Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

44° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Some fraternities open up houses to summer subletters

When Communication sophomore Danielle Calvert decided to take classes over the summer and began her housing search, she received two stipulations from her father: she had to live on campus and she had to live with girls. After exploring her options, Calvert called to tell him she would be living in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house.

“I had to preface it with the fact that I’m living on an all-girls floor,” Calvert said. “After that, he was okay with it. It’s on campus, it’s really cheap and it seems really nice. It just made the most sense.”

For students staying in Evanston over the summer, fraternity housing is an inexpensive and convenient option for males, females, members of the Greek system and non-members alike.

“We don’t charge a security deposit, you have access to a full kitchen, water is paid for, a maid service, air conditioning, cable and Internet is included and it’s on campus,” said outgoing Delta Upsilon President Andre Garrigo. “On top of all that, you’re only paying $300 a month – way cheaper than anywhere else.”

Fraternity housing is run similar to how dorms are run, said Michael Jacobs, a summer house manager of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. The house opens to members in September, but most students move out in June, which leaves many rooms empty over the summer, he said.

Most fraternities that sublet over the summer encourage non-Greek members to live in the house, said Jacobs, a Weinberg sophomore.

“We don’t mind having non-brothers live with us over the summer,” he said.

Garrigo agreed, saying students should not “be freaked out by the frat-vibe” when it comes to summer living because only a few members usually stay in the house. Floors are divided into members, non-members and women, he said.

“Fraternity houses over the summer do not feel like fraternity houses as there are plenty of non-Greeks who already take advantage of their low prices and amenities,” wrote Brad Karfield, a member of the Zeta Beta Tau housing corporation, in an e-mail. “Instead, they just feel like regular off-campus houses.”

Fraternity houses are owned by the university and leased out by a housing corporation made up of alumni from each fraternity, according to information provided by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Though the university collaborates with each fraternity about subletting, the decision on whether or not to allow it is made by each housing corporation.

“Whether there is interest by the brothers to stay over the summer drives our decision (on whether or not to sublet over the summer),” wrote Karfield, Weinberg ’98, in an e-mail.

Karfield said ZBT is increasing the price slightly to sublet for this summer because it has been significantly below Evanston market rates the past couple of years. He added that the increase is not significant in the grand scheme of things.

“We probably should have done it sooner,” he said. “But (it was) overlooked in the past because the revenue generated from summer subleasing, even with this summer’s price increase, hasn’t been significant in relation to the fraternity’s operating budget.”

Garrigo, a Weinberg sophomore, said the revenue generated from summer subletting is used to cover expenses like utilities, cable and Internet throughout the year.

“Last year, we were able to use a couple summers’ worth of money to install a $250,000 sprinkler system,” he said.

Some frats and housing corporations, however, don’t open their houses to non-members over the summer, instead choosing to cover these expenses on their own.

“Our house embodies our fraternity,” said Weinberg junior Daniel Osher, the outgoing president of Beta Theta Pi. “I don’t like the idea of non-brothers contributing financially to the house – it doesn’t make sense.”

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Some fraternities open up houses to summer subletters