In the beginning of August, 34 girls moved into a house on Greek Park and decided to finally call it their own. The night consisted of decorating, bonding and celebrating the next chapter in their sorority’s history.
The Beta Zeta chapter of Alpha Epsilon Phi, also known as AEPhi, has been on the UCF campus since April 2, 2006. The sorority has been affiliated with UCF for the past decade but has not had a spot on Greek Row until now. The current house, which the girls moved into on Aug. 7, is one of the four facilities owned by the university rather than a privately-owned house.
“We want AEPhi to accomplish what the other houses have,” said Belinda Hyppolite, the assistant vice president for student development and enrollment services. “We want them to be a positive influence on campus and continue to send forward the message of the Greek community of leadership, philanthropic and community service.”
In order to be chosen to live in the house, the sorority had to go through a three-step process. An information packet was sent out to the entire Greek community and three organizations responded back with interest, according to Hyppolite.
The first part is a written application that includes recruitment and retention statistics, the chapter GPA and current code of conduct status with the university. If the organization is able to afford the facility, it is taken into consideration.
Once the written part of the application is approved, the organization is invited back for an oral presentation. All three organizations that applied for the 409 house gave their presentations to a committee that consisted of individuals from the Housing and Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and other staff members.
Members of the presenting organization were allowed to have three representatives: a representative from nationals, the president of the organization and someone from the organization’s house corporation.
At the end of this process, AEPhi was the Greek organization chosen to move into the house at the end of summer, right before Panhellenic recruitment.
Though this was the first time the sorority had been accepted into an on-campus Greek house, it was definitely not the first time it had been welcomed into the community.
“The Greek community shows nothing but support for each other,” said Danielle McKinstry, the advisor of the Beta Zeta chapter since October of 2015 and an AEPhi alumna.
A brother from Kappa Sigma delivered flowers to every sorority, but the flowers delivered to the AEPhi house had the words “welcome home” written on the front, she said.
“It was a really nice gesture,” McKinstry said. “It was really sweet, and it made the chapter feel welcomed to Greek Park.”
McKinstry came from a chapter that had a house on campus and said she loved the feeling of watching this chapter find its home as well.
“AEPhi getting a place that they can call their home on Greek Park is truly amazing,” McKinstry said. “I think that’s bringing the sisters closer, and it’s a nice feeling for all of them.”
Jillian James, a sophomore journalism major, is one of the first members able to live in the house and has been an active member in AEPhi since Spring 2016.
“The most emotional thing was seeing our letters go up on the front of the house,” James said. “[It’s] such an amazing feeling knowing that this is the AEPhi house. It was an amazing opportunity and we’re so grateful.”
AEPhi has leased the house for the next five years. Once the lease expires, the university and sorority will discuss the possible of contract renewal.
For transparency purposes, we would like to inform you that Jillian James is a contributor to this publication.