Greek organizations make up approximately one-third of the campus population. If Lyon College’s enrollment continues to grow at its current rate, potentially four hundred or more students could be in Greek organizations. Currently, the college only has space for around six hundred students, while the college’s strategic plan wants enrollment to reach around twelve-hundred students within the next five years. Therefore, the campus needs new residential facilities to house a higher number of students.
President King formed a task force composed of Dean Mulick, Activities Director Unswella Ankton, and one alumnus from every Greek organization on campus. The task force is working with an outside consultant to give an outsider’s perspective of what other colleges are doing across the country. This helps the task force figure out the most viable options for potential housing on campus.
The college is currently looking at how to effectively house Greek organizations on campus in a fair way. Greek organizations want designated housing space because they are organizations that traditionally live together on college campuses. Master planners have taken a physical layout of all campus property and are suggesting places to build new residential halls.
A survey was conducted to get input from the Lyon community regarding potential Greek housing options. Survey choices included renovating the apartment row, stand-alone Greek housing, and new residential facilities. A potential combination of scenarios could include renovating apartment row and building a place for Greeks to host events if and when the Temp is demolished. A possible ‘clubhouse’ behind the apartment row could be a place to host parties and meetings.
I sat down and spoke with Dr. Pat Mulick, Dean of Student Life, regarding the future of Greek housing on Lyon College’s campus. Dean Mulick says that he cannot imagine a scenario in the future where we keep the Scottish Heritage Building, also known as the Temp. The Temp is a great potential location for residential housing because it is a beautiful spot right on the bluff. Parking for general areas could be created around the new residence halls. However, this is simply a suggestion; no concrete plans have been set into motion yet.
Dean Mulick says that no matter the plan, equality is a must across the sorority and fraternity houses; all houses would need to look very similar if stand-alone Greek housing was enacted. One idea for the prospective location of stand-alone Greek housing is the area between the enrollment services building and the Highland House.
Overall, the college does not want to to create an environment where Greek life organizations have opportunities that other students do not. The chosen housing option must also be financially viable and promote community development. Dean Mulick has also suggested creating an outdoor space for people to hang out in -- whether on a weeknight while people are studying or on the weekends. Mulick strongly affirms that our campus needs such a space because we want a sense of community to continually be developed.
Mulick believes that the Greek housing issue raises the most questions about how to equitably carry out such a project, and doing so in a way that is consistent with the vibe we want on our campus. The survey sent out to the campus faculty, staff, and students showed much interest for stand-alone Greek housing, revealing that a renovation of the apartment row or creating new residence halls were both popular options. While the future of Greek housing is still being evaluated, Mulick emphasizes that the college is only going to do something that builds the culture of community.