The Chapter House: Heart of the Greek Community
For more than 140 years, Greek life on the U of M campus has offered far more than a place to live for its members. It's offered a place to call home.
Every Greek chapter house has its own story, with a unique past, present, and future. There are 34 chapter houses (44 total chapters). They are remarkably diverse, varying in size, style, age, condition and appearance. In fact, 27 of the Greek houses are over 80 years old and eight are over 100 years old. But whatever the age and condition, each Greek chapter house is where lifelong friendships are built and the draw for Greek alumni back to campus.
- 1000 Student Beds
- 27 Houses 80+ years old
- 34 Houses/Facilities
- 8 Houses 100+ years old
"I moved into the fraternity house the spring of my freshmen year...mostly because I wanted to live with my closest friends. I thought it would only last a semester, I lived there for three years. Going home at the end of the day and knowing that I had up to 26 people there to study or hangout with got me through some of the toughest points of my collegiate career." - JD Braun, Tau Kappa Epsilon and former IFC President
"I'll never forget the surreal feeling I felt when moving into my sorority house at the beginning of my sophomore year. I was so eager to live with 33 of my sisters and had no idea how much fun I was in for. I lived in for a total of three semesters, and I can honestly say that living in the house made me an overall happier person and opened up opportunities for leadership roles, friendships, and being an involved and devoted member of the chapter. I became friends with older girls in the house I might not have otherwise gotten to know, and grew extremely close to members of my own pledge class who are my very best friends today. Living in the Delta Gamma chapter house changed my life for the better and provided me with a lifetime of unforgettable college memories." - Bridget Nelson, Delta Gamma
House Renovations: Alumni Volunteers make a Difference
Most Greek Chapter Houses at the U are owned and run by alumni boards, who volunteer to be officers of Minnesota non-profit Greek 'housing corporations.' While rent can be a bit more reasonable for Greek live-in members because of the non-profit status, the chapter houses require constant maintenance and care, along with the occasional major renovation. Some renovations include updating and re-purposing of interior areas while other renovations, especially those on the exterior of many houses, serve to preserve each house's character and meet Greek Chapter House Historic District guidelines.
Pi Beta Phi
In 2012 Pi Beta Phi did a comprehensive inside and outside update and renovation of its Annex, a property adjacent to the historic Main Chapter House.
"The best part of being an alumni house corporation volunteer is working with my Pi Phi friends. We share a common goal - to give our student members, whether they live-in or are 'townies,' a welcoming, beautiful home-away-from-home near campus where they can study, meet up or just relax with their sisters." - Roxann Goertz, Pi Beta Phi House Corporation Treasurer
Pi Beta Phi Annex
Alpha Chi Omega
The Alpha Chi Omega chapter house is an example of how even a "newer" house (50-years old this fall) requires constant upkeep and upgrades to keep it welcoming and safe.
"Over the last 10-15 years we have worked hard to help the chapter house 'feel more like home' through a variety of renovations and upgrades. Projects like a front entry renovation, landscaping and fire suppression, and advanced security systems have greatly improved the appearance as well as the safety."- Lorna Fox, an Alumni of Alpha Chi Omega and President of the Housing Corporation.
A lyre bench in front of the piano, previously donated by the Holden Family (Alpha Lambda 1930)
Delta Gamma HouseDelta Gamma is another sorority house corporation that has made some major changes over the last few years. The dining room was completely renovated during 2013 and 2014 when the chapter replaced all the furniture, lighting fixtures, ceiling and buffet cabinetry. The front entry was also renovated around the same time. The other half of the main floor of the chapter house remains relatively unchanged over the last decade, and continues to look beautiful.Delta Gamma Dining Room
Gamma Phi Beta
Demolition of Gamma Phi Beta Porch, Summer 2016
The Gamma Phi Beta sorority house is another home away from home undergoing major construction this summer. The south facing brick porch on the house was entirely demolished and is in the process of being rebuilt to offer more 'outdoor space' for chapter members to enjoy. Designed by Brooke Jacobson, Architect and Gamma Phi Beta Alumna
Chi Psi is the oldest fraternity at the University of Minnesota, having been founded in 1874. The current chapter house, built in 1930, is continually in a state of renovation to preserve its architectural presence. The driveway and parking lot were renovated last summer and the interior woodwork is currently being refinished. Chi Psi House
Phi Kappa Psi
Phi Kappa Psi House Phi Kappa Psi, founded in 1888 and second only to Chi Psi in age at the U, underwent a nearly quarter of a million-dollar renovation and restoration last summer. Some of the renovation work included redoing floors and carpeting, as well as work on the individual residential rooms.
Phi Kappa Psi Exec Room
Phi Kappa Psi Back of House
"Getting involved with both the House Corp and the Alumni Association has given me the privilege of giving back to the University community in a very organic way."- Peter E. Dahl, Phi Kappa Psi House Corporation
Delta Chi has been having drywall replaced in the basement. A large scale restoration of the exterior brick occurred in the summer of 2014.
Drywall at Delta Chi
Safe Housing for Greek Students Loan Program
The University of Minnesota is committed to helping Greek alumni maintain and improve their chapter houses to provide safer, more comfortable student living and support a better student experience. In 2015, working closely with the MN Greek Alumni Council, the University and the U of M Foundation established a $3-million-dollar low-interest loan program. This money is available exclusively for Greek Housing to make safety and functional improvements at greekloanmn.org.
To-date in 2016, we have five Greek chapters who have signed up for the Safe Housing for Greek Students loan program, bringing in over $1 million to support significant chapter house renovation projects. Sarah Harris, Managing Director of University of Minnesota Foundation Real Estate Advisors, says, "Every Greek house and every request is unique and needs a level of assistance that we are happy to provide." Contact UMFREA at 612-623-3634 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2016 Greek Reunion
Homecoming is the perfect time to visit and attend the 2016 Greek Reunion. All Greek Alumni should plan to attend Homecoming festivities at the University of Minnesota the weekend of October 21st. That weekend is the perfect time to stop by your Greek Chapter house and see what's changed. Many individual chapters may be holding their own activities but you can see the overall U of M Homecoming events here.
Don't miss the Annual Greek Alumni Reunion sponsored by MGAC and the U of M Alumni Association - Friday night after the Homecoming Parade in the Field House. To find out more information, go to GreekAlumniCouncil.com or register now.
All Greek alumni should be active in support of the wonderful, growing Greek system and your own local chapter at the University of Minnesota. There are many ways to volunteer - Join the Minnesota Greek Alumni Council board or a committee or your Chapter Alumni Advisors or House Corporation to preserve the rich culture of the Greek community at the U of M.
Wonder what your house looks like now, and what kinds of renovations are going on? Visit our extensive Greek House photo gallery here.