Greek Village spots named

GW announced the names of three sororities and two fraternities receiving a spot in the Greek Village townhouses, currently under construction and set to open next fall. University officials said property negotiations with some fraternities are continuing and the groups receiving the remaining three houses will be announced before Dec. 18.

The Alpha Delta Pi, Delta Gamma and Sigma Kappa sororities and the Phi Kappa Psi and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternities received spots in the townhouses. Officials announced the acceptance in letters to the Greek-letter organizations Friday afternoon.
Sixteen groups applied to live in the six 24-person houses and two 30-person houses built in a row on the east side of 23rd Street by the Smith Center.

“In all the committee weighing of the criteria, these five scored the highest,” said Robert Chernak, vice-president for Student and Academic Support Services.

While the five groups stood out in the consideration of the 16 Greek-letter organizations who originally applied for the houses, the remaining three became more difficult to decide, officials said.

“Each group has various strengths in different categories,” Chernak said. “The was a little less comfort level in deciding the final three.”

Kappa Sigma, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Lambda Chi Alpha are the three fraternities still in contention for the new townhouses that currently maintain privately owned houses on campus.

Chernak said the acquisition of these properties would play a role in the decision and that this criteria “would take precedent over other criteria.”

“We are always interested in purchasing property that is for sale to improve GW academically,” said Mike Gargano, associate vice-president for Student Academic Support Services.

Greek-letter student leaders said the postponement of the decision regarding the last three houses is understandable.

“If they postponed the decision to give it more consideration, then that’s a good thing,” said junior Norm Pentelovitch, president of the Interfraternity Council and a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.
“They are saying that they are trying to be fair but, in an ideal world, they would have told us all together.”

Lambda Chi Alpha currently resides in a house owned by the Sigma Chi fraternity, which left GW in 2000, and any negotiations over property would involve Sigma Chi and not Lambda Chi Alpha.

“They have indicated they are willing to sell,” said junior Dan Cuzzolino, president of Lambda Chi Alpha.

Cuzzolino said he is unaware of any property negotiations involving the house. The fraternity’s lease with Sigma Chi is not under negotiation until the optional two-year lease has expired, but the fraternity applied for a house on campus to help recruitment and enjoy the benefits of being part of a larger Greek-letter community.

Pentelovitch said he was unaware of any negotiations or discussion involving the Kappa Sigma house and was told that Kappa Sigma ownership of a house would not affect Lambda Chi Alpha’s application for a Greek Village townhouse.

Although a property swap may play an increased role in the decision, no new criteria will be considered in the final decision, officials said.

The criteria used to evaluate the organizations for a house include membership development, judicial record, academic performance, recommendations from local and national advisory committees, community service initiatives and contribution to the GW community, officials said.

“We are really in the final stage,” Gargano said. “(The property swap issue) could or could not play a large role. I am still doing my homework.”

Gargano said he does not anticipate any problems with a large number of students living in 24-member and 30-member houses.
“The general premise is that we are going to treat students as adults until they prove (to be) otherwise,” he said.

“We are making an investment to the Greek community,” Gargano said. “I believe that the Greek community is a very important aspect of the undergraduate community.”

Sophomore Alaine Janosy, treasurer of Alpha Delta Pi, said she is required to live in the new 30-member townhouse as a member of the sorority’s board.

“The house is great for recruitment, to further the sisterhood and unity in general,” Janosy said.

Gargano said he hopes the new townhouses will encourage more students to join fraternities and sororities and eventually raise the percentage of students in Greek-letter organizations from 11-12 percent to 20-22 percent.

“We will only get there through growth,” Gargano said. “We have the infrastructure to develop a model Greek community for all urban institutions.”

The new townhouses will be the first time the University has allowed sororities to officially reside on campus.

“It’s great for the sisterhood to form friendships and relationships through the house,” said senior Pam Watson, president of Sigma Kappa. “We did work really hard on (the application process) and it is a really good experience for the girls.”

Students living in the townhouses will pay housing costs similar to a student living in New Hall, Gargano said.

The townhouses will include elevator access and telephone intercom entry, as well as a full breakfast bar eating area and recreational room.

Each floor will contain four or five suites with doubles. The bedrooms are each equipped with cable TV outlets and two high-speed Internet connections.

“(Townhouse Row) provides a central hub for Greek life on campus,” Gargano said. “It would be my ultimate dream to foresee a larger expansion.”

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