Lambda Chi Alpha purchased its fraternity house from USC in late June following a four-year fundraising endeavor that began in 2015 when the University approached the organization encouraging it to purchase the estate.
“USC is trying to divest the real estate holdings that they have on The Row, specifically fraternity houses that [were previously] owned by the school for many years,” Interfraternity Council President Matteo Mendoza said.
Mendoza, a junior majoring in business administration, also said there are differences in risk management between the University and the fraternity’s national organization regarding security and event hosting.
“With the types of events thrown at fraternity and sorority houses there is an element of risk that national organizations are used to dealing with and that are better equipped at dealing with,” Mendoza said.
According to the University, the house, located on Greek Row, has been part of USC Greek life for more than 50 years. USC purchased the house from ETA Delta House Corporation in 1963. In 2019, the University officially sold the house to Lambda Chi Alpha USC Property Holdings.
Lambda Chi Alpha Chapter President Ryan Doyle said the University proposed a four-year timeframe for them to purchase the house. However, the fraternity faced financial obstacles limited by this time constraint, including fundraising enough money.
Doyle said Lambda Chi was worried the organization would lose the house if it did not raise enough funds in four years.
“If we didn’t raise the capital to close on the financing portion of the purchase, I assume they would have just sold it to the next person in line,” said Doyle, a junior majoring in business administration.
Four alumni of the fraternity spearheaded the fundraising campaign in 2015, Doyle said. Throughout the past four years, Lambda Chi has seen four presidents and four executive board offices cycle through the fundraising process.
Doyle said the alumni commitment and support throughout the campaign reflected a unified drive to ensure the future success of the fraternity and to preserve the experiences of alumni for future members.
“It’s really interesting to see that alumni, 40 years in the future, still care about the organization just as much as they did during their undergraduate experience,” Doyle said. “[The alumni] aren’t donating for any other reason other than they just had a beneficial experience [in the past] and they want to continue that for future students.”
In June, the fraternity was still $130,000 away from the total amount of money stated at the beginning of the four-year campaign needed to legally commit to purchasing the property.
The organization had 12 days before escrow, Doyle said. He also acknowledged the improbability of raising nearly $130,000 in less than two weeks. He said the hardest part of the fundraiser was convincing supporters that the money would be raised.
However, the fundraiser saw other members of the Greek community along with parents and alumni donate to the cause. The fraternity’s GoFundMe page garnered nearly $83,000 of the required $130,000 before the escrow deadline, the rest of the funds came in by check and private wire donations.
“The chapter house is paramount to the organization’s success, longevity and the USC Lambda Chi experience that either you or your son is familiar with,” Doyle wrote on the page.
The inundation of support secured the house in Lambda Chi’s name on the 12th day, beating the escrow deadline and raising a grand total of an estimated $140,000.
“I’m just very proud of all of the guys for putting in the effort that they did. 130 guys, 110% for 12 days. And it truly was every single person that made it happen,” Doyle said. “And I’m very proud of each and every single one of them for doing what they did.”