Fraternity, sorority chapters struggle to fill houses in second year of Sophomore Success program

by Jadyn Brandt, Staff Writer

As San Diego State approaches its second year implementing the Sophomore Success program, students in Greek life are having trouble finding eligible sophomores to fill beds in their respective houses. 

Part of the Sophomore Success program, Sophomore QUEST, works to improve student retention and graduation rates by requiring all non-local sophomores to live on-campus for a second year. Previously, non-local students only had to live on campus during their freshman years.

Greek houses are not considered campus housing because they are not owned by SDSU, which means not all sophomores who hope to live in their sorority or fraternity houses will be able to do so.

History sophomore Lindsey Cannon is a member of Gamma Phi Beta and said the limit placed on the number of sophomores who can live in her sorority’s house means the cost unfilled bed spaces falls on the other members. 

“(Housing) gives us a quota which limits the amount of sophomores who can live-in,” she said. “(The sophomores) are usually the majority of people who live-in so then we all have to split the cost of the empty beds.”

Business freshman Avalon Schenone is also a member of Gamma Phi Beta and planned on living in her sorority house next year. But it wasn’t the university that prevented her from staying in the house, it was the sorority’s requirements that she was unable to meet. 

“I was going to (live in the sorority house) but honestly I just didn’t have enough merit points so I couldn’t,” she said. “Since so few sophomores can live-in because of sophomore success, it goes by who has the most points.”

Schenone said although her inability to live in the sorority house didn’t have much of an effect on her, she knows other members who, if unable to live in their sorority house, wouldn’t be able to afford other campus housing options. She also said there could be potential issues with a lack of revenue for the sorority if bed spaces are unable to be filled. 

According to Director of Student Life & Leadership, Caryl Montero-Adams, sophomore students were originally completely unable to live in Greek houses under the Sophomore QUEST program. However, a group of students, administrators and alumni came together to develop a proposal which would allow 30% of bed-spaces in Greek houses to be filled by sophomore students.

“We started with no bed-space allocation and moved into a process where we identified 30%,” Montero-Adams said. “That was really a process that, when I think about our conversations around shared governance, was something that was a shared governance process.”

The sophomore students who fill the 30% of bed-spaces in each house are selected through standards set by the university and by each individual Greek organization. So far, according to Residential Education Director Kara Bauer, the biggest cause for empty beds is the inability of students and their respective organizations to meet those requirements.

“The Greek houses and the individuals who are applying for an exemption to live-on campus have to meet certain requirements, GPA requirements, judicial requirements, (the organization) has to have accreditation and a variety of other expectations that are very clearly laid out and have been since the inception of all of this,” Bauer said.

Montero-Adams said this year was the first year that organizations could request additional sophomores to fill empty spaces as long as the request came before the Feb. 15 deadline to apply for exemption from Sophomore QUEST.