would have needed scuba gear to go downstairs and get all the stuff,” said James.

Moving from their house, nicknamed “Homicron,” on 23rd Street into a temporary living situation was a drastic change for the women of AOII. Their new residence has been named “The Barn” due to graffiti spray-painted on the walls in the basement. While “The Barn” is a bit smaller than “Homicron,” the women are making the best of the situation, according to Kristin Spielman, current AOII property manager. The women now have to share five bedrooms and two bathrooms between the 10 of them.

“We had to spend the next two days making multiple trips to the other house to collect the necessary items,” said Sabrina Gust, AOII member. “The girls who had their stuff flooded had to sort through everything and make multiple loads of laundry to dry and wash everything. They also had to buy all new furniture.”

The monetary damage done to the house itself is unknown at this point. And between damage to craft necessities, shirts and ritual supplies, the inside of the house does not look much

better. The flooring had to be ripped out, the walls have been cut out from roughly two feet up, and the furniture was ruined. Many of the women’s personal items may never be restored. Currently there are heaters throughout the house to dry it out. With the exception of the top floor, the whole inside of the house will be undergoing reconstruction, according to James.

“In fact, you could say that it has brought the live-ins even closer together,” said Spielman. “Our headquarters has been working closely with us to make sure that we have everything we need. We are very grateful for them.”

The members have high hopes of moving back into the chapter house at the end of the term, but there is a possibility that AOII will have to wait until the end of the year for their house to be fully restored. In the meantime, chapter meetings have been moved to classrooms on campus. While there is a cost to rent these spaces out, it’s coming together to celebrate their sisterhood that means the most, according to James.

“We have had a lot of good support from the community, so we are really thankful for that,” James said. “We just hope that we can have our house back, but we are definitely thankful that we have somewhere to stay for right now. We know how hard it is to not have a house ‘cause we didn’t have one for a long time in the beginning.” 

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