Editorial | SigEp’s housing crisis will have a widespread impact
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 07:09
This year, the house previously belonging to Sigma Nu at 92 Professors Row has been temporarily designated housing for female transfer students. Over the summer, Tufts offered the house to Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp) under the condition that 10 of its brothers would already be signed up for on-campus housing. The fraternity was unable to meet these requirements, resulting in the house going to transfer students.
Campus culture will suffer from this housing decision. The student body at large would be better served by utilizing the house as a fraternity – as it has been in the past – rather than as a house for transfer students.
SigEp’s lack of an official house has ramifications for both the fraternity and for Tufts’ Greek life as a whole. Greek houses are extremely important in the cultivation of a strong Greek community. They increase the social presence of fraternities and sororities by making them more visible on campus, and they foster a sense of community among those involved in Greek life. This sense of community is especially important during recruitment, when rushers use the houses as meeting points.
The lack of a house also factors into the development of a strong, close brotherhood or sisterhood. Members of a fraternity or sorority will forge relationships regardless of the presence of an official house, but the existence of one greatly facilitates the creation of these bonds.
The impact of this decision also resonates among other members of campus. Houses are a place where all freshmen, regardless of their intentions regarding Greek life, can socialize. For freshmen who choose to rush, they are a place where new members can become comfortable with their new brothers or sisters and become members of the larger Greek community at Tufts. Without a focal center where they can interact with and get to know their potential brothers and sisters – or even just friends – it only becomes more difficult for freshmen to develop a real sense of belonging.
There is no doubt that the brothers of SigEp will remain a close-knit brotherhood and that the transfer students at 92 Professors Row will have an opportunity to become integrated into the larger Tufts community. In fact, programming geared toward achieving that end – respectively, for both Greek life and transfer students – guarantees that both will develop tight bonds. Considering that, making a housing decision that would more positively impact the larger Tufts community, rather than smaller niches, should be the priority. Because SigEp would use the house to strengthen both their own brotherhood and campus Greek life, awarding it to them would have made that positive impact.