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Sustaining a brotherhood without a house

What’s a fraternity without a fraternity house, a place for the brotherhood to all live under one roof?

With the expansion of the UO, Northwest Christian University and Fraternity and Sorority Life, land around campus is sparse. Because of this, not all FSL chapters are housed, eliminating a large aspect of being Greek at all. Not having a central place means holding official meetings in various classrooms on campus and living in separate places, instead of one large house.

But for the Sigma Nu fraternity, the displacement doesn’t stop them from sustaining a strong brotherhood.

Their original house, which sits on 11th and Alder, still boasts their badge, but now houses offices for Northwest Christian. Though they were the first established fraternity on campus, Sigma Nu lost their chapter in 2003, causing them to lose their house to the school. The fraternity regained their charter in 2010, building it from the ground up with 40 founding fathers. Since then, the chapter hasn’t seen a great opportunity to find a house to invest in.

With members scattered in different housing around campus, Eminent Commander (President) Brandon Dawkins finds effective communication through text messaging and Facebook key to keeping a close [email protected]@*[email protected]@

“You can’t just ring a bell around the house to gather the guys,” he said.

The house itself is a big selling point for many fraternities during recruitment. Because this wasn’t an option for Sigma Nu, they relied on another selling point that they found to be the most successful: boasting their fraternal values.

“We emphasized that we live by our values every day,” Dawkins said, showing the wristband he wears every day that lists love, honor and truth.

UO InterFraternity Council president and Phi Kappa Psi member AJ Gorton admires the success of Sigma Nu. “They had exceptional effort during recruitment,” he said. “I can’t even imagine rushing without a facility.”

Dawkins feels confident in the success of his chapter without a house and worries about the culture of his brotherhood if they were to obtain one. “I always wonder, ‘how would our dynamics change if we had a house?’”

Fortunately, in current circumstances, the thought will most likely not come into play. With FSL continuing to expand, the competition for housing will continue to rise and many previously Greek houses are owned by both universities who refuse to budge, according to Gorton.

“We can’t fault (the schools) for needing more space, but it’s sad to see these houses bought out,” Gorton said. “There’s a lot of history in those houses.”

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Brittany Nguyen

Brittany Nguyen