Out with old, in with new Greek housing at BGSU

A panoramic view of
fraternity row on the BGSU main campus. (Click on the image to view a larger version) (Photo: Enoch

A planned Greek housing village is about more than housing. The project that gets underway soon is part
of Bowling Green State University’s efforts to promote fraternities and sororities on campus.
The demolition of all the Greek housing on campus is scheduled to begin the week of July 9.
Steven Krakoff, vice president of career planning and campus operations, said that it will take awhile to
disconnect all the utilities and prepare the buildings to come down, so the actual razing of the
structures, some of which date back to the 1940s, won’t begin until later in the month.
The plan is to tear down the existing fraternities off East Wooster as well as the sororities off
Thurstin Street west of the Student Union.
They will be replaced on the site of the existing fraternities with a townhome village of 10 buildings
with a capacity of 426 beds. The $30 million project is scheduled to be completed by fall, 2016.
The project, Krakoff said, was driven by the university’s facilities assessment completed a couple years
It found, he said: "The condition of current Greek housing was very substandard … they reached a
threshold of cost where it just didn’t make sense to renovate them."
The project, he added, was driven by the university’s realization of the importance of fraternities and
sororities to campus life.
"We view membership in Greek organizations as a significant part of overall student
engagement," he said.
He credits Assistant Dean of Students Chris Bullins with leading an effort to reinvigorate Greek life on
campus, which he said been "leveling off."
Bullins said that after a period of slow decline BGSU has seen greater involvement in Greek life in the
last few years. That mirrors a trend experienced earlier in higher education as a whole.
"They are a way for students to get involved and engaged on campus," he said. Greek
organizations value leadership and civic engagement and help to boost school pride.
When member of sororities and fraternities graduate, he said, "they go on to be very loyal to the
institution and give back to it in time and money."
Krakoff said that Bullins was successful in marshaling the unanimous support among both students and
alumni from 33 organizations for the housing.
They would, Krakoff said, have preferred the traditional single house setting.
"This is going to be a very classical looking," Krakoff said. It will include a courtyard and
walkways. "It’ll be a very elegant development and an important part of the approach to the
Bullins said the new housing should be a major selling point for sororities and fraternities.
The university now has about 1,600 members. Not all live in the housing. Some upperclassmen live off
campus, with freshmen still in residence halls, he said.
But having them based on campus is important.
Bullins noted that many of the problems associated with Greek organizations come when the houses are
located off campus. BGSU has had few of those problems, he said. "A lot of it varies campus to
campus, and the culture on that campus."
As with other campus housing, what students pay will go toward retiring the bonds used to finance the
Bullins said he expected the cost of living in the new village will be akin to living in one of the other
newly constructed dorms.
While the project is underway, members will stay elsewhere on campus. Once it is completed the Harshman
Quadrangle will be torn down.
Krakoff said that while the Greek housing will be demolished this summer, piles of debris will remain
when students return to campus in August.
"Knocking down buildings is nothing," he said. "Hauling the debris away is the costly part
of demolition."