Rebecca Stafford Student Center – The Greek Lounge has been renamed the Fraternity and Sorority Life Resource Center and will undergo three specific renovations in upcoming weeks with a budget of about $7,000 according to Patti Swannack, the Vice President of Administrative Services.
The three additions to the space include a mural painted by students, a second administrative office, and a wall extension to accommodate the second new office.
The Fraternity and Sorority Life Resource Center will remain open during these renovations, which have already begun. However, there is no concrete time frame for this project. Tara Fuller, the Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, said, “The wall has been ordered, so I guess technically [renovations] have already begun. I think probably over winter break is when we should see a completed space.”
“The Greek Lounge has been at its present site for about three years, at 6,735 square feet,” according to Patti Swannack, the Vice President of Administrative Services.
Fuller explains what motivated the decision to remodel the space. She said, “We have a much larger staff now, we would like to give them some space to be able to interface with students easily and that [room] is a pretty central location.…”
Tyler Droste, the Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, also attributed the decision to remodel with the recent growth of staff. Droste said, “We need to find spaces for people (our Graduate Assistants and Intern) to work.” Droste posed the question, “Where can they go but also be surrounded by a community of Fraternity and Sorority Life?” He continued, “We want individuals down here on the ground, who are able to get a pulse on the community.…”
Mary Anne Nagy, the Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement said, “When [the room was] named Fraternity and Sorority Lounge, it changed a little bit of the nature of what it was intended to do. [The room] was [previously] named Lounge, I think that is a little misleading.” She explains that the initial purpose in creating this space was to bring students [in the Greek community] together, giving them visibility, providing a central place for collaboration.
Audrey Conforti, a senior health studies major in Alpha Omicron Pi, frequently uses the Fraternity and Sorority Resource Center. Conforti said, “I will definitely still use the space for studying once administrative offices are inside, but I do not think I will socialize there as much so I’m not rude to the people who are working.”
The Fraternity and Sorority Life Resource Center will continue to provide students with one computer, a printer, and a conference table. The conference table will be repositioned to sit in the center of the room, rather than the rear. One wall holds the Greek letters of 14 organizations on campus. Today, many of these wooden letters are crooked and some are completely missing. These letters are currently painted different shades of blue, orange, purple, yellow, and green. Two storage lockers currently face the rear of the room, which will be removed for the glass wall extension, marking off the second administrative office.
Chris Curran, the Vice President of Greek Senate and brother of Sigma Pi said, “I study there, eat there, and occasionally have meetings there. I would still use the space [after renovations] as long as there is still room for me to do my homework and it is not too crowded.”
Fuller said, “We didn’t want to overtake the space completely because we do like the fact that students come in there, they have meetings, they study, different things like that.” The name Fraternity Sorority Life Resource Center is a more accurate representation of what students might find in the room, instead of the previous name Greek Lounge. Fuller said, “It’s not gonna
be a huge renovation, luckily we’re just essentially adding another wall (exactly like the current one).”
Jessica Tranchina, a senior psychology major in Phi Sigma Sigma, was unaware of the changes underway. Tranchina said, “Students will now feel more hesitant to use the space knowing that additional administration will belong there.”
Droste hopes that students will utilize the space beyond relaxing. Rather than a student saying, “Hey, I’m just gonna chill out here for six hours on a Saturday.” Droste hopes students will say, “I’m going to come in here to get some work done for my personal growth.” He would like to see students use the space for support and understand there are individuals (administration) who can help with that.
“We are going to do the mural, having the artists in our community design it and paint it together. Again, so that people are like, ‘We own this space. This space is ours,’” said Fuller.
Nagy added, “A student painted mural would be great. I think the idea is that it’s important that it be space that you guys have, it’s not us, it’s you. If it is from you, you are going to be more comfortable using the space.”
These renovations represent the turn of a new leaf for members of the Greek community, according to Nagy, “Because Monmouth is different today than it was ten or fifteen years ago. And it is going to be different when you come back ten years from now, it will be a very different place.” The renovations to the Fraternity and Sorority Lounge are expected to be finished by mid- December.
PHOTO TAKEN by Deanna Morreale