By Sarah Cornett – Editor-in-Chief
In the spring of 2011, a group of male students began the process of recolonizing the Beta Theta Pi (Beta) fraternity on campus. Now, two years later, the Epsilon chapter is enjoying great success. After accepting eleven new men from this year’s formal recruitment, Beta has also officially been granted the Breeze House for next year.
The Breeze House, located at the end of Greek Row, holds special significance for Beta. The building was built in 1900 and later named after Bill Breeze. Currently, Mr. Breeze serves as the Special Assistant to the President for Endowment, but he started at Centre as a member of the class of 1945 and as a member of Beta Theta Pi.
While it seems fitting that the current men of Beta should come to live in a residence hall named after a fellow Beta, Mr. Breeze had nothing to do with the decision. It was in fact members of the Centre administration that granted the house to Beta. According to past Beta president and senior Tony Huffman, there are several college requirements for any Greek organization wishing to possess a residential building.
“There were certain standards that we had to meet. We had to pass at least two years of Greek Review,” Huffman said. “We were also required to have a minimum of 25 men pass through the organization. These stipulations weren’t special to us or anything like that, they’re required of every organization.”
Since the colony reached its final requirement last fall, the men have begun plans for the conversion of the facility. Renovations on the Breeze House will begin this summer with funds stemming from both the college and Beta’s endowment.
An updated floor plan is being developed and includes a kitchen, a chapter room, a suite for the organization’s president, and a library on the first floor. The second floor will be primarily residential rooms, creating housing for a total of 14 men. For additional furniture, the organization has turned to its network of alumni.
“We have amazing alumni,” sophomore and Beta Chairman of Public Relations Ross Larson said. “They have always been willing to help out in any way they can, whether that be financial support, administrative support, or advisory support.”
The finished living space will open up a lot of new social opportunities for Beta. Many of the organization’s members hope that the new house will give Beta a chance to redefine the idea of fraternity parties.
“The incoming class of men will have the most influence in how we do parties next year and ultimately it will be up to them,” junior and Beta Chairman of Social Programming Sam Lane said. “As of right now though I think we are shooting for only one or two parties per semester. We really want to create parties that feel more laid back and have an open guest list so that anyone on campus would be invited.”
Sophomore and Beta Chairman of Brotherhood Corey Rusko echoed Lane’s opinions.
“I think Beta has tried to offer an alternative way to do things and I think that’s going to be reflected in the party culture,” Rusko said.
Ultimately though, for many members of the fraternity, the Breeze House represents much more than just a living space or a place to host parties.
“When it comes to the Beta brotherhood, we really are a family,” Rusko said. “When it comes to the Breeze House I know that it won’t just be a house, it will be our house.”
“There wasn’t ever a guarantee of a house but we are so lucky to have one. It’s been a long process with many men and alumni contributing to the effort,” Huffman said. “For us getting a house is a sign of growth and stability. Hopefully it’s a sign that we will be on this campus for many years to come.”