Widgets Magazine

One year in, 1047 considers differences in resident Greek organizations’ visions

This article is the third and final story in a series examining how the challenges and concerns of on-campus housing affect student lifestyle and well-being at Stanford.

 

This spring marks the close of one academic year for 1047 Campus Drive (known more colloquially as just 1047) as the first shared Greek house at Stanford, housing members of the Multicultural Greek Council sororities Sigma Psi Zeta (SYZ) and Sigma Theta Psi (STP), as well as fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp). Non-Greek life affiliated students also live in the house.

In an unprecedented experiment to house Greek organizations associated with multiple genders and cultures in one house, 1047 has claimed “intersectionality” as its theme, citing the diversity of issues pertaining to the house and its residents. The Daily examined what residents — both members of the officially housed groups and members of the larger Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) — have deemed the successes and failures of the 1047 experiment.

“The house is an experimental sort of space for looking at intersections in Greek life,” said Stephanie Niu ’19, resident of 1047 and president of Alpha Kappa Delta Phi Sorority (aKDPhi), an Asian-interest sorority. “I think it’s particularly interesting for multicultural organizations because being in Greek life is something very gender binary and oftentimes not queer-inclusive.”

According to Sao Bac ’18, 1047’s community manager and SYZ member, 1047 has focused on serving as a space for Greek organizations that traditionally have not had a physical space, particularly the African American Fraternal and Sororal Association (AAFSA) and the MGC.

“Anyone can book [1047 for events], and we’re focused on Greek organizations that traditionally have not had a space on the Row,” Bac said.

As a result, Greek organizations not officially housed in 1047 — such as Lambda Phi Epsilon, an Asian-interest fraternity — have been able to use the space.

“1047 has also been really great to us, considering two multicultural Greek organizations are already there, even if it’s not us,” said Ryan Kurohara ’19, president of Lambda Phi Epsilon (Lambda) fraternity. “When we’re looking for a space to hold events, it’s been super nice to have other organizations in a house.”

Hilary Sun ’18, a SYZ member who lives in 1047, said the presence of a cultural-interest sorority on the Row holds special significance.

“I’m very invested in the house because the Row has historically privileged white males, and right now, it’s very obvious that it still privileges historically white fraternities,” Sun said. “Having a house was a way to recognize the work [MGC and AAFSA] have been doing over the years, and I think it’s also a way to shake things up on the Row.”

Early challenges

Despite efforts at 1047 to foster an inclusive environment, members of the house say it had a rocky start.

According to a former 1047 resident who wished to remain anonymous, the three organizations found it difficult to reach agreement on their visions and goals for the house in a series of contentious discussions.

The anonymous resident told The Daily that one difference of opinion started when a student visiting a SigEp resident at 1047 made the comment, “I’m a white girl; I’m as good as it gets.” 

“That set off an STP member, and [the visitor] was told to leave … and that she had no business hanging around in a house with two sororities of color, and she’s not welcome back,” the resident added.

According to SigEp members David Delgado de Robles ’18 and Antonio Aguilar ’18, Resident Assistant (RA) and Resident Computer Consultant (RCC) at 1047 respectively, the visitor was not a member of SigEp. They stated that the visitor was part of a crowd that had poured into 1047’s house get-together from all-campus party Eurotrash, which had been shut down.

“This event was an overflow from Eurotrash that kind of just walked into our space,” Aguilar said. “We were having a house event to unite the house community; the after-party of this kind of turned into an all-campus 2.0, not necessarily with our consent … and it was in the process of trying to get them out of the house that this comment was made.”

This incident revealed divergent attitudes in the staff — the CM at the time, an STP member, sought to foster an environment in which such an incident would not occur. But the anonymous resident said that “staff members who were not in STP [were] not really willing to do the unpleasant enforcement type of work that has to do with being on staff at a Row house.”

“The only people willing to do something about [the overflow from Kappa Sig] and kick people out of the house, which is what needed to happen … were the people that decided to leave staff,” the resident added.

Delgado de Robles, who did not hear the comment being made but played a role in handling the incident, stated that proper measures were taken following the incident and that it was reported to Residential Education (ResEd).

“From our end, we did whatever we had to do in terms of taking her out of our space and making sure she wouldn’t come back to our space in the near future because people didn’t feel safe with her there,” Delgado de Robles said. “[We reported to] ResEd to have an unbiased party step in.”

Though the incident was reported to ResEd, the staff of 1047 has yet to learn the outcome of the investigation. Delgado de Robles said he never heard back from ResEd.

ResEd did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Daily.

Reflecting on the incident, Aguilar said that residents’ expectations of the house proved difficult to reconcile in practice.

“This comment happened, and I don’t want to put words in anybody’s mouth, but I guess the general feeling was that a space where this can happen wasn’t a space where people wanted to be,” Aguilar said. “[It was] really difficult to generate the kind of space that they wanted while still having a normal, social house, and a lot of circumstances were difficult.”

