Greek life obtains new commons in SU

Only open to Greek life, the new Ritual Room is a place for fraternities and sororities to host meetings, events or come together to celebrate Greek life. The room is on the bottom floor of the Student Union. Photo by Srikar Sudarsan Baskara | Mercury Staff.


In an effort to encourage fraternity and sorority life on campus, a newly-renovated room is now available for Greek organizations.

Fraternity and Sorority Life’s need for growth resulted in the expansion of the Ritual Room,  a space for students part of Greek life organizations to study and hold meetings.

On Aug. 17, Chief Education Officer of Kappa Alpha Theta Anjali James, conducted meetings in the Ritual Room.

“Knowing that people can be comfortable in that room was really nice to know,” James said. “Seeing it was like, ‘Wow, this is such a tangible sight for Greek life expanding on campus.’”

Before the expansion, James said it was hard to fit students in the room comfortably. However, this new design helps solve that problem.

“Obviously, when you pack a lot of people in the room it gets kind of hot, so having this bigger room really does help out,” James said. “That allows our members to be present at the meetings and to be more involved in all the things we do there.”

James said the space is where Greeks can complete their rituals, but more importantly, it is where FSL can complete their initiations.

The newly-expanded room allows for more students to come to meetings because the larger space can accommodate more people than in past years.

“For me, Greek Life showed me that this was the way to make someone of yourself here at UTD,” James said. “Greeks ran the campus when I came here — they were vice president of everything, president of Student Government and they were in SUAAB. Everywhere you saw there was a Greek person. It completely changes your perspective of what the movies and the media show you.”

Student Union director Dan Goodwin was one of the people who collaborated on the project.

“Our Greek organizations don’t have many places on campus to hold some of their meetings or some of their more formal processes,” Goodwin said. “As our chapters grow and the organizations become more involved in other areas on campus, they need an adequate area, and that space as it existed before no longer was adequate for their needs.”

Goodwin was directly involved in the expansion, helping pick the carpet designs and other factors in the room.

“The most exciting thing for me was taking an existing building that we have and really reimagining it in small and large ways,” Goodwin said. “In this case we had an opportunity to do something really impactful. Working with our partners in Student Affairs like FSL, it is always great to take in the feedback on what their needs are and really the concept of the room and the pictures that people have seen and the finished product.” 

Goodwin also worked with UTD’s design team at Facilities Management, along with architects to help bring the Ritual Room together.

“We repurpose space time to time, and those are always fun, more so than maybe building something brand new,” he said. “Repurposing something takes some creativity and imagining and anytime you can breathe life into a space is great.”

Goodwin said he and his team did struggle with the time limit. His goal was to complete the room before students came back for recruitment or chapter orientation and also before school started.

Along with administration, FSL students and council presidents worked on the expansion, which Anjali James said is a positive aspect.

“I think, knowing that UTD is willing to spend that kind of money on us goes to show a lot of support,” James said. “Knowing that we will have a space to plan our philanthropy meeting or to plan something that can better our UTD community shows that we have so many resources and UTD is behind us.”


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