Cornell’s chapter of the Phi Mu fraternity has secured a house at 509 Wyckoff Road after a two-year real estate search, according to Amy Maurer, Phi Mu director of collegiate membership.
The house — which accommodates 38 people — is currently being leased to Alpha Chi Omega, according to Maurer. Phi Mu has arranged for a long-term lease with the owner and will move into the house in fall 2017. The chapter currently has 100 active members and will hold recruitment at the new house in the spring of 2018.
Maurer explained that the national fraternity has been searching for the right property for the Phi Xi chapter ever since the chapter’s establishment at Cornell in 2014.
Last fall, the Cayuga Heights Planning Board unanimously rejected a request from the Phi Mu fraternity to purchase property at 520 Wyckoff Road due to opposition from the community, The Sun previously reported.
Community members composed a petition to exclude the female fraternal organization from the residential neighborhood, claiming that a chapter house would be “inappropriate usage for the lot and the location.”
Since the new house at 509 Wyckoff is already being used as a sorority house, Phi Mu did not encounter the same difficulties as last year, according to Maurer.
Maurer said that having a chapter house at Cornell will “put Phi Mu on the same playing field as the other sororities.”
“[Having a house] will further strengthen the strong bond of sisterhood that the sisters have already established,” she said.
Christina Nastos ’19, a Phi Mu member, agreed, saying that it is important for a sorority to offer new members the same benefits as other sororities on campus.
“I’m most excited to have Sunday chapter meetings in a living room,” Nastos said. “Our living room will be much more comfortable and cozy than Goldwin Smith.”
Ayanna Allen ’17, president of the Phi Xi chapter, called the new house a “second home” for the Phi Mu sisters on campus.
“Our chapter is very close, and I think having the house will add to the love and strength of our sisterhood,” Allen said. “The biggest challenge will be figuring out all of the logistics, but we have time to make plans and we are collaborating with the headquarters to work through all of the details.”
Julianna Meely ’18, a Phi Mu member, called the new house “gorgeous, bright and cheery.” She expressed excitement about this new opportunity but said she does not think it is necessary for a sorority to have a house.
“While it seems that most potential new members are enchanted by the opportunity to live in a house, they will quickly discover, as did I, that a house doesn’t make a sorority, the bonds of sisterhood make a sorority,” Meely said.