SigEp settles into new house on Pro Row
Published: Monday, September 9, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 9, 2013 01:09
After two years without a house on campus, Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp) officially opened its house on 92 Professors Row with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday.
The fraternity had been without a house since May 2011, when damages from an unsanctioned Senior Week alumni party prompted SigEp’s landlords to refuse the organization’s return to the 114 Curtis Street residence.
The organization has since made a concerted effort to ensure that a similar incident does not occur, according to SigEp President Stephen Ruggiero II.
“While we were [without a house], we did a lot to make sure we cleaned up our image, to show we’re capable of the responsibility of having a house,” Ruggiero, a senior, said.
The house on 92 Pro Row became available in the summer of 2012 after the university told the fraternity Sigma Nu — which had occupied the house since 1985 — to leave. The space at that time had reportedly deteriorated due to abuse and neglect by its tenants. Female transfer students took up residence in the house before November 2012, when SigEp signed a one-year agreement for the house.
The brothers will learn this semester whether or not they will be able to stay in the house in subsequent years, Ruggiero said.
Several representatives from the university administration and the national SigEp organization, as well as leaders from Greek organizations on campus, attended the housewarming ceremony.
University President Anthony Monaco, who participated in the ribbon cutting, noted the importance of the house in symbolizing the role of the fraternity on campus.
“This is not just a house with residents. It’s about what they represent in Greek life on campus,” he said. “[Fraternities and sororities] provide a lot of active support for students in academics, leadership development and school spirit.”
Monaco also addressed the brothers directly, reminding them of the real importance of the event.
“A house is one thing, but it’s all the work this fraternity does across the campus ... that matters,” he said.
SigEp Regional Director Logan Fletcher, who oversees the fraternity’s 21 chartered chapters in the Northeast, commented on the benefits of the house’s location on the corner of Pro Row and Packard Avenue.
“The house is a great location,” he said. “It helps them to be a part of the fraternity and sorority community.”
Fletcher added that while the house may prove to be a convenient recruiting device, he does not believe it is necessary to gain new members.
“If we’re recruiting the best men, then the house isn’t what they’re joining for,” he said.
Ruggiero agreed, saying that the fraternity targets a high quality, not quantity, of men.
“We don’t want the house to do the recruiting for us,” he said. “It’s a tool we can use. We’re hoping not to recruit more, but higher quality guys.”
The 11 brothers living in the newly renovated house will pay rent through the university bursar, much like students living in a dorm, according to Ruggiero. Though the university owns the house, Massachusetts law stipulates that the fraternity chapter will pay the housing property tax, he said.
According to SigEp Vice President of Programming Gregory John Vitale, the fraternity will not have access to the house’s basement, which may preclude it from hosting larger events. Vitale is considering other ways the fraternity can engage students in its new space, such as hosting backyard events.
“We have to think of new and interesting ways to reach out to the community,” Vitale, a senior, said.
Graduate Assistant at Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Hayley Keene believes that SigEp’s return to an on-campus house is part of a positive trend in Greek life on campus, which also includes the addition of new sorority Kappa Alpha Theta this year.
“Any time there’s an expansion in Greek organizations is great,” she said. “It shows that there’s an interest in Greek life and that it’s growing.”
Before cutting the ribbon to the house, Monaco noted the short distance between the president’s house and the fraternity.
“It’s quite an honor to have you as a neighbor,” he said to the brothers. “Lucky for you, I’m a very sound sleeper.”