Residents in former Greek houses discuss social life and amenities


Joanne Haner/The Daily Northwestern

710 Emerson. The house used to belong to Zeta Tau Alpha but was converted into a residence hall after the sorority lost their house due to a lack of sufficient membership.

Samantha Powers, Assistant Campus Editor

After several Greek life chapters at Northwestern have disbanded or been shut down, the University has converted their former houses into dorms. Some residents said while the smaller size of these dorms affords peace and quiet, certain amenities haven’t been updated in recent years.

After the University converted six former Greek houses into dorms for the 2021-22 academic year, Weinberg sophomore Nina Meng was placed in one of them: 2335 Sheridan Road, previously the Sigma Nu house. A freshman at the time, Meng said she was surprised to be assigned a dorm she hadn’t ranked in her housing selection process.

“I had ranked mostly South dorms, so when I first heard about it, I wasn’t necessarily the happiest to be placed in a dorm up North I didn’t know about,” Meng said.

Meng also pointed out that 2335 Sheridan used to be a fraternity house, so it was originally designed for male residents. When it was converted into a dorm, she said two of the three residential floors became women-only.

Still, she said the dorm had obviously been designed for men, especially in the bathrooms.

“The bathrooms didn’t have any sanitary boxes, which wasn’t great,” Meng said. “It shows that they kind of rushed the process and kind of left out some important details that are necessary for having a better living experience.”

Meng added that other facilities were missing from her dorm, like accessible water fountains and an elevator, which she now enjoys as a resident of Schapiro Hall. 

This year, the Sigma Nu fraternity is back on campus in their house and 2335 Sheridan is no longer a dorm.

Weinberg sophomore Ben Maisel, who lives in the former Zeta Tau Alpha house 710 Emerson St., said he was surprised by the bathrooms designed for female tenants.

“Sorority houses have nice bathrooms,” Maisel said. “I guess sorority girls like their bathroom.”

Weinberg sophomore Eli Carroll also lives in 710 Emerson. He said he was curious about the house kitchen, which has been locked all year, and would like it if the University opened the amenity up to current residents as a way to supplement the older amenities.

Socially, Carroll and Maisel agree their dorm is pretty quiet, especially since it houses fewer than 100 residents. 

“From what I’ve noticed, especially in my dorm, it’s just hard to get people to interact,” Carroll said. “Our RAs run events all the time, but nobody shows up to them. I don’t even go to them.”

Meng said she agreed former Greek houses are less social, and she added the smaller space wasn’t conducive to meeting people.

She said Schapiro has a better social atmosphere than her freshman year dorm.

“I would say the biggest thing I missed out on while I was living in the former Greek house was just having an opportunity to meet new people inside the dorm,” Meng said.

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