Is UCI Down for a Greek Row? Some Pros and Cons of Greek Housing

The sheer mention of a Greek row triggers images of “Animal House” worthy parties, out-of-control frat boys and keg stands. Greek row is just a venue for celebrating Manic Mondays, Twelve-Pack Tuesdays, Thirsty Thursdays and holding beer pong tournaments, right?

Sometimes described as a “frat row,” a Greek row is a street or neighborhood that holds all of the campus’ fraternity and sorority houses.

Although infamous for their parties, Greek houses are actually built to provide housing near the campus and to be a place for meeting and gathering. Greek houses on the UCI campus hold not only events for themselves, but also hold professor dinners, alumni banquets, scholarship brunches, presentations for family and friends and campus-wide events that invite Greeks and non-Greeks alike to come together and socialize.

From this definition, it’d seem like Arroyo Vista is not Irvine’s Greek row.

Arroyo Vista cannot be considered a Greek row because only half of the Greek community resides there, not including the multi-cultural or subject themed fraternities and sororities. Including all chapters with Greek letters, AV holds only 28 percent of the fraternity and sorority community.

So why doesn’t UCI have a Greek row? Having all the Greeks in one place would not only make it easier for recruitment, it would also make Monday night meetings more convenient for all the chapters, increase the strength of the Greek community and having a house to crash at would prevent a lot of drinking and driving.

Third-year political science major and brother in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity Diego Hernandez commented on the pros of having a house on campus, “Having a house solidifies who you are on campus. The Sigma Alpha Epsilon house is part of our chapter’s history. Our chapter is very close on its own, but without a doubt our house makes it possible for us to have a stronger bond,” Hernandez said.

However, there are also the very obvious cons of furthering isolation for the Greek community, a possible increase of high-risk events, and noise complaints. UCI’s Greek Life Director Brian Clarke noted, “not having a Greek row can have a positive effect. Sometimes when you have a “row” you bring on certain issues to your Greek community that will then change the focus. If you look at other campuses with large houses, the first issue [with having one at UCI] would be alumni boards [that] are most focused on the house, filling the house, people living in: we don’t have that issue. Our alumni are instead focused on advising the chapters, building relationships and mentoring.”

On the same note, third-year political science major and criminology minor, Pi Kappa Alpha brother Diego Aviles stated, “If anything, not having a house has made us a little stronger. It makes us work harder to be able to work at the same level as other fraternities and remain competitive not only in the Greek life but with life as UCI as well.”

With varying opinions on having a Greek row, will UCI ever see the likes of one on campus? Clarke commented on the idea by saying, “You could never say never.”