The Greek organizations at Eastern Illinois University have thrived since the time of their inception on campus. The 1950 edition of the Warbler reported that 18 percent of the student body was actively involved in one of the seven social fraternities or sororities on campus at that time. Membership in these organizations remained strong as new organizations were formed; even amidst a decline in activity on the national scene.
As interest in Greek life continued to flourish, the institution set aside land and created plans for what was then to be known as Greek Row. The proposal for on-campus Greek housing finally came full circle in 1989 when the first units of Greek Court were opened.
Greek Court was initially met with apprehension from some who feared that each chapter’s autonomy would be lost in an on-campus setting. However, this option quickly became accepted and preferred as the popularity of Greek Court caught on, and off-campus options grew more limited and restraining.
The first phase of the Greek Court project was completed in 1989, with two two-story buildings that could house two different organizations in each building. Each wing provided a chapter room and kitchen area for each side of the building, which held 36 occupants. The second phase of the Greek Court project was identical to the first, adding two buildings to the east of phase one. The third and fourth phases of the Greek Court project expanded the campus farther southeast and brought the total number of Greek Court buildings to eight separate structures.
The final building erected out of phase four of the Greek Court project was comprised of similar room set-ups, with four wings designed for four smaller chapters.
This building provided housing opportunities for historically black Greek organizations. Phi Beta Sigma and Delta Sigma Theta were the first African American fraternities to move on campus in 1995.
As the popularity of Greek Life grew on campus, Greek Court continued to find success in housing chapters. The Greek Court Council was formed (now known as Greek Court Programming Board) and they work to unite the chapters and help further Greek life initiatives.
Housing 18 of the 30 fraternities and sororities at Eastern, Greek Court chapters represent all three national governing councils: the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, and the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Eastern’s Greek Court system is one of a select few in the country designed with such a partnership between the institution and chapters.
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