Delta Living in The Trident summer 2017 by Melanie May McKinley, Mississippi State
As any family knows, as your member numbers grow, so does the need for more space in your home! With great anticipation and growing excitement, Beta Mu Chapter at Mississippi State officially moved into its new chapter house in the summer of 2016, just in time for recruitment. In less than two years, the dream of a new facility for future generations of Tri Delta sisters to enjoy their sorority experience had become a beautiful reality — but it took a few decades to see it in brick and mortar.
The Beta Mu Chapter of Delta Delta Delta was chartered in 1972 at Mississippi State University. Though Greek life was thriving, there were no sorority houses. Chapters met in basement rooms in two upper class dormitories, and members shared unofficial sorority floors. The need for sorority houses became increasingly evident as enrollment grew and Greek life on campus flourished. Starting around 1985, the sorority houses began construction one by one, but it was not until 1992 that Tri Delta joined the row.
Many members prior to that time commented that they wish they had been able to enjoy the experience of living among their fellow chapter members in a common home.
While attending Tri Delta’s 2014 Convention, Campaign Chair Cora Beth Hartfield, Mississippi State, called a meeting of Tri Delta’s National House Corporation (NHC) and members of Executive Office. She stated the case for a new facility to meet the specific expectations that today’s college students look to be a part of, mixed with many dreams of a beautiful new house for the chapter at MSU. Armed with facts and numbers and plenty of Delta Love, that meeting proved vital to making the building campaign a certainty.
The project began with the first phase, a total renovation of the existing 22 bedrooms, adding built-ins, storage and study space for 42 women. The additions also included new, spa-like bathrooms, new laundry facilities and study living rooms equipped with kitchenettes and TVs. There is even a small alumna suite for visiting advisors and alumnae guests.
The second phase began when the former chapter house was torn down. Constructed in its place now stands a gorgeous dark red brick Greek Revival house. Sweeping porches upstairs and downstairs, elegant white columns, a grand courtyard, gated garden entry, and numerous windows all offer beautiful views of the MSU campus and football stadium. Space was doubled. Collegiate Chapter President Julie King and other officers have private rooms.
“As I am going into my third year living in the Tri Delta house at MSU, I can’t help but think about all the memories I have made and the memories that are yet to come,” said Julie. “Being able to live in our gorgeous new home this year has been an experience of a lifetime.”
A new dining facility accommodates 250 members, with a study café, kitchen and conference room with offices on the lower level. The main entry opens into a spacious foyer with a large staircase, flanked on either side by a gorgeous chapter living room and an elegant parlor room that displays numerous awards on campus and from St. Jude. Gone are the days when chapter members formed their DDD “human chain,” passed chairs and rolled dining tables into the residence hallways to make space to hold recruitment parties, open house events or chapter meetings. A new permanent chapter room with ample seating for 250 replaced the former space…and no workout required of anyone!
“We all love living in the new house,” said collegiate member Mary Kate Surkin. “We have all grown closer living here. With the school year coming to a close, some of us are a little sad to be moving out of this place, but it’s our home so we know it is always here for us!”
The 45th anniversary of Beta Mu Chapter, held the weekend of March 3, 2017, was the perfect opportunity to show off the new house. Alumnae traveled from as far away as California and Florida and all points in between. Executive Office staff and NHC members were also in attendance. Lots of laughter, shouts of joy and surprise, many memories and stories of lifelong friendships filled the hours together. Smartphones flashed, happy tears flowed, plans for future gatherings started and contacts were shared.
During the tour, Jane Sherman Wasser, an advisor in 1992, and I smiled with tears at the house standing before us. I loved everything about it: the furniture, the interior colors, the accessories, no details spared. The porches and the quaint upstairs study lounge with the Andy Warhol-style pansy paintings are a unique addition. Jane said, “The impressive stairs leading up to a well-designed landing at the study lounge, and the breathtaking porch views are captivating, but my favorite parts are the young women living here in this chapter. They are the cream of the crop!”
Back in the hotel lobby the evening of the reunion, a group of 25 plus women of all ages gathered to meet, eat pizza and reflect. A small group of the charter members of this chapter came in from dinner and joined, sharing their stories of being the charter member class.
While they did not have the fortune to live in a chapter house while in school, they still felt a strong part of the mutual bond of friendship that 45 years of Beta Mu members had experienced. Collectively, those charter members expressed their hope that this beautiful new home would continue that experience.
The success of any building campaign depends on the formation of a great committee, one tasked with collecting the mutual goals outlined by many alumnae and chapter members. This new house at Mississippi State reflects all the work, detail and thought given to all aspects of the design. It is functional, beautiful, roomy, modern and yet classic — a great fit on a southern campus. The new chapter house offers a haven for Tri Delta members to rest, study, entertain, and most importantly start the journey to building their own lifelong friendships.
View more pictures on our Delta Living Pinterest board.