By Ben Kleppinger
Next fall Todd and Dupree halls are expected to open their doors as the Greek Towers, a consolidated location on campus for all Greek housing floors. But before the renovations to create the Greek Towers begin, the university and the Greek community are working out some specifics.In a normal residence hall renovation, the university can’t offer students any say in the renovation, said Kenna Middleton, associate director of housing at Eastern.
“I don’t know who’s going to live on the fifth floor of Walters next year,” Middleton said.
But because the floors in Todd and Dupree are going to be given to specific fraternities and sororities, it lets the university give the students who will be living in the halls more of a say over the renovations, she said.
The university is currently meeting weekly with Greek representatives to work out what colors of paint, carpet and furniture will be used on each floor, and which fraternities and sororities will receive which floors.
Many fraternities and sororities will receive their own floor in the Greek Towers, but some smaller fraternities that don’t have the size to fill an entire floor will share a floor, said Mike Reagle, associate vice president for student life.
SGA President Alex Combs, who is also president of Sigma Nu, said the plan of assigned floors could cause problems down the road if a fraternity grows or shrinks quickly.
Combs said the only way to avoid the problem would be creating actual Greek houses.
“There’s no real way around it,” he said. “It’s hard to say [how] that could be done better.”
Divvying up the Greek Towers’ floors is one of the tasks the weekly meetings tackle, said Beta Theta Pi President Steve Caudill.
Caudill said at a recent meeting his fraternity was assigned the eighth floor of Dupree.
“This is a big deal,” Caudill said. “I know that there are a lot of non-Greeks who aren’t happy about it. But probably since about 1970 Greeks at Eastern have tried to get localized housing, and this is a huge step to putting the Greek community together.”
Caudill said that each Greek organization will pay an extra private room fee for the privilege of having its own floor, which is the way Greek floors currently work.
Caudill said while fraternities generally don’t have any problems with moving to Todd and Dupree, especially since over 80 percent of Dupree is already Greek, sororities do have some issues.
Some sororities don’t want to lose the suites and private bathrooms they enjoy on their current floors, Alpha Gamma Delta President Jessica Coomes said. And sororities are also required by their national organizations to have a floor, she said.
“We don’t have a choice…because we won’t be allowed to live anywhere else on campus,” she said. “If we don’t have a place to put our stuff and say, ‘we are here,’ then we basically don’t have a chapter.”
Another issue that affects sororities is Eastern’s future plan for renovating or making co-ed many dorms sororities live in, Caudill said.
Sororities cannot have their floor in a co-ed dorm, and the upcoming renovation of Walters means the sororities there will be moving from their current floors anyway, Caudill said.
But Coomes said while some sororities will have to downgrade, that also means all sororities will be on equal footing. Right now some sororities have nicer floors than others, a fact that could influence which sorority freshmen pursue. But with the Greek Towers system, all sororities will have equally nice housing.
“I think this is a step in the right direction to get us in some kind of structural housing that’s good for the campus and good for the Greek organizations,” Coomes said. “It’ll make us stand out a lot more.”
Besides having customized floors, each Greek organization will have its own chapter room, SGA President Combs said.
Combs said the plan is to make each chapter room double-sized by knocking out walls between normal-sized rooms. These rooms will be used as a study room and area to display chapter awards and memorabilia, he said.And rather than having normal RAs, each Greek floor will have a “Greek liaison,” who will be employed by housing, Combs said.
This liaison will be a member of the Greek community, and will be a paid position that pays less than that of a normal RA position, he said.
Greek organizations offer their own programming and events every semester, meaning Greek floors don’t need RAs to provide those services for students, Combs said.
Caudill said he knows many students don’t like the idea of Greek Towers, but feels certain that five years from now it will be clear the Towers were a good idea.
“I feel like people do kinda have the idea that they’re gonna make the Greek Towers some utopian dorm experience,” he said.
“It’s not like they’re gonna be out of control. The walls and the hallway are gonna be a certain color and you’re gonna be able to call it your home. It’s gonna be cool.