Aguilar added that the staff discussed the incident and its aftermath throughout fall quarter — but the problem came down to a fundamental difference in what residents wanted from the house, Delgado de Robles said.

“When we were given this house, we were given a Row house that was going to be different,” Aguilar said. “And to a certain extent, SigEp leaned on the Row house part and making that a little bit different. But I think STP walked in with the ‘different’ part and kind of moved that into a Row house — so we had really different expectations.”

Sun said that the miscommunications that followed complicated the situation further.

“There was a lot of hurt going on in the first quarter,” she said.

Staff members added that they were disappointed by the support they received from ResEd, which did not help efforts to resolve the divisions in the house. According to Aguilar, staff training did not prepare them for the types of difficulties that arose from the differences in visions for the house — nor was ResEd consistently responsive to the house staff’s needs, until the internal divisions had already come to a head.

“I think part of the experiment failed because ResEd failed us,” Aguilar said.

The future of 1047

1047 will continue into next year as an intersectional Greek house. With a pre-assignment program for its open spots and more vigorous staff programming, current staff members said they hope to bridge the gaps in expectations for the house that were present earlier this academic year.

“I have a lot of faith, especially for next year, because we have a lot more experience,” Sun said.

In addition to more experience, Delgado de Robles said he hopes that the staff training for the next group is more effective.

“This year, the staff members are having weekly meals together and getting to know each other, which I think is really important,” Delgado said. “ResEd is implementing what may be better for the future.”

Bac added that she expects the goals of the house to be clearer going into the future.

“It’s supposed to be a good educational experience — and that’s what we want to shift it to and make it clear to everyone involved,” she said. ”It’s supposed to be fun, but it’s also supposed to teach you how to think about hard problems surrounding identity because we all have very different backgrounds and interests in the house.”

“I wanted so badly for it to work out and for [the house] to be culturally supportive, empowering and [an] inclusive space that’s radically different from what [Inter-Fraternity council (IFC) and Inter-Sorority council (ISC)] spaces typically are,” said the anonymous resident who commented on the divisions in the house during fall quarter.

Finding space for MGC organizations

While 1047’s official housing of SYZ and formerly STP was the first time an MGC organization had been housed on campus, it may be difficult for other MGC organizations to get a house in the near future.

To apply for housing, any AAFSA, IFC, ISC or MGC organization must receive an “exceeds expectations” rating on the Standards of Excellence system established by the University. However, cultural-interest Greek organizations often have too few members to apply for housing and lack a long history at Stanford in comparison to many other IFC and ISC organizations.

“I think in the near future … it’ll be very difficult for one of the [MGC] organizations to have their very own house, and that’s just because of numbers,” Kurohara said.

According to Fabian Badillo ’19, academic director for the Gamma Zeta Alpha fraternity, community centers such as the Black House, El Centro Chicano y Latino and the Asian American Activities Center are commonly used as spaces for events held by cultural-interest Greek organizations.

“Because [members] don’t live on the Row, we typically have difficulties finding spaces on the Row,” Badillo said. “It’s always been an issue when it comes to hosting things like all-campus parties.”

While most MGC organizations may not see a house for themselves in the near future, many MGC members say that this by no means undermines the sense of community within their organizations.

“It’s not like our organization is any less close because we live separately,” Kurohara said.

Badillo added that MGC members form close relationships through other means beyond shared housing.

“The MGC organizations are typically bonded over community service, academics, the love for your culture and the maintenance of your brotherhood/sisterhood,” Badillo said. “It’s the type of [organization] that you join for life, not necessarily something that you do just to have a residence on campus or just to have a club that you’re a part of while you’re [at Stanford].”

A Fountain Hopper (FoHo) piece said that the need to further divide the space in 1047 between two multicultural-themed sororities reflected the smaller size and presence of MGC organizations on campus, a statement that Kurohara agreed with.

“It kind of shows that the MGCs don’t have the presence — a lot of people on campus don’t know about the organizations, so I think that having a house does help MGC a lot,” said Kurohara. “I think that having at least one MGC having part of a house helps MGCs a lot in terms of campus presence.”

Though many MGC organizations are serving the community and developing their organizations without a designated house, Badillo says having a house may break this cycle as visibility for MGC organizations increases.

“If we had a space, we’d be more recognizable, and we’d be able to hold events more frequently,” Badillo said.

As 1047 wraps up its first year as an “intersectional” Greek house, most MGC organizations have yet to establish a permanent, recognizable and brandable space to hold events for their organizations and for the greater community.

“I was very excited to hear that Stanford was experimenting with having a shared house,” Badillo said, “I would hope that [1047] changes in that it becomes more of a home for MGC events.”

 

Residential Education did not respond to The Stanford Daily’s multiple requests for comment.

 

Contact Karen Kurosawa at karen16 ‘at’ stanford.edu.