Over the last two years, a group of Alpha Nu alumni has worked together to identify the needs for Beta to remain the preeminent fraternity at the University of Kansas. Throughout these discussions, three critical areas were identified: housing, scholarship, and long-term economic viability.
Our house has served Alpha Nu well for more than a century; however, the last significant renovation was 25 years ago. Additionally, in recent years, the average size of the incoming pledge class has increased to 25 members, making it more important to effectively utilize the space in the house. The house needs to be renovated and updated to meet the demands of the modern student, who lives, socializes, and studies very differently.
If our chapter is going to remain the best, 1425 Tennessee should also be the best facility. Many chapters on campus have made substantial capital improvements in recent years. Delta Chi, Delta Upsilon, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Gamma Delta, and Sigma Chi are just a few of the chapters that have made recent facility upgrades—and several more are planning such enhancements. Today, students and their parents expect more in return for their housing dollars. University living units now offer luxury options like individual kitchens, two-person bathrooms, and cleaning services. Additionally, apartment complexes, both on and off campus, offer personal space, privacy, parking, and luxury amenities. While we have no intention of providing all of these amenities, we can provide an excellent product that students enjoy and appreciate.
In 1962, the Alpha Nu Educational Foundation was established to provide scholarships to the undergraduate members based upon academic achievement, financial need, and leadership within the chapter. It continues to be our intent to help young men build and enhance the leadership skills necessary to make an impact on campus, in their workplaces and communities, and in their families. Through financial analysis, the Alpha Nu Educational Foundation leadership believes an annual distribution of $40,000 will be necessary to accomplish its goals. The Alpha Nu Educational Foundation has identified four areas of focus for the scholarship funds:
- Needs-Based Scholarships - Alpha Nu wants to maintain its commitment to finding the best young men and this will likely include men who don’t have the means to afford membership.
- Merit-Based Scholarships - The Educational Foundation wants to reward and recognize those members who excel in the classroom by providing annual scholarships.
- Senior Scholarship Program – A way to encourage seniors to live—and take active roles—in the chapter through graduation providing discounted room and board costs if they meet specific requirements (GPA, officer positions, General Fraternity meetings, etc.)
- Leadership Training Scholarships - provide resources needed to take advantage of opportunities from the General Fraternity, university and general public for leadership development
Since the renovation in 1991, the alumni leadership has been forced to address a number of issues with the Usher Mansion. These issues have included: foundation repairs, installation of stone and iron fencing, historic wood preservation, updates to the housemother’s quarters and restroom, finishing of the basement rooms, creation of additional patio space, and the renovation of common areas. These updates and repairs were funded through a line of credit. Annually, the chapter spends nearly $40,000 toward the servicing of this debt. These funds should be reinvested in the facility every year to address the ongoing maintenance needs of the facility. If we hope to maintain the integrity and beauty of the Usher Mansion, we will need to ensure additional maintenance funds are readily available.
It is imperative the current line of credit debt be retired. Once retired, the Beta Theta Pi Housing Association will establish an endowment to address the ongoing needs of the historic Usher Mansion. The endowment would provide funds to address the normal maintenance and what would be considered mid-term or 10-year costs—the capital expenditures that reoccur normally every 10 to 15 years (for example, replacing furniture and fixtures in the common areas, replacing all kitchen stock and equipment, exterior and interior painting, replacing common area flooring, and overhauling HVAC and fire suppression systems).