When the Ohio State on-campus living requirement takes effect for second-year students Fall Semester 2016, Greek houses will not be allowed to have alcohol in common areas and will be required to provide at least one desk per bedroom or dayroom.
The recent approval of the Greek Housing Standard is set to give second-year students who are part of Greek Life the option to live off-campus in their chapter’s house as part of the university plan to have all second-year students live on campus.
The housing contract deadline for those who live in residence halls to reapply for on-campus living is typically in early February. OSU’s Panhellenic Association and Interfraternity Council typically give out bids for new members to join their chapters in late January as well, though students don’t usually find out until mid-spring if they’ll be able to live in that chapter’s house.
Student Life put together a committee last year that worked on improving the living experience within fraternity and sorority facilities to make it more in line with residence hall requirements, Dave Isaacs, spokesman for Student Life, said in an email.
“The committee then developed concentration areas, resulting in a draft document. The document was then shared with the community for feedback. All requests for presentations and feedback were honored,” Isaacs said. “The committee then incorporated the feedback before proposing the final document.”
The areas that were discussed and biggest changes included the banning of alcohol from all common areas, a requirement to have a live-in adviser and a requirement to have a desk and a study space in each bedroom.
The committee that worked on the document included faculty, staff and representatives of the Greek Life governing councils, IFC, the Multicultural Greek Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council Inc. and PHA.
The policies, though, aren’t completely new.
“The Greek Housing Standard is an addition to OSU’s existing Standards of Excellence program,” Isaacs said.
The Standards of Excellence program has been in effect since 2011 and aims to improve the condition of the Greek Life community by requiring chapters to establish plans and submit annual reports about their progress.
If chapters comply with the new policies, though, they will be eligible to participate in the Second-Year Transformational Experience Program. STEP is a co-curricular component of the requirement for second-year students to live on campus that will likely not be mandatory for students.
OSU has 16 already established PHA sororities and one colonizing chapter, Gamma Phi Beta. According to the PHA website, there are more than 2,000 women involved in these chapters at OSU.
There are more than 2,000 active men in more than 30 fraternities in the IFC at OSU, according to the IFC website.
Madison Aballi, the housing manager of OSU’s Chi Omega Zeta Alpha chapter and a third-year in nursing, said the new rules for the Greek Housing Standard will be an easy adjustment for her chapter.
“We already have a housing core that does a yearly checkup of our house to make sure our building is up to code,” Aballi said. “We’re already a dry house and we have a house mom.”
Gordon Gough, the president of the Ohio Delta Company of the Phi Kappa Psi national fraternity, said the OSU Phi Kappa Psi Ohio Delta chapter house was renovated and completed in summer 2011 and includes many aspects of what the new Greek Housing Standard requires.
“We have all the full life systems, such as sprinklers and smoke detectors,” Gough said. “Each bedroom has a desk because we believe in having dedicated educational places that we incorporated into the house years ago.”
Gough said the common areas on the first floor are already dry, so the new alcohol requirement will not be an adjustment and added that overall, the fraternity is prepared.
“All the final guidelines are probably still wet and we’ll read over everything just to make sure we didn’t leave any stone unturned,” Gough said.
Isaacs said chapters have the choice to opt-in or opt-out once the new requirements take effect.
“There is no impact on the chapter’s ability to participate in recruitment or other aspects of recognition whether they choose to opt-in or not,” Isaacs said.