WEB EXCLUSIVE: University names last three groups for townhouses

Posted 8:30 p.m. Dec. 22-University officials announced the last three Greek-letter organizations to get spots in Townhouse Row Wednesday. The Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and the Alpha Phi and Kappa Kappa Gamma sororities each signed 9-month leases for 24-member houses, set to open next fall.

Alpha Delta Pi, Delta Gamma and Sigma Kappa sororities and the Phi Kappa Psi and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternities were told earlier they would receive townhouses in early December.

“Everyone is so excited,” said sophomore Randy Gellman, a member of Pi Kappa Phi. “We actually weren’t expecting anything.”

“We kept our minds open about everything and no matter what happened, we thought that we’d be happy,” said Gellman.

The eight 23rd Street townhouses are set for completion this summer and will be ready for full occupancy in August.

University officials cited possible property swaps with fraternities who currently own houses and a general need to reevaluate the remaining organizations for the final spots as reasons for a delay in naming the last three groups.

“If we were able to structure a deal with any fraternities who have owned houses, that would have influenced our decision,” said Mike Gargano, associate vice-president for Student Academic Support Services.

University officials said the organizations vying for the final three houses were very close in contention and were reevaluated based on initial criteria which included membership, judicial record, academic performance, recommendations from local and national advisory committees, community service initiatives and contribution to the GW community.

While the issue of the property swap did not play as large a role as expected in the final result, the membership criterion played an increased part in the evaluation, Gargano said.

“If you only have 40 members, that would require more than 50 percent of them to commit to living in the house,” Gargano said. “That’s a lot to ask.”

Gargano noted he initially envisioned a Townhouse Row of four fraternities and four sororities, and the decision to choose more sororities than fraternities came down to the fact that female chapters are better at recruiting new members and promoting “continuity and longevity.”

Senior Matt Wolf, former president of Kappa Sigma, said that while he was disappointed the fraternity would not be moving into a new townhouse, fraternity members are content with their F Street house.

“I was the one who proposed (we apply for a townhouse),” Wolf said. “It was in the best interest of the fraternity.”

Wolf said property negotiations were not an issue because GW owns the current Kappa Sigma house.

However, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Lambda Chi Alpha currently maintain houses near campus, but did not receive a spot in the Village. Members of both fraternities were unavailable for comment.

A leader of at least one other fraternity that currently owns a house near campus said the University offered a property swap despite the fact that the fraternity didn’t apply for townhouse.

Gargano said he was satisfied with the final decision even after the prolonged negotiations.

“The process was extremely fair,” Gargano said. “Overall I am very pleased with the final selection.”

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