Strong Hall will soon house a new sorority.
Members of Kappa Alpha Theta will move into the second floor of Strong Hall this fall, a residence hall currently shared by Chi Omega and Pi Beta Phi. The move comes after several months of conversations with members of the sororities who were concerned about filling beds, officials said.
“Both chapters have had a high occupancy obligation to fulfill for its chapter housing relative to their active membership base,” Ethan Stubbs, the assistant director for fraternity and sorority life, said in an email. “Thus, meeting their occupancy requirements has historically been a challenge for both groups.”
Stubbs said officials worked with the chapters’ national organizations and local advisers of other Panhellenic Association chapters after members of Chi Omega and Pi Beta Phi said they were “open to exploring” the option of adding a new sorority. He said officials drafted an agreement with Kappa Alpha Theta to join Strong Hall this fall.
He declined to say when Pi Beta Phi and Chi Omega reached the agreement and when discussions to add the third sorority first began.
Stubbs said renovations to Strong Hall’s lower level last summer added a third community space with a kitchen, allowing the building to accommodate another group. He said adding a chapter will reduce the number of members Pi Beta Phi and Chi Omega are required to house in Strong Hall while also providing a new housing option for another sorority “in our growing community.”
“From a residential life perspective, adding a third chapter to the hall would place all three organizations that reside within the hall on a more equal occupancy level to those across campus in other [fraternity and sorority life] properties,” Stubbs said.
Rachel Brzozowski, Pi Beta Phi’s vice president of housing, said in an email to members of Pi Beta Phi last month that sorority leaders have faced difficulty filling rooms in Strong Hall, and both sororities voluntarily gave up their halves of the floor they previously shared, she said.
“This decision is one we thought long and hard about,” Brzozowski wrote in the email, which was obtained by The Hatchet. “In the long run, this is best for Pi Beta Phi, as we struggle to fill these rooms every semester.”
Strong Hall began housing members of Chi Omega and Pi Beta Phi in the fall of 2010 after the building received renovations, including a backyard plaza and more community spaces.
In the fall, Pi Beta Phi will occupy the third and fourth floors and Chi Omega will have floors five and six, the email states. Brzozowski said the new sorority will move into the second floor, which can fit roughly 19 members, according to GW Housing.
Brzozowski said in the email that the incoming sorority will have a new common space in the residence hall’s basement, and Pi Beta Phi will keep its current common space on the first floor. Chi Omega will also maintain its common space on the seventh floor, and Pi Beta Phi will also gain roof access, which the chapter did not previously have.
She said in the email that the timing of the proposal was not “ideal” because the arrangement was confirmed after applications for off-campus and senior on-campus housing were due.
Brzozowski and Pi Beta Phi President Erica Viscovich did not return multiple requests for comment. Kappa Alpha Theta President Ruth Hartnett also did not return multiple requests for comment.
Chi Omega President Kerri Corcoran, who is also a Hatchet staff writer, declined to comment. Dozens of members of Chi Omega, including some that lived in Strong Hall, were kicked out by the sorority’s national chapter in September for hosting an unauthorized mixer earlier that year.
Panhellenic Association President Izzy Griffith also declined to comment.