The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Former Sigma Chi house to reopen as Student Engagement Space this fall

The building, located at 2420 Vanderbilt Place, will be shared between religious and pre-professional student organizations, while also offering a meeting space open to reservation.
The+former+Sigma+Chi+house+at+2420+Vanderbilt+Place+under+construction%2C+as+photographed+on+Sept.+14%2C+2023.+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FMichael+Tung%29
Michael Tung
The former Sigma Chi house at 2420 Vanderbilt Place under construction, as photographed on Sept. 14, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Michael Tung)

The building at 2420 Vanderbilt Place, currently under construction, is set to reopen this semester as the Student Engagement Space. The building was formerly home to Vanderbilt’s Alpha Psi chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity, which was suspended until at least Spring 2027 in January.

According to Assistant Dean for Student Engagement and Leadership Traci Ray, the Office of Student Affairs began considering how the space could be reused in late Spring 2023. The Student Engagement Space will undergo a year-long pilot this academic year, in which a set of student groups — including Alpha Kappa Psi, the Vanderbilt Innovation and Entrepreneurship Society, and the Muslim Students Association — will share portions of the house.

Ray said the groups involved were selected based on a combination of perceived need and explicitly stated interest from student leaders.

“Student Affairs was reviewing the ongoing needs of students and student organizations to determine how best to use the space in the pilot year, and some groups also inquired and expressed interest directly,” Ray said.

Ray did not further specify a reopening date for the space, adding that it “depends on the timeline for the ongoing renovation work.”

The Office of Student Affairs previously reopened the former Delta Kappa Epsilon house as the Leadership and Service Space, dividing it between organizations including Vanderbilt Student Government, the Vanderbilt Performing Arts Community, Vanderbilt’s Sigma chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, and others.

“Participant groups for this year include … the Muslim Student Association, Vandy Karma, Voices of Praise and Buddhist meditation practices, affiliated with the Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, as well as … Alpha Kappa Psi and VINES,” Ray said.

Ray added that the facility will have a reservable meeting space for alcohol-free events and quiet hours to accommodate contemplation spaces but declined to specify how the space will be shared.

“We are currently finalizing plans to optimize the space to best serve all of the groups and establish clear expectations for their success,” Ray said. “As details solidify, we will directly communicate further information to the groups involved.”

AKPsi Internal Vice President Tommy Pennington, a junior, said the co-ed business fraternity is eager to “make a broader impact across campus” with its share of the Student Engagement Space.

“AKPsi has a distinct leadership position on campus, and we plan to leverage our platform and the space to expand our business education offerings for all Vanderbilt students, launch new resources and programs and implement new philanthropic activities,” Pennington said.

Delta Sigma Pi, another co-ed business fraternity, did not respond to The Hustler’s request for comment on whether or not they also sought space in the facility.

VINES President Sam Stubbs, a senior, said the organization is “excited” to host events in the space and work toward making the West End Neighborhood more inclusive.

“We plan to host co-working jams, community meetups, pitch competitions, guest speakers and other various social and professional development events in the Student Engagement Space,” Stubbs said. “We want to provide an alternative route — other than Greek Life — for students to feel at home in the historically exclusive West End Neighborhood.” 

VINES currently hosts their events in the Wond’ry, as well as in various classrooms across campus.

MSA, Vandy Karma and Voices of Praise did not immediately respond to The Hustler’s request for comment about their plans to utilize the space.

Senior Zach Schuller, President of Vanderbilt’s Sigma chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, said the fraternity was in talks with the Dean of Students Office and the Office of Greek Life to claim the space, but the Dean of Students discontinued the conversation. The chapter had also attempted to fully occupy the former DKE house during its reopening as the Leadership and Service Space. Since 2021, PIKE has occupied a room in the Leadership and Service Space and occasionally hosts events and meetings in the house. PIKE previously occupied the current Phi Delta Theta house while Phi Delt was temporarily suspended from campus. 

Schuller said PIKE’s interactions with the Dean of Students Office were “disappointing.”

“While we commend initiatives like the community prayer space, the lack of dialogue leaves us skeptical about the objectivity of the decision-making process,” Schuller said.

Ray declined to comment on whether PIKE had been involved in conversations over the use of the space, but said the fraternity is welcome to reserve it for events.

“Pi Kappa Alpha, along with other registered student organizations, will have opportunities to utilize this revamped space once the invited participant groups have submitted their requests and quiet hours have been established,” Ray said.

Ray added that the potential return of Sigma Chi to Vanderbilt’s campus in the future may impact how the space is utilized.

“We will assess [Sigma Chi’s] potential return to the facility when they are seeking to return to campus, taking any previous agreements with the organization into consideration,” Ray said.

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About the Contributors
Parker Smith
Parker Smith, Former Deputy News Editor
Parker Smith ('24) is majoring in computer science and political science in the School of Engineering. He enjoys playing guitar in his spare time and is a former Starbucks barista and self-proclaimed coffee expert. He can be reached at [email protected].
Michael Tung
Michael Tung, Staff Photographer
Michael Tung ('26) is majoring in computer science. He is currently a staff photographer and is originally from Dublin, Ohio. His interests are photography, engineering, all things aerospace and music. He can be reached at [email protected]
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