Location: 2156 F St. NW
Readers’ pick: The hippo statue in front of Lisner Auditorium
The Sigma Chi bench has earned an iconic reputation from students as a monument you don’t have to walk a mile to see.
The oversized red wooden bench sits in front of the Sigma Chi fraternity townhouse on the corner of F and 21st streets. Nicknamed “the bench” by students, it has become an unofficial symbol of the fraternity house and a landmark on campus. The bench has also gained attention after dozens of mentions on the GW’s memes page on Facebook, making it a well-known campus destination for those in and out of Greek life.
Jeff Armstrong, Sigma Chi’s public relations chair, said the bench was built six years ago by brothers of the fraternity. While it has gained traction on campus, Armstrong said it is “just a great place to hang out when the weather is nice.”
The fraternity used the bench for philanthropy this year. Sigma Chi hosted a bench signing event for Derby Days – the organization’s annual fundraiser that raises awareness for cancer research and treatment – where people could sign the bench in silver Sharpie for just $1. Through the event, the fraternity raised more than $500.
“Countless individuals pass by the bench each day and associate the bench with strictly Greek life, yet we wanted to change that connotation and have our message and philanthropy reach more than just the Greek community because everybody is impacted by cancer in one way or another,” Armstrong said.
While none of the brothers really know what caused the bench’s rise to fame, the memes and jokes don’t go unnoticed.
“We’ve all seen the memes about it,” Armstrong said. “There seems to be a community here at GW that thinks the idea of a big red bench is hilarious, or maybe they’re laughing at us. I don’t know, but we appreciate the memes. Keep them coming.”