Many Fraternities See Increase in Summer Boarders

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As fraternity members and residents stroll to and from the kitchen of the Kappa Delta Rho chapter house, an overflowing house mailbox, stuffed shelves and chatter from upstairs reveal that they, like many other campus fraternity houses, are packed for the summer.

Every summer, campus fraternities open their doors to a wide variety of boarders, but with summer session enrollment at a record high this year, recent graduates hunting for local jobs and students sticking around for work, some fraternities have received a larger number of housing inquires, filling rooms faster and earlier than usual.

"While we usually have no problem filling the chapter house, this year we were sold out a month before school ended," said Patrick Lynch, house manager for Sigma Alpha Epsilon. "I still get e-mails from people wanting to move in."

Josh Curtis, house manager at Alpha Gamma Omega, said the number of people he had to turn away this year was nearly the same as the number of people he is able to board - a marked increase from previous years.

This year, at least 18 fraternities are offering summer housing with rent fees ranging from $400 to $1,500 for the entire summer.

"Summer rent varies from house to house," said Stephen Primack, house manager for Alpha Epsilon Pi. "In general, fraternity rent in the summer is definitely cheaper than during the school year."

Some fraternities attribute the increase in requests to online ads posted on sites such as Cal Rentals, Uloop and Craigslist.

"What really shot inquiries up through the roof was our listings on the Cal Greeks website and Craigslist," said Brian Thomas, house manager for Alpha Sigma Phi.

Thomas said the house is at maximum capacity, with all 22 rooms filled with fraternity members and a few with other boarders.

"The house is pretty full right now," said J.P. McNicholas, a member of Pi Lambda Phi. "There really isn't too much studying happening since the summer session hasn't started. Some guys are working. It's pretty relaxed."

A lack of online ads may have hurt Sigma Phi's boarding opportunities, member Christoph Neyer said in an e-mail. The chapter house is boarding fewer people than last year after beginning online advertising much later than other fraternities, he said.

Some fraternities also believe the spike in summer school enrollment may have triggered the rush for housing this year. At the beginning of the summer, campus officials estimated that 1,000 more students were enrolled compared to the previous year, and that number may rise as the July 30 enrollment deadline approaches.

"There are definitely more people inquiring from the summer school side of things this year than in past years," Thomas said.

While individual fraternities have seen increases in boarders who are attending summer school, Jeremiha Douglas, president of the Interfraternity Council, said the summer fraternity housing scene really has not changed drastically from previous years.

"Most houses are open for the summer in general, and this summer is no different," Douglas said in an e-mail. "I don't have specific numbers in terms of how many people are living in, but I don't believe it would be any different."

Regardless of the sheer number of students remaining or their reasons for sticking around, summer fraternity housing has been beneficial to both boarders and fraternities alike, members said.

"It's been really good," Primack said. "We use money from rent over the summer to pay off our utilities and work on house repairs and renovations."

Fraternities and sororities offer housing that differs from apartments and the dorms, according to Neyer. The social scene is better, and the rooms are much nicer, he said.

"There's a full kitchen, dining room and living room," he said. "It's kind of like a small co-op."


Contact Aaida Samad at [email protected]

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