Two fraternities' return to Greek Village has left a pair of sororities in limbo, as they must now vacate the houses they leased from the fraternities.
Pi Beta Phi and Alpha Gamma Delta, two College Panhellenic Association sororities, currently reside in Greek Village houses owned by Sigma Chi and Sigma Phi Epsilon, respectively. With those fraternities now returning to campus, the sororities are faced with the challenge of finding alternate housing.
The University of South Carolina currently has 13 College Panhellenic Association sorority chapters and 22 Interfraternity Council chapters, according to USC’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life website. Greek Village, however, has just 20 housing facilities, which means some organizations do not have a permanent location on campus.
Alpha Gamma Delta has been living in the house owned by the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity for the last 10 years and found out in March 2022 that its lease would not be renewed.
Taylor Sharer, a second-year biology student and a sister of Alpha Gamma Delta, said that sorority leadership has done a good job of being transparent about the situation.
“We've been kept up to date pretty much the whole time, I'd say,” Sharer said. “They were good at keeping us in the loop and having us submit our preferences for things whenever options came up.”
Sharer said she thinks sisters will respond positively to the move off campus.
“I know that a lot of people think that it’s some huge thing, but with us it’s not," Sharer said. “We don’t see it as being super detrimental. The big thing is the new class coming in. We have to be able to make them see that joining Alpha Gam — it’s more than just being in a house and having that place.”
Alpha Gamma Delta purchased a commercial building on Main Street, which no one will live in and is currently under interior renovation. The sorority plans on using it as a meeting place and location to be more active in the community. However, it's ultimate goal is to eventually move back to Greek Village.
Katie Hiner, the president of Alpha Gamma Delta and a third-year cardiovascular technology student, said she is anticipating the move sparking new opportunities during the fall recruitment cycle.
“We're really looking forward to opening up new pathways for people going through recruitment. We're not the only sorority being unhoused, so we're looking to kind of create this new path and create the way for it,” Hiner said. “We're super excited. We're open for everyone to come and join, so I think, with this, it gives us a lot of avenues.”
The Daily Gamecock reached out to Sigma Phi Epsilon's president, Ben Chambeau, but he declined to comment on this story.
Meanwhile, Sigma Chi is moving back into its house in Greek Village after being suspended from campus in March 2016. The fraternity, which returned to campus in spring 2020 but remained out of Greek Village until now, was suspended after an incident involving "an alleged physical assault.," and "more evidence was found over the semester detailing organizational violations of alcohol, drugs, abusive conduct, harassment & discrimination, and hazing for the organization," according to USC's Leadership and Service Center website.
The chapter's house was leased to the Pi Beta Phi Sorority after the suspension, and the sorority has remained there since.
“When we got kicked off, they immediately said, 'Well, we’re not selling the house,' because the whole plan was for us to come back eventually, which we did, and here we are. So, they were able to lease that house to Pi Beta Phi,” third-year finance and sport and entertainment management student and Sigma Chi President Jake Hansmann said.
Pi Beta Phi was told by the Sigma Chi Gamma Nu Housing Corporation which owns the house that its lease would not be extended. According to Hansmann, the housing corporation functions as a sort of landlord and communication agent regarding housing but does not involve undergraduate members of the organization for the most part.
“Our housing corporation is doing most of the talking with the Pi Beta Phi sorority because I think 90% of it doesn’t involve the undergrads, so that’s something that’s out of our realm,” Hansmann said.
The Daily Gamecock reached out to Annika Larson, the chapter president of Pi Beta Phi, but she also declined to comment.
According to Hansmann, Sigma Chi is looking forward to regaining its place in Greek Village.
“Everyone is just excited to have a place to call our own, and it will be one of those surreal moments kind of looking up and seeing the letters on that house,” Hansmann said.