Greeks United, NOT Divided....Arizona State University Greeks say NO to proposed "Village"
This petition had 191 supporters
This petition is a student-driven initiative in response to Arizona State University’s Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Village. Although we appreciate the work that has been put in by a select group of students and the University, there are serious flaws in the project and concerns that have not been addressed; other solutions not yet explored.
Cease development of Arizona State University’s proposed Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Village. There is a growing outpouring of discontent and disinterest, yet the University is continuing to develop a short-term solution to the long-term problem of on-campus Greek housing. No project should continue until all parties (Arizona State University, Fraternities and Sororities, National Organizations, Alumni Housing Corporations, Chapter Advisors, American Campus Communities) can reach a definitive agreement. By continuing their project, Arizona State University is disregarding the opinions and concerns of all facets of Greek Life on this campus.
Primary Issues :
· Cost : Organizations are bound to a four-year lease that is grossly different in price per square foot across the different parlor fees and unit sizes. The university mandates either a local or national housing corporation to co-sign the lease and be financially responsible for collecting parlor fees. At a price of $7900 per bed and two people to a room, these rates are not competitive with Vista Villas Greek Student Housing and other off-campus student housing. The University claims to not trying to compete with off-campus student housing, however, off-campus student housing is in direct competition with proposed University housing.
· Occupancy Requirements : Currently, the University requires recognized sororities to maintain 85% occupancy in the Adelphi Commons. This is a continuous issue for these organizations, as there is a lack of interest to live in this type of noncompetitive on-campus facility. With an occupancy requirement of 100% in the new Greek Leadership Village, organizations will be required to foot the bill for any unfilled beds and face repercussions if they do not meet the requirement.
· Amenities and Marketability : Every new student housing project in Tempe has competitive amenities that are driving students to want to live there. With the Village’s proposed shared bedroom style, community bathrooms and showers, there are no incentives driving students to want to live there other than living in a townhouse with members of their organization. As it stands, the University has no plans to build indoor or outdoor recreational facilities, including but not limited to: a fitness center, volleyball or basketball courts, swimming pool, or on-site parking.
· Parking : The pre-existing Cholla Village had an occupancy of 380-650 residents. The proposed project would house up to 950 students with no additional parking structures planned. In addition to the residents living at the Village, there would be hundreds of Greek Student and Alumni guests visiting the property daily with no option to park other than the constantly full Rural parking garage. Not only are parking structure passes expensive, the visitor parking situation is always chaotic and a very costly expense for visiting a facility that is being built to promote community among Greek students. The proposed Skyview (Tempe) Project across the street whose acreage is less than half of the Village will support a 24-story mixed-use development and an above ground 7-story, 540 parking space garage. It plans to contain 85 studio, 141 1-bedroom, 137 2-bedroom, and 30 3-bedroom apartments.
· Exclusivity : This project only boasts 27 townhomes and a community center for over 75 on-campus organizations comprised of more than 4500 Greek students. The cost associated with living at this facility immediately excludes 60% of the organizations from being able to live there as they simply do not have the local or national means to fulfill the obligations of the facility. If the university had any serious commitment to the longevity of Greek Life and wanted to develop an innovative project that included all Greek councils, they would have considered going vertical or explored alternative sites that would be more suitable for a full Greek Community.
Secondary Issues :
· Alumni Involvement : With the limited number of meetings and private conference calls the University conducted, there has not been ample opportunities for organizations’ alumni to advocate and assist with the project on behalf of their chapter. This has led to confusion about every facet of the project between the University and the students and alumni. Due to the fact that the University has excluded alumni in the planning of this project it has left out key fundraising opportunities that chapters would typically have if they were developing their own home. In addition, there have been many alumni groups that have stated they will not cosign the lease for the parlor fees on behalf of their organization. The lease guarantee was not mentioned until very late in the planning process. In fact the University initially said there would not be a guarantee.
· Committee Inclusiveness : Although this project is touted as something that is inclusive of all councils, there is not equal representation on the committee from all groups. The committee is stacked with Panhellenic and IFC members with only a few members from multi-cultural organizations. Due to that, it has caused the project to be developed for the larger fraternities and sororities who they assume are financially capable, rather than developing an inclusive and affordable community for every Greek student.
· Other Potential Plans : The University has stated that the Cholla land was the only housing real estate available on campus. In developing the Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Village, the University opted out of a plan that could have developed freshman housing for W.P. Carey students and instead is moving forward with a plan to develop housing for a significantly smaller amount of students. As it stands, there is no information on any other potential development sites for this project unlike most other developments. In planning this project, the University opted to look at schools that were not comparable to the size, academics, and standards of Arizona State University. Instead of observing some of the premiere Greek communities in the country, the University limited themselves to campuses that were halfway across the country and unlike the norm of ASU and other top west-coast universities.
· “Student Driven Initiative” : From the beginning of the project, the University has labeled this as a “Student Driven Initiative”. While students may have been involved in some of the preliminary planning stages and University prompted discussion, there is a significant amount of work for this project that is being done without the student committee. University representatives who work with the housing committee formulate the agenda for each meeting, direct the conversations and oversee all of the tasks the committee sets out to do. All questions, comments and concerns regarding the project are directed towards University staff to be answered. Additionally, the University hosts private conference calls with alumni and national organizations where open, free flowing discussion was not allowed, and the calls were not recorded or disclosed.
· Community Center : The Community Center is supposed to be a place that represents the chapters that are not living in the village. There are conflicting reports whether the community center will be open to the public or for the exclusive use of the Greek community. It has been said that the space will allow for public tours of the area to gain a better sense of understanding of the ASU Greek community, have an option for retail space, and play host to the organizations that do not live in the Village. The cost of the development of the community center is being provided by ASU but the financial burden will be left to the chapters who decide to live in the village. This could potentially enable Greek organizations that are not living in the village to enjoy the amenities of the community center that only other organizations are paying for.
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