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UNK proposes new Greek housing by fall 2022

The inital decision to transition fraternity and sorority students into the Nester living space has since been changed.

New Fraternity and Sorority Life housing was proposed before UNK student leaders by Chancellor Kristensen at the end of last month. By sticking to a rigorous timeline, the project is projected to be ready for students to move in as soon as fall 2022. 

This project will cost UNK approximately $20 million by one UNK official’s estimation. 

“The plan is for us to have brand new Greek housing with 200-250 beds, and it would be built somewhere on UNK’s campus,” said Gilbert Hinga, dean of the division of student affairs. 

New housing would consist of new buildings as well as renovation of old UNK Residence Life buildings. 

Since the proposal of moving Greek life students into Nester North and Nester South was rejected, there has been an ongoing conversation between students and administration on Greek housing through an Fraternity and Sorority Life advisory board.

The board was created last fall after the original housing proposal of renovating Nester North and Nester South was rejected by a majority of the fraternity and sorority life community. 

“I think this idea is a lot better because not only is it accommodating the FSL community and our needs, but it’s not taking away housing from other UNK students,” said Alyssa Hartman, president of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority.

The advisory board is made up of fraternity and sorority students and staff, as well as UNK administration and representatives from facilities and housing. They met once a month starting Jan. 2020 to discuss the priorities for new housing. 

“One [priority] was obviously that we want to make sure that we have the kind of housing that is going to give the FSL Greek experience,” Hinga said. “We want something that is going to continue to provide that experience for students because FSL is an important part of UNK’s campus.”

Other requests that students suggested included a chapter room to host meetings, storage and study spaces and a lounge area. Students want these spaces to be individualized for each chapter. 

The process for these types of projects typically takes the university a couple of years to complete. Proposals of this magnitude require approval from the Nebraska University president, a business and finance committee and the Nebraska University Board of Regents, as well as the process of bidding for a construction company. 

Until new housing is complete, fraternity and sorority students will be allowed to stay in University Residence North and University Residence South, the temporary Greek housing built in the early 1990s.

“Honestly, staying in the pods for a couple more years isn’t ideal because of the fact that an emergency could happen at any point,” Hartman said. “But I do think it’s going to give people some comfort being able to stay here until they have a new place ready for us.”

Despite the wait, students are still hopeful with UNK’s new plan for Greek housing.

“I think with this, it’s a very concrete plan,” said Truman Lauck, the president of Sigma Tau Delta fraternity. “I feel like [administration] have genuinely put in a lot of time and effort thinking about what they want to do because they’ve realized what impact Greek life has on campus.”

Through the advisory board, suggestions from fraternity and sorority leaders and keeping a long term goal in mind, Chancellor Kristensen and other UNK administration are putting forth their best efforts to put together a timeline for new Greek housing.

“This is about students,” Hinga said. “As dean of students, one of the things I really value is anything and everything that’s going to put students first. So in this case, obviously it’s a home for students where they feel like they can get the academic support and they can get the comradery and the community support that they need.” 

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