Greeks will house HAs next fall

Greeks will house HAs next fall

by Sharon Albright

Simpson’s Greek organizations anticipate more people in the house each fall, and this coming fall, student development is making sure that one of those faces is that of a house assistant.

“A house assistant is not exactly the same thing as an RA, but it’s closer to it than anything we’ve ever had before,” said sophomore Kyle Hanson, president of Lambda Chi Alpha, one of the five Simpson-owned Greek houses recently notified of the upcoming change.

According to senior Jake Abel, president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Student Development informed fraternity members and the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority just over a month ago that Residence Life planned to restructure its system to work with the residence houses that are considered “on-campus” Greek organizations. Currently, the presidents of the organizations carry out the duties of an RA within their respective houses. A separate student life representative handles these responsibilities for “temp-housers” living within these buildings.

The house assistant position will combine both of these jobs, according to Laurie Deinberg-Hoppe, assistant director of Residence Life. By doing so, Residence Life wants to improve the lines of communication between Greek life and the campus.

“We want to give more structure to the current system,” Deinberg-Hoppe said. “We will be meeting weekly with this representative now like we have always done with the resident assistants.” Deinberg-Hoppe said that she has seen this practice in place at other universities.

With the new system, the person assigned to the house assistant position may not necessarily be a member of that organization, which is a source of concern for some.

“Right now, [Residence Life] is saying that chapter members have preference over other applicants, but they cannot guarantee that one of our members will be chosen,” Hanson said.

Abel said that the level of uncertainty associated with this change has also been a topic for conversation in the SAE house.

“One of the things that kind of bothers us is that we were not asked for our input on this at all,” Abel said. “With this being something that could potentially change our situation, we were surprised not to have been included in the discussion process.”

Hanson agreed that the decision to select housing assistants seemed to “come out of nowhere.”

“Stephanie (Krauth) said that she didn’t feel that the current system was working the best, so she wanted to try something else,” Hanson said. “We’ve been told that the intent of this program is to take some of the stress off of chapter presidents.”

Both Abel and Hanson agreed that there is merit to lessening the burden on chapter presidents, but are still unclear about exactly what the housing assistant’s purpose will be.

“It’s kind of like doing something that is already being done,” Hanson said.

Part of the housing assistant’s job description states that this person will hold ‘community development responsibilities.’ Hanson said this as an example of a foggy area in the plans.

“Some of these aspects don’t really apply to us, since we are not a residence hall,” Hanson said.

Abel expressed his concern that the house assistant not be a new way to “baby-sit the members.”

To lessen the effects that this change could have on the fraternity, Abel said that SAE is encouraging as many members as possible to apply for the position, in hopes that one of its members will be selected.