A Greek row would improve Greek life and the UB experience

From houses to homes


Greek life at other large universities and portrayed in the movies starkly contrasts the realities of Greek life at UB.

Greek rows – fraternity and sorority houses donning letters lined up on one street, making parties larger and the appeal of Greek life greater – can be seen in entertainment and at large universities across the country.

That may finally become a reality at UB, with Standard Ascension Tower Group Corporation planning to build a $60 million Greek village near North Campus.

A Greek row at UB could be promising.

Most fraternities and sororities currently reside in the University Heights, where eight or so students will live in old, dilapidated homes. These houses are spread throughout the area, with some on Winspear Avenue, Lisbon Avenue and Northrup Place. Greek life is spread so thin it becomes difficult to maintain interactions and attend parties, meetings or any other social event.

Moving Greek life into a centralized Greek row near North Campus would get students out of the Heights, where residents complain about the parties and crime rates are high.

Although UB is in no way affiliated with the project, it would allow UB to monitor Greek life more closely and perhaps improve the Greek life that already exists. It would also provide more appealing Greek life for prospective students.

There is a certain culture around the houses on South Campus that fraternities and sororities have had for years. It may be difficult for them to give up – no matter how broken down some of the homes may be, they are part of each group’s history. Convincing everyone to move may be more difficult than it seems on the surface.

Greek life can be good for a big school. It makes the number of students seem less overwhelming and creates a more integrated sense of community. While most other big schools around the country have intricate Greek life, there are fraternities and sororities still struggling to recruit a pledge class at UB.

The new village may even encourage off-campus fraternities and sororities to work toward school recognition.

UB Greek life is small– it only accounts for about 2 percent of the student population. But that the concept of a Greek row hasn’t been broached until now is surprising since oversight of the groups seems like something UB would want.

The issue lies in accountability.

If UB had a Greek row on campus or purchased homes for Greek organizations itself, it would have to take on more responsibility in monitoring the groups and these houses and if something goes wrong, it would be on its shoulders to fix it.

Many university officials claim UB is unaware of the project. SAT Corp is behind the complexes, which means that UB doesn’t have to make the big decisions. But we would like to see our university take a more active role in its Greek life and its housing conditions – make that all students who live in the Heights’ housing conditions.

We’re not so sure this change will happen anytime soon. SAT Corp plans to have some of the houses ready for next fall, but with the company not yet approved to begin construction and just handing out non-binding leases to gage interest now, we are skeptical.

While it may take time and effort to plan the new housing, it still seems like a worthwhile investment to help improve Greek life, nightlife and the UB student experience.

The editorial board can be reached at editorial@ubspectrum.com.