Since 2006, no sorority chapters at Youngstown State University have had a house.
Carrie Anderson — Panhellenic adviser and coordinator of programs and marketing at YSU — said she thinks sorority houses are simply overlooked at this time. She said each sorority’s headquarters and alumni would need to help solidify the plan and donate to the rent costs.
“They would need permission nationally to pursue a house and get that financial support,” Anderson said. “It’s definitely a goal in mind, and I know they want it. It’s just going to take some time to bring to fruition.”
Kym McKinley, director of housing operations for Zeta Tau Alpha’s international headquarters, said a YSU ZTA house could be a safety issue. The previous YSU chapter house was sold after concluding that the area was unsafe, McKinley said.
“It’s not a financial issue by any means,” she said. “You don’t want your girls living in a bad area.”
Genna Notareschi, a senior member of the Zeta Gamma chapter of ZTA, said sorority houses at YSU would be beneficial, but that she understands if they are too unsafe.
“It would be good to deter the deception that … because YSU is a commuter school, you can’t get involved here,” she said.
Sorority recruitment takes place in Kilcawley Center, and all sororities reserve rooms for prospective members to visit.
Notareschi said reserving rooms in Kilcawley Center can be stressful because they are often already booked. She added that planning meetings off campus is even more difficult because it requires more paperwork.
“It would be cute to walk house to house instead of room to room in Kicawley Center,”
Notareschi said. “If not that, it would be nice to at least have a suite or room just for each chapter.”
ZTA sister Courtney Gobel agreed with Notareschi and said a house would be an advantage.
“It would be a much more personal and comfortable environment while going through the process, rather than walking into a room with limited space to display the sororities,”Gobel said.
Alpha Xi Delta sister Katie Petrosky also said the lack of sorority houses has to do with the large commuter population at YSU.
In addition, a myth has sorority sisters reeling with frustration. The myth misinterprets city zoning laws, stating that more than five women living underneath one roof constitutes a brothel.
Notareschi said this mentality is “unfair and sexist because fraternities have houses.”
Article IV of Youngstown’s residential ordinances defines both fraternity and sorority houses as permitted uses for multi-family residences.
Anderson said getting a sorority house would require a lot of paperwork and the appointment of a housing corporation board.
“The ball is in their court if they are ready to take that on,” she said.