Beginning in the fall, four fraternities will have space on East Tennessee State University’s campus.
Two fraternities will have houses on campus and two others will have spaces in residential halls.
The spaces that these four fraternities will be occupying is not residential. Instead, it’s a place for them to go between classes to study and hold executive meetings.
ETSU leaders say it’s part of a multi-year plan.
Associate Vice President for Student Life and Enrollment, Dr. Jeff Howard, says this will provide a learning community for fraternities on campus.
“We actually have four fraternities that are moving to campus spaces this fall. Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Phi Fraternity are both moving into houses on Maple Street which is on campus property, and Betta Upsilon Chi Fraternity and Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity are all moving into resident hall space where they will have suites. So, they will be able to utilize the space for small gatherings, meetings, study hall, academic tutoring,” said Dr. Howard.
Currently, several fraternities have off-campus housing, which Dr. Howard said hasn’t worked in the past.
“That residential model of off-campus houses, which are aging infrastructures, has not worked in recent years. So the shift is to bring the fraternities to campus to give them a space to kind of call their own. This is really a trial year for us. We’ve never had this kind of a model on campus. So this being the first year of kind of a multi-year plan of seeing how this works, identifying space with the goal of expanding the system and for having a space for all of our chapters on campus. We hope that this will support them to raise their visibility and help grow their chapters,” explains Dr. Howard.
Lizz Glenn lives across from one of the fraternity houses on West Maple Street. She agrees that the fraternities should have their own space on campus.
“I’ve actually lived here for about five months now. So it hasn’t been too long. But I really like the area. The community’s great and it’s got a lot of history. It’s really a quiet neighborhood. You would think that a college neighborhood would be a little more loud but it’s a lot more relaxed than I thought it would be. Everyone that’s come out of there that I’ve actually been able to say hello to are just nice kids. I think it’s a great idea, to be honest. When I was going to school, being able to associate with the actual school, being in the library, being on campus, you get to see the people who are focused. Whenever you get further away from campus I feel like you have a lot more distractions going on.”
Dr. Howard said that ETSU is currently in the middle of a Housing and Residential Life Master Plan and are currently working with a consulting group to come up with the next ten-year plan. As of right now though, it is not sure if new housing will be a part of that plan.
He says the school will be evaluating how this process goes within three to five years. From there, Fraternities could move to residential space on campus. Sororities already have on-campus living.
We did reach out the fraternities for statements. We did receive a statement from Sigma Phi Epsilon saying,
“Sigma Phi Epsilon is excited and hopeful about the future with housing on campus. Sigma Phi Epsilon has worked closely with East Tennessee State University for a number of years to assess and implement a housing concept that works for our Chapter. We are pleased with the hard work that the university has put into making this project a reality. The house that Sigma Phi Epsilon will be moving into on campus is not a residential house; it is a space for meetings, study, and a place for our membership to share their brotherhood. This style of fraternity house ties in with our Headquarter’s blueprint for a Residential Learning Community, which is designed to promote and foster the overall growth of our members.”
We have not received statements from any other ETSU fraternities at this time.