Members of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity expressed excitement over the signing of the lease of their new house at 624 W. 28th Street on The Row.
The house was previously occupied by the brothers of Beta Omega Phi, an Asian-interest fraternity which is not affiliated with the Interfraternity Council.
In early October 2012, Sigma Alpha Mu began communicating with the landlord of the property, who had recently changed the terms of his lease with Beta Omega Phi.
Sigma Alpha Mu Housing Manager Justin Elliot said that though other fraternities and sororities were interested in the house, the landlord was interested in a long-term tenant.
“We had heard that the landlord was entertaining new tenant proposals, so we kept in close contact with him,” Elliott said.
Sigma Alpha Mu President Sam Canter said that a long-term commitment was just what the fraternity wanted to make. Since regaining its charter in 2007, Canter said the house has seen tremendous growth in membership, which has tripled in size in the past few years.
“When you’re at 91 guys, you need a bigger facility to go along with that,” Canter said. “Living on The Row is the next step in that growth.”
The new house and the attached apartment complex in the back has space for 54 live-in members, which is triple the capacity of the fraternity’s current house on the intersection of Royal and 32nd Streets. With more live-in space, many more actives have the opportunity to play a greater role in Sigma Alpha Mu, with 54 actives already committed to living in the house for the 2013-14 academic year.
Fraternity brother Louis Blacker, a freshman majoring in business administration who will be living in the new house next year, said moving onto The Row will bring his fraternity closer to the other fraternities in the Interfraternity Council.
“We are obviously excited to join the rest of the Greek community on The Row,” Blacker said. “The guys are just excited to live in all one house together. It’s going to be 54 guys compared to 18 in the old house, so it’s just more exciting.”
Canter said the fraternity hopes the move will allow Sigma Alpha Mu to also expand its campus presence.
“I think this is a great thing for us,” Canter said. “We are hoping to enlarge our social scene and our brotherhood and make a lasting name for ourselves at USC.”
Interfraternity Council President Ofek Lavian said he is pleased to welcome another member fraternity onto The Row.
“We are ecstatic that Sigma Alpha Mu is coming to The Row,” Lavian said. “It’s an exciting time for them as they move onto The Row and become part of the premier Greek experience.”
Though moving to The Row comes with many social implications and opportunities, Canter said he is confident that the fraternity will be able to maintain its identity.
“If we are recruiting guys who are a lot like us and who have the same outlook on life as us, then our house is going to be able to stay the same,” Canter said.
Canter said that though the relocation will mean an increase in the fraternity’s live-in dues from approximately $1000 to $1,300 per semester, Sigma Alpha Mu will maintain its commitment to being affordable. Canter said the live-out dues will be approximately $400.
“Our live-out fees are going to go up in order to pay for the higher price of rent,” Canter said. “We had to keep live-in prices low to create an incentive for the guys who are living in the house. Plus, living on The Row comes with doing more events and philanthropies, which is also going to cost more. We’ve done a good job of keeping our dues lower than other fraternities but still being able to do a lot with that budget.”
Sigma Alpha Mu’s current house, which it has occupied since 2009, is owned by USC Housing. The brothers will be moving into the new house over summer 2013.