…and by Orthodox Greek, I mean your normal Cornell Greek house. But I enjoy a little bit of word play.
I had come across a piece in my Cornell feed about a Christian house at Cornell on The Knoll called “Chesterton House”. I thought it was unusual that I had never heard of it, but I wrote it off as being some low key residential organization, like many at Cornell are (for example, Telluride, the Co-Ops and a few of the professional fraternities). I noticed its location was 115 The Knoll, which failed to ring a bell – I thought it was a rowers’ house or home to some of the Big Red Band. I’ve been vaguely aware that there were five houses on the Knoll, so there was bound to be some non-Greek component.
Then I glanced at their website – it’s Alpha Xi Delta’s old house. The one I profiled a couple years ago.
According to their website, the house is named for Gilbert Keith Chesterton, an early 20th century writer and “defender of the Christian faith”. The house holds 15 and is all-male, with the female equivalent being Sophia House at 315 Thurston, the house with a stucco finish and the extremely high-pitched tile roof. Apparently that house is being rented, so it is not under the organization’s possession. Now, the house on the Knoll is owned by Delta Phi Epsilon sorority, the last I checked (for the record, they’ve owned it since 1962). So I’m going to venture that this is a fairly recent endeavor, and a big step for an organization that was established only 12 years ago. Although a relatively young organization, it’s certainly garnering its share of alumni support.
I for one welcome them to establish themselves as one of the many opportunities afforded to students at Cornell. In my mind, I see it as something similar to the Jewish Living Center on West Campus. My one encouragement is that they adopt a policy similar to the Jewish Living Center and encourage freshmen to live with the other freshmen. I’ll willingly admit that as the brother of a fire-and-brimstone evangelist, I’ve been wary of religious groups in general (one tends to be that way when your sibling tells you you’re going to hell at every Thanksgiving dinner, for being a secular Christian). But it’s also addressing a niche group at Cornell and offering more for some individual’s Cornell experience.