Chi Phi, the University’s oldest fraternity, has a snazzy new 13,000-square-foot chapter house on campus complete with 20 bedrooms, a commercial kitchen, social area, meeting space, air conditioning, and Internet access. Chi Phi alumni and their families joined current members and URI officials at the ribbon-cutting last fall.
“The completion of our new chapter house is the first step in our fraternity’s return to campus,” said Doug Bennet ’77, president of the Rho Iota Kappa Alumni Association of Chi Phi and treasurer of its holding company. Bennet was the driving force behind the new building. “We tried to build something that our students, parents, alumni, other fraternities and sororities, and school officials could all be proud of. I think we succeeded,” he added.
The house is located at 11 Fraternity Circle behind Weldin Hall. The fraternity’s former home on Upper College Road was renovated and converted into an additional International Engineering house. (See accompanying story.)
The University shut down Chi Phi in 2005, primarily for violations of URI’s substance-free housing agreement. Since the chapter is currently inactive, 40 transfer students are renting rooms at the new facility this academic year.
“The University appreciates the work of the Chi Phi alumni for their extraordinary efforts in building this new chapter house on our campus,” says Thomas Dougan, vice president for student affairs. “It is a beautiful facility that is a true signal of the resurgence of fraternity life at URI. We look forward to teaming with alumni and the national fraternity to form an outstanding undergraduate chapter of Chi Phi fraternity at the University.”
“We will participate in Spring Rush and hope to completely fill the house with new brothers next fall,” says Bennet. “As you look around campus you can see a resurgence of the Greek system. There are new buildings, renovations, and cleanups going on, and I understand there are other groups looking to start up or return to URI. At the risk of sounding bold, I feel that this beautiful building in some way will help serve as a catalyst for this revival.”