Ten years in the making and seven presidents later, Greek life is about to find a home at UCA.
The Greek Village groundbreaking occurred Friday afternoon, and among the slew of sorority and fraternity members stood a proud group. The Board of Trustees, representatives from Nabholz construction and the Student Life Department, and alumni of all ages attended the event.
Although President Tom Courtway was not Greek, Ronnie Williams, vice president of student services and institutional diversity, explained, the President took the time to educate himself on all things Greek and the benefits Greek life has to offer.
Courtway said the Greek Village was "a tribute to Greek students." He continued that individuals in the Greek system bring many positive aspects to a university.
"Greek students stay in school. They develop bonds with their brothers and sisters and their university. Greeks graduate at higher rates, and sororities and fraternities develop leaders and a mindset of community service," Courtway said.
Conway Mayor Tab Townsell explained that UCA Greek Village will be top level and is an example of "UCA doing it right." He continued that this is the first project in a multi-year plan to change the landscape of Donaghey Avenue.
The project "adds vibrancy to campus and will transform the view of Conway," Courtway added.
Having a Greek village also allows "alumni a reason to come back," Townsell said. He also explained that having a strong connection with a Greek organization and its university makes people more likely to donate to continue traditions.
Financial and city planning motivation is not the only success for the event. Sorority member Alexis Sanders explained that she is "most excited about having a space of our own. We have outgrown our rooms in Carmichael Hall. We are always having to call around and ask if a room is available to hold meetings," Sanders said.
Pan-Hellenic President, Jordan Frederking echoed the struggles of Carmichael Hall. She explained that she and her sisters had a long history of holding chapter meetings in Carmichael Hall. Her group was displaced to different auditoriums throughout campus.
Frederking expressed a pride for community and her excitement to return to UCA as an alumna to remember how it all began.
Courtway told the group that this is Phase I of a 3-phase process. Phase I of Greek village will total of $13.8 million in bonds. The village will house five sorority houses and will be approximately 10,400 square feet each.
Alongside the houses will be four chapter meeting rooms where students can craft their own style and post chapter logos and mission statements. The Greek village primary architects are Wali Caradine and Ron Woods & Associates.
The Greek row adds "gravitas and dimension that’s not currently here," Townsell said.
For more information on Greek Village visit uca.edu/gogreek