New Phi Delt signs lease for dry house

The re-colonized Phi Delta Theta fraternity recently signed a three-year lease on a house located at 167 Chancellor Street. Phi Delta Theta had been without a physical house since it re-colonized as a dry fraternity in Feb. 2001.

The fraternity will move into its new house in June 2002.

"We are really excited about having the house," Phi Delta Theta president-elect Steven Reis said. "We haven't had a central location to meet, which made rush difficult in the fall."

Reis is one of 10 brothers who will be living in the house next year.

The search for the house began last February, Reis said.

"We wanted a place in a central location so we would be competitive in rush," Vice President Jason Allevato said. "We also wanted something nice, because we knew we would be able to keep it nice."

The house on Chancellor Street was the best fit for the fraternity, Reis said, and the brothers have signed a three-year lease.

Still, this housing is temporary for the fraternity, as brothers continue to search for a permanent building to purchase.

As a dry fraternity, Phi Delta Theta is required to follow the orders of the Phi Delta Theta national organization and keep their house alcohol-free. Parties with alcohol may be held at third-party venues, current President Andrew Pearson said.

Many Phi Delta Theta brothers said that though the house may be dry, the fraternity will not be stagnant socially.

"It might sound crazy to normal U.Va. students to have events without alcohol, but we think it ties in really well with Resolution 2000 that the ISC recently passed," Reis said, referring to the last year's Inter-Sorority Council resolution that sororities would not have mixers on fraternity property where alcohol was served.

"We will do all the things that other fraternities do, but while we are in the house our focus will be on brotherhood," he said.

Mike Coleman, Phi Delta Theta president at the University of Richmond, said despite initial animosity towards dry facilities, the fraternity's alcohol-free initiative has turned out to be a positive experience for their chapter.

At Richmond, students do not live in fraternity houses, but have lodges on campus where social events for their Greek organizations are held.

"At first it sucked because we were used to having alcohol," Coleman said. "But it has turned out to be a positive experience. Our lodge has not been trashed and our rush numbers went up from last year."

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