After losing its charter in 2012, Delta Chi fraternity is making its way back to the University of Idaho.
According to Delta Chi Vice President Austin Blacker, the fraternity in its current state is a colony, not a chapter.
He said the categorization means the group is in the process of becoming a chapter — recruitment efforts are in full swing, officers were elected into leadership positions and members have begun working with the national organization and the UI Office of the Dean of Students.
“It is nice starting out new and help create the direction that they go in,” Blacker said.
Delta Chi lost its charter in 2012 after an extended period of academic and behavioral issues, said Fred Jessup, secretary of building cooperation and organization of the Kappa Delta Corporation and member of the former Delta Chi chapter.
Steel House, a women’s cooperative, occupies the fraternity’s old house on Blake Street. Kappa Delta Corporation leased the house and lot to Steel House in 2012, through summer 2016.
Before Delta Chi can move in, the fraternity has to prove to the national organization it can function as a chapter, Jessup said. The men have to show they have the membership, leadership and finances to allow them to sustainably live in the Delta Chi house, he said.
Currently, Blacker said the Delta Chi colony has 19 members, all of whom will be initiated in the fall semester and be founding fathers of the new chapter.
Most of the members are freshmen and sophomores living in the dorms, said Stephan Jutila, Delta Chi president. Living in the dorms has made it difficult to recruit, but it is also a new experience for the relatively new students, he said.
“It is a great opportunity to live in the dorms and meet different people,” Jutila said.
Steel House, the current occupants of Delta Chi house, recently started to raise funds for the construction of a new house, said Del Hungerford, Steel House administrator. Steel House would own the $1.3 million project and construction is planned to begin later this year, she said.
Steel House is a women’s cooperative, not a sorority. The group does not have a national board of directors to answer to, only a local one. Hugerford said the setup allows the women to have more independence. The women take care of all the housework and are responsible for making breakfast and lunch, and for dinner they have a chef, she said. The women have to buy the food and organize the chore schedule, Hungerford said.
“Our goal is by the time they leave Steel House they will know how to run a house,” Hungerford said. “We have kept it to the original intent of Ethel Steel.”
Ethel Steel founded the cooperative in 1953 as a way for women to be able to afford to come to college, Hungerford said. By providing a cheaper place to live, it helps cut costs of college.
The current cost to live in Steel House is $6,300 a year, including food, which averages to about $600 a month, Hungerford said.
“We have been very fortunate to have this house,” Hungerford said.
There has been discussion between Steel House and the Kappa Delta Corporation to extend the lease of the house if Delta Chi is unable to gain its character, Jessup said. At the moment it is unexpected, he said.
Blacker said the current members of Delta Chi are looking forward to getting a charter and participating in Greek life.
“It is a really great way to get involved on campus,” Blacker said. “Greek life opens a lot of doors to get involved with the university.”
Graham Perednia can be reached at email@example.com