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Members of Five Greek Chapters Formally Open Sorority Row with Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony


Sorority Row Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Sorority Row Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

JONESBORO – Sorority members and officials at Arkansas State University today cut the ribbon to formally open five new houses comprising Sorority Row.

Speakers were Taylor Gee of Nashville, Tenn., president of the National PanHellenic Council at A-State, Gov. Mike Beebe, Chancellor Tim Hudson and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Rick Stripling.

A huge crowd of students, alumni and university representatives turned out for the A-State Homecoming Weekend highlight despite rain which forced the ceremony indoors into the Red WOLF Center, from which those attending still had a panoramic view of the new residences for the local chapters of five national sororities.

“We’re all here today because of these five beautiful sorority houses,” Gee told the crowd before the ribbon was cut.  “These houses have created the home that we have all been looking for . . . the houses will mean something different for each of us.”

On behalf of the PanHellenic Council, she expressed appreciation to the Board of Trustees, alumnae, architects, construction team, and Student Affairs staff.

Dr. Stripling and Dr. Hudson recognized the representatives from the national headquarters of the various sororities, along with the broad base of supporters who made the project successful.

“We appreciate the effort, the vision, the persistence that everybody put into this project to make it a reality,” Hudson said.  “I know you’re going to make a lot of memories in these houses, and that’s what this college experience is all about.”

Gov. Beebe cited the positive influence of his own campus Greek life experience and the importance of residential life to the college experience, saying, “What we’re celebrating here today is a further extension and example of residential life . . . we’re talking about sisterhood in sororities that will create those lasting friendships and loyalties that will follow you the rest of the days of your life.”

He also encouraged the ladies to remain loyal to A-State after they complete their degree and continue to support the institution throughout their lifetime.

The sorority chapters in the new houses are Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Omicron Pi, Chi Omega, Delta Zeta, and Zeta Tau Alpha.

The five national sorority chapters that occupy the houses, followed by the year each was founded at A‑State, the sorority nickname, current student president, and affiliated philanthropic focus, are:

  • Alpha Gamma Delta, 1948 (Alpha Gam):  Shelby Brooks of Benton, Juvenile Diabetes.
  • Alpha Omicron Pi, 1949 (AOPi):  Cassie Adams of Jonesboro, Arthritis Research and American Juvenile Arthritis Organization.
  • Chi Omega, 1961 (Chi O):  Sandy Smith of Newport, Make-A-Wish Foundation.
  • Delta Zeta, 1991 (Delta Zeta):  Tess Wheetley of Advance, Mo., Speech and Hearing Impaired Research.
  • Zeta Tau Alpha, 1968, reinstalled 2012 (Zeta):  Allyson Freeman of Newport, Breast Cancer Education and Awareness.

The first chapter of a national Greek-letter sorority was founded at Arkansas State 65 years ago, but these are the first free-standing houses.

The university issued bonds for the project. Each of the 8,050-square-foot houses, which are leased to the sororities, accommodates 20 young ladies who pay room and board like they would do in a conventional residence hall. Those fees, along with support from the national sororities for common spaces, will retire the bonds.

After the location for Sorority Row was established, representatives of the sororities chose their building lot in the order the various sorority chapters were established on campus.

Random selection was used for choosing the exterior design and the brick for each house.  The interior floor plans are uniform, but some options with interior finishes were available at an extra cost, paid by the sorority. 

Each house has approximately 8,050 square feet of living and meeting space. The chapters enjoy support from volunteer alumni advisers who work actively with the students.

At a “showcase” event on Aug. 5, students and alumni advisers met with architects, contractors, and university officials to receive ceremonial keys to the houses.

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