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Board Update

We lost significant housing income for the Penn State academic year 2017-18 when DU was suspended from University recognition (effective December 2017). We took a big financial hit for the house being vacant for Winter semester (Jan -May 2018). We tried to generated income by being a rooming house for one year (Penn State academic year 2018-19). It was only modestly successful. It didn’t pay the freight. However, due to prudent financial management of your Board, your association was able to weather the storm. House improvements had to be postponed until better days.

To our good fortune thereafter, our undergraduate recruitment went well. The short translation is that we enjoyed UG occupancy of the house in 2019-2020 and have stopped the bleeding. Our

current house occupancy (2019-2020) is around 30 (with about 30 out-of-house Brothers, who pay additional fees). In the coming fall 2020, we have housing contracts for at least 30, maybe more.

In Spring 2020, we have 22 new Associates who accepted bids to DU. That’s great news. Things are looking up. Our UGs are doing well. They are on their game. They need our support.

 

House improvements needed

Roofing:

Our south dormers with slate roofing (facing campus) are leaking badly. This is critical. Other sections with slate roofing (primarily over the “new” addition done in 1930) are also failing. This must be addressed. Estimated contractor bids: $30-40,000 for asphalt shingles; $150,000 + for slate replication, which is cost prohibitive.

Fencing:

Our experiment with surrounding the premises with a six-foot fence, though prudent when approved, has not panned out. Unfortunately, repeated vandalism has made it a problem that is difficult to keep up with. The Police are hamstrung without eyewitness or video evidence. Your Board decided to eventually remove the fence, in favor of a cultivated growth of prickly vegetation, which may ultimately serve a similar purpose with lower maintenance cost.

Reflooring the entire first floor:

The first-floor areas including the entrance way, foyer, anti-room near the ladies head, chapter room and dining room are in bad shape and look poorly. Those floors have already been sanded / refinished at least twice. A third sanding doesn’t seem to be an option. Rather, they need to be re-floored. Estimated cost with UG & Alumni labor: $15,000.

Dining room tables:

What dining tables remain are shabby & wobblily. Six new sturdy dining tables are needed. Estimated: Local wood worker: $5-6000. Upscale tables with fancy inlaid crests: $7,500-$10,000.

 

Alcohol on the premises:

Like it or not, Penn State DU is a dry house. The University demands it, as does DU International. Some of we DU dinosaurs may scoff at the notion. It is my studied observation that our UG Brothers—though not teetotalers—aren’t that disturbed by the restriction. It is their generation, not ours. They grew up differently from us. They are doing OK within the

parameters. We should go with the flow. Our risks otherwise are to suffer sanctions and being shut down again.

Which means, among other things: Yes, visit the house. Don’t bring in cases of beers, even if only for you and your homies. Alumni events will be dry. The new deal with University oversight will not tolerate unsanctioned alumni events. We cannot have a few cold ones with our UG Brothers. There is only negative consequences in it. Imbibe quietly and out of sight. Don’t create any problems.

 

Parking issues:

 

At Homecoming, I paid a $30 fine for parking on our DU lawn behind the fence. There’s a new ordinance specific to the “Highland Area” of SC, which encompasses most of fraternity row. Fight it all you want, but chances are you will get ticketed on most weekends if you park on the DU lawn, like we are all used to doing. I don’t know any way around it. I just paid it.

 

Fraternally,
Your Alumni Board of Directors

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