A 52,000-square-foot residence cannot be constructed without turning some heads.
Phi Gamma Delta has done exactly that through a partnership with IU. The project will see the fraternity move from its current residence on East Third Street to its new location on Woodlawn Avenue.
The relocation allows IU to expand some of its infrastructure along Third Street. Fiji is currently located adjacent to the Maurer School of Law and Swain Hall.
Part of the reason that the house turns heads is because it’s located on one of the busiest streets on campus and its grand aesthetic makes it hard to ignore.
“It was pretty incredible seeing the construction of the building over the past year or so,” Justice Eiden, a junior, said.
Eiden used to live at Collins Living Learning Center and spends a lot of his time at the WIUX station just behind the new Fiji house. As a result he said he has had many opportunities to see the house grow from rubble to a home.
“I’m honestly glad that its construction is finally over so Woodlawn finally goes back to normal,” Eiden said. “There was a lot of noise, and the construction affected traffic heavily.”
Fiji’s proximity to Woodlawn and the Union will grant them greater attention, but not all of the attention will prove to be beneficial. Justin English, a junior and member of the Delta Chi fraternity, said not all of his friends are excited about the new house.
“My friend who lives behind the new house says that he won’t hesitate to call for a noise complaint if necessary,” English said.
English said he thinks it is a solid location for the fraternity but he worries if the members will tire of being at the center of everyone’s attention.
“I bet a lot of their members will get sick of living there and having everyone’s eyes and ears on them,” English said.
Fiji will be exposed to some eyes and ears that simply do not care for greek life.
“I’m offended every time I walk past the new Fiji house because it stands for something really ugly,” said Ethan Brown, a junior at IU.
Brown said that he feels offended by the home because of the hyper-exclusive and elitist nature of fraternities. For Brown, that’s not what college is about.
“There are students at IU who struggle to pay their rent, but now the outstanding young men of FIJI, thanks to IU’s generous funding, live in a house right in the center of campus but with walls high enough that their outdoor parties can still be invite only,” Brown said.
Brown represents a portion of the student body that believes that IU should strive toward dismantling greek life because he said it reflects and perpetuates an unjust culture.
However, not everyone is dismayed by Fiji’s expansion.
“Overall I think it will shed a positive light on IU’s greek life that it has been lacking in the media lately,” said Cora Butrum, a sophomore and member of IU’s greek community.
Butrum said she believes greek life adds value to the community and to all who have the fortune of joining or participating.
“It will boost the brotherhood’s reputation in the public eye and grant them extremely positive rushes in the next several years to come,” Butrum said.
Fraternity members said they could not comment since their Alumni Board and Housing Corps told them to abstain from talking to the press after the board received what it called “unwanted attention.”
English, however, said that he thinks that the chapter and Greek community will benefit from the new home in the long term.
“I think the house itself is going to be a rush magnet,” English said.
Editor Note: In a previous version of this story we stated Justin English had said his friends were not happy about the new greek house. The statement was actually about one specific friend and has since been changed.
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