Phi Mu will make a home in Van Campen Hall


Photo submitted by Phi Mu

Erin Zaranec

Kent State’s Phi Mu sorority plans to move into Van Campen Hall starting Fall 2017.

The 60-bed dorm building, which is currently home to the International Village Experience Living Learning Community, will be used as a sorority house for the Rho Kappa Chapter of Phi Mu, a sorority with approximately 200 members.

Since coming to campus in October 2013, the sorority has not secured a house. Similar to the Kappa Sigma Fraternity on campus, Phi Mu will take the first step toward a sorority house by living in university-owned property.

“(For Kappa Sigma) there are quite a few pros of this. First, billing now goes through the University instead of the fraternity. This means the university is responsible for people not making payments,” said Richard Tishma, a junior finance major and the Kappa Sigma housing manager.

Other benefits for the fraternity include university-hired cleaning and maintenance crews who repair and clean the house for the fraternity men.

Kent State does not own the property or houses of any other Greek organizations on campus. With a total of 24 Greek organizations at Kent State, Phi Mu and Kappa Sigma will be the only ones using university-owned property as functioning chapter houses. 

“For the majority of our members, (housing) hasn’t been a terrible concern. Most sisters live with one or more other sisters. We all visit each other frequently, as well. It hasn’t held us back because we all find ways to stick together,” said Ellen Morales, a junior communication studies major and member of Phi Mu. “That being said, we would still love the opportunity to live together and make a home here at Kent State.”

For the contract to become official, the sorority needs 60 members to commit to living in Van Campen Hall instead of off-campus housing.

According to Kent State Residence Services, there are a total of 6,333 student beds on campus, not including the 150 beds reserved for student resident assistants. 

In years past, Kent State has had between 50 to 100 students living in lounges or transitional housing, with some living in these situations for days and others staying for up to a month into the semester.

Jill Church, the Executive Director of Residence Services, said she does not believe Phi Mu moving into Van Campen would increase the number of students placed in transitional housing.

“We do allow students who are older to live on campus if they choose to do so during the renewal period,” Church said. “Primarily, Phi Mu was looking for first-and-second year students to be grouped together. As long as they follow the renewal process, though, older students could participate, as well.”

Any students hoping to renew their space in Van Campen would also get priority housing choices for Fall 2017.

While some universities provide Greek housing for all Greek organizations on campus, others do not. 

According to, University of Alabama’s Greek organizations have received housing renovations costing $202 million dollars. Construction and expansion occurs on approximately 30 houses.

Locally, Cleveland State University does not provide sorority housing due to city ordinances.

According to, Old Blue Laws state that no more than six single women who are not related and under the age of 21 can live together. The law, originally enacted to prevent brothels, also prevents sorority housing. 

“I think that sorority dorm blocks are genius, and I wish Cleveland State University follows suit,” said Samantha Hoyt, a member of Cleveland State University’s Delta Zeta sorority chapter. “We have been asking for this dorm block for a while now, as it would make it easier for our women to congregate and get things done at all hours of the day.”

While sorority leadership spoke of enacting this change in Fall 2016, there was not enough interest from members to fill a dorm building.

Dorms are a solution. I wouldn’t be able to tell you if it is a good one or not until we’ve moved in and see what happens,” Morales said. “The ideal solution is our own home that we designed, to do with what we please. If this is the only option we’re going to get right now, we will take it and make it work. Because we know we want to be together, we know we want a more convenient arrangement, and I guess this is the best it’s going to get right now.”


Erin Zaranec is a student life reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]