16 Members of KAT to Live In Sig Ep Annex This YearBy Jeffrey Greenbaum
Sixteen Kappa Alpha Theta sisters will be living in the Sigma Phi Epsilon annex this coming year.
The sisters will occupy three of the five floors of the house, located at 515 Beacon Street. Sig Ep brothers will continue to have full access to the facilities.
Under the agreement, members of KAT must rent the rooms from Sig Ep individually; no chapter funds may be used, no KAT letters may be displayed outside, and the house may not host sorority functions.
Sig Ep still wants annex access
The Zeta Mu chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta, established at MIT in 1990, has been trying to obtain a house for its chapter for the past few years. KAT President Rose G. Radin ’02 decided to inquire about the Sig Ep annex this February. Sigma Phi Epsilon’s Alumni Corporation controls the annex.
“We [Sig Ep] have rented out some of the rooms in the annex for the past two and a half years ... [but] brothers have always had the annex [door’s] combination, whether to live there or to access its weight room,” said Sigma Phi Epsilon House Manager Mark B. Velsko ’02.
While Sig Ep Alumni Corporation President Eddie Chin thinks that “helping [KAT] run its own place is good for the community,” he decided not to sell the annex to KAT, based on the recommendations of his fraternity’s active members. “Brothers would like to continue living in the annex and using its weight room,” Chin said. In fact, brothers are excited that the weight room is under renovation, he said.
Chin and active members of Sig Ep agreed to rent 11 rooms that comprise the upper three floors of the annex to KAT sisters, leaving the lower two floors for Sig Ep brothers. KAT tenants will have the combination for entrance only for the annex, not for Sig Ep’s main house. Each room will have its own external lock and key. KAT tenants will be able to access all of the annex’s facilities: the weight room, the kitchen, and the laundry room.
“The annex will still be and remain the Sigma Phi Epsilon annex,” said Chin.
“Theta [sisters] will be using it as an apartment,” Velsko explained.
Radin, KAT enthusiastic
When Radin announced to her chapter last month that sisters could move into the Sig Ep annex for the upcoming school year, she did not find filling the 11 rooms a difficult task because of the large number of sisters in her chapter. While “people already had their dorm assignments for next year, the annex would give sisters another living option,” Radin said. Each sister had to sign an individual lease for the 12 months.
The 16 sisters who will occupy Sig Ep annex rooms range from the president to sisters not in office and from juniors to freshmen.
“People are excited to see what living with other sisters means for their involvement in the sorority,” Radin said.
Radin said that she believes the experience of so many sisters living together will spark a greater enthusiasm among her sisters towards acquiring a chapter house.
Presently, KAT is a non-residential sorority, so “sisters are used to seeing each other in on-campus rooms,” Radin said. However, she hopes that “there will be a little bit of an attitude shift due to the tenants and that it will be nicer to get together in the house rather than in a public area.
“Hopefully that sentiment will spread throughout the chapter, and sisters will be more excited about getting a house,” she added.
Radin is also excited about the potential change in inter-Greek relationships. Based on her observations of other sorority members who already live in Boston, “having Thetas in Boston will make us closer with Boston fraternity members because of the proximity,” she said.
Quest for KAT house continues
Kappa Alpha Theta House Corporation Board President Alicia L. Allen ’94 sees a promising future in the quest for a KAT house. “MIT really supports the idea of women’s housing,” Allen said. “McCormick is always over-subscribed.”
A few years ago, when Sigma Alpha Epsilon was disbanded, KAT showed interest in acquiring the SAE house. However, it was too expensive for the sorority.
For now the members are looking forward to having “their own house,” Allen said. KAT is meanwhile looking for other options that MIT will help subsidize.