Fraternity raises funds to repair chapter’s house

Lambda Chi Alpha brothers met at their fraternity house on San Amaro Drive last Friday to celebrate the culmination of summer-long efforts made to preserve the history and future of the chapter’s house, a push that led to an approximate $93,000 alumni-driven donation.

The weekend barbecue was planned to thank the alumni for their financial and spiritual support in response to a City of Coral Gables ordinance that would have otherwise left about 20 students homeless.

As previously reported by The Miami Hurricane, the City of Coral Gables’ fire marshal conducted brief, almost unexpected inspections of on-campus fraternity houses over the summer. Each chapter’s adviser had little time to gather adequate resources for preparation.

Lambda Chi Alpha, in particular, suffered from a series of expensive mandates to repair and update facets of the house that no longer met fire-code standards. Outdated alarm systems, loft removal and wall damage could have shut down the house come fall semester.

“I had 30 days to come up with funds out of no where to address this issue,” said Freddy Stebbins, UM alumnus, adviser and brother of Lambda Chi Alpha.

After learning of the necessary changes, Stebbins, along with other alumni, began to use social networking sites to garner the attention of the local and national fraternity.

The changes imposed by the fire marshal reached nearly $30,000, but Stebbins’ mobilization efforts and an unprecedented donation campaign have enabled the chapter to repair and upgrade other older, otherwise irreparable, problems.

“People were so scared that we were going to lose the fraternity house that many more dollars were raised,” Stebbins said. “People just sent money and, with that money, we were able to repair other things that were not fire-related.”

Jay Janger, an alumnus who now lives in Houston, Texas, was also part of the grassroots effort.

“As soon as we knew that there was some pretty serious turnout happening in terms of financial support, we knew that we would want to wrap it up with an event to help celebrate the alumni,” Janger said.

A plaque, in addition to other presentations and awards, was made to honor every brother who donated to the overall drive.

“It was really powerful because alumni of the fraternity and new pledges represented different stages of the fraternity, and it was incredible to see it all in one room,” said Tony Gustitus, current president of UM’s chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha. “They lived in the same rooms that we do, they built parts of the house, and it was cool to see and hear things that you never knew about the place.”