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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Theta Xi fraternity members look forward to living in a new house

Members reflect on how the newly constructed facility will impact the fraternity’s future

 

By AMBER WARNKE — features@theaggie.org 

 

The Beta Epsilon chapter of the Theta Xi fraternity has moved houses from their 515 1st St. location to their new location next door at 503 1st St. The new house, which has been under construction for over a year, is three stories tall and can host 35 members living in-house, according to Jack Connolly, a fourth-year environmental toxicology major and member of Theta Xi. 

The new facility is “walking distance away from the MU,” Jake Riter, a third-year managerial economics major and president of Theta Xi, said. “You can’t ask for a better spot; you got downtown basically there, [and] we’re less in a residential area, which is good for social events with music.”

He explained the different facets of the house while giving a tour of the facility. “These libraries as well are great study areas,” Riter said. “Normally, you don’t associate a fraternity with studying, but what kind of sets our fraternity apart is our focus on academics.”

According to Connolly, another benefit of the house is its opportunities for events. 

“With all the space that we have, we can do a whole lot more of the philanthropy and community service events that are as important, if not more, than our social events,” he said. “Giving back to the community is one of the main purposes of the fraternity.” 

The house will also offer more space for future members. “We used to have a very strong culture of members living in houses, which this house will help us come back to,” Connolly said. 

Bob Testa, former chapter president of Theta Xi at UC Davis from 1962 to 1963, provided insight into the early days of the organization at Davis. 

“We added a ‘sleeping porch’ [to the 515 1st St location],” he said. “In those days, nobody had a bed in their room. Everybody slept in a bunk bed in the same room, called the sleeping porch… sort of like a barrack. In the original house, bedrooms had desks, dressers, but no beds. It gave more room for social interaction. Back then, we truly were brothers in the sense of being siblings, part of one family. The doors were always open and never locked.”

Current brothers hope to return to this tradition of communal living in the new house, which currently accommodates about half of the fraternity. “The more people living in [the new house], the better the community is. Overall, living with brothers so far has been a great experience,” Riter said.

While some students may worry about the cost of living in such a big house, Testa expressed that living in a fraternity house can actually save money. “[Some people] see Greek Life as adding to the cost of college, but the reality is quite different. We paid our fees to live in the fraternity house at roughly 70% of what students paid to live in the dorm.” 

Connolly added that the house will only get cheaper as dues continue to pay off house loans.

Currently, Theta Xi members are excited about the new opportunities the house will bring to their fraternity. “We’re hoping [the new house] attracts more potential members who are interested in Greek Life to our house,” Connolly said. “The new house gives us a chance to redefine our image and hopefully give us a more integral part of Greek Life.”

 

Written by: Amber Warnke — features@theaggie.org