Chi Phi Fraternity chapter house opens

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KINGSTON, R.I.—October 1, 2007–Chi Phi, the University of Rhode Island’s oldest fraternity, has a snazzy, new 13,000-foot chapter house on campus, complete with 20 bedrooms, a commercial kitchen, social area, meeting space, air conditioning and internet access. A ribbon cutting, held last month, was attended by Chi Phi alumni and their family members, as well as, URI officials and members of the campus community.

“The completion of our new chapter house is the first step in our fraternity’s return to campus,” said URI 1977 alumnus Doug Bennet, president of the Rho Iota Kappa Alumni Association of Chi Phi and treasurer of its holding company. Bennet was the driving force behind the new building.

“We tried to build something that our students, parents, alumni, other fraternities and sororities, and school officials could all be proud of; I think we succeeded,” says Bennet. The house is located is 11 Fraternity Circle, behind Weldin Hall.

The University shut down Chi Phi in 2005, primarily for violations of the University’s substance-free housing agreement. Since the chapter is currently inactive, 40 transfer students are renting rooms this academic year.

“The University appreciates the work of the alumni of Chi Phi fraternity for their extraordinary efforts in building this new chapter house on our campus,” says Thomas Dougan, vice president for student affairs. “It is a beautiful facility that is a true signal of the resurgence of fraternity life at URI. We look forward to teaming with alumni and the national fraternity to form an outstanding undergraduate chapter of Chi Phi fraternity at the University.”

“We will participate in Spring Rush and hope to completely fill the house with new brothers next fall,” says Bennet. “As you look around campus you can see a resurgence of the Greek system. There are new buildings, renovations, and cleanups going on and I understand there are other groups looking to start up or return to URI. At the risk of sounding bold, I feel that this beautiful building in some way will help serve as a catalyst for this revival.”

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MAKING THE CUT: A ribbon cutting officially opens the Chi Phi Fraternity house in August. Making the cut are (l-r) Thomas Dougan, vice president of Student Affairs, Doug Bennet, president Chi Phi Alumni Association, Tom Paquette, president Chi Phi Holding Corp., and R. Henry Carnevale, Grand Alpha, Chi Phi National. URI Department of Communications and Marketing photo by Michael Salerno Photography.

FRONT VIEW of the new Chi Phi Fraternity house at the University of Rhode Island. Photo courtesy of New England Construction.

ON THE PORCH: Chi Phi Alumni from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s return to the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston campus to attend the ribbon cutting and tour the new chapter house. URI Department of Communications and Marketing photo by Michael Salerno Photography.