The ETSU Pan-Hellenic sororities that were previously only offered housing in Lucille Clement have been granted housing in Buccaneer Ridge.
“The Pan-Hellenic sororities expressed an interest in staying on campus but moving into apartment-style living with amenities that come with apartment-style living,” said Joe Sherlin, vice president for student affairs. “And we saw an opportunity at Buc Ridge in A and B buildings to really create what in effect would be on-campus sorority houses and to increase visibility for the chapters.”
Joy Fulkerson, coordinator of community service and Greek Life programs at ETSU, said it had become difficult to recruit women to live in Lucille Clement because of the availability of apartment-style housing options.
“That’s been neat because it’s the fifth floor, and so, all the chapters have been together,” Fulkerson said. “It has really created a strong sense of community within individual chapters but collectively as well. However, … that is one of the older residence halls; it is community living. There’s no kitchen, there’s no individual bath and such. With some of the private housing coming up, it had become a little bit harder to get women to commit to live there.”
Before living in Lucille Clement Hall, Fulkerson said the university’s Pan-Hellenic sororities had suite spaces in Ross Hall, but all of the chapters did not live together.
“This past fall was our fifth year in Lucille Clement,” Fulkerson said. “Prior to that, sorority women did not live together on campus. The sororities had suite spaces in Panhellenic Ross Hall. So, six or seven years ago, we had started a conversation with chapters — that building was no longer going to be used as a residence hall — and worked to relocate them to Lucille Clement, which has been great.”
Sherlin said there has been talk of moving fraternities on campus as well; however, no plans have been formalized.
“We have also been meeting with fraternity representatives from the IFC [Inter-Fraternity Council] about the type of housing they would be most interested in on campus,” Sherlin said. “And there’s, I think, potential benefit because it would give them increased visibility on the campus — I think it could enhance the community — and they, now, are in homes off campus that are aging, and I think they would be interested in some different facilities. So, we think it could potentially enhance the quality of the overall experience for the membership and be a real positive in terms of growth.”
Sherlin said the challenge in moving fraternities on campus is financial, as the university’s fraternities have expressed an interest in freestanding facilities.
“To build those facilities requires some significant financial investment,” Sherlin said. “And, I think, … we would need to work together to ensure that the rents they would need to charge would be feasible for new construction. So, we are not at the point where we are ready to proceed with fraternity housing.”
Sherlin said he hopes the presence of the four Pan-Hellenic sororities, with a fall roster of 432 members, will enhance student engagement.
“We think there’s an opportunity to grow,” Sherlin said. “We think the sorority community is very healthy, and it is in line to expand. … I think they’re excited about it. We’ve got an agreement and concept, and we’re just working through the details.”