The newly constructed $5.1 million Sigma Phi Epsilon house won’t sit empty for much longer.
Virginia Tech recently announced that it will take the former fraternity house and turn it into a new residential learning community called Innovate — one that fosters an entrepreneurial spirit.
The Innovate learning community will be open to 35 incoming freshman who are looking to live in a multidisciplinary housing environment that will hopefully generate and develop entrepreneurial business endeavors.
According to a university press release, Innovate will place a heavy emphasis on student engagement with faculty and staff, providing opportunities to gain knowledge both in and out of the classroom, and creating a physical space that encourages and enriches the learning experience.
Innovate was conceived and planned as a collaborative effort of the provost's office, the Division of Student Affairs, Pamplin College of Business, and the department of Housing and Residence life.
Robert Sumichrast, newly hired dean of Pamplin College of Business, expressed his excitement with the opportunity to enrich the educational experience of incoming students, “Through courses in our management department, we have been preparing students to take an entrepreneurial approach in managing within any context, from startups to large organizations.”
The $5 million house is the first of it’s kind in the Oak Lane community. The Sig Ep fraternity pledged $2 million, while the University paid the other $3 million. However, the brothers of Sig Ep only got to enjoy the house for a semester before their national charter was revoked.
According to a letter dated May 28, and sent to Sig Ep affiliates by the Virginia Kappa Alumni and Volunteer Corporation Directors and Alumni Advisory Council Members, the Tech chapter of Sig Ep lost its charter due to a variety of alcohol, drug and violence related activities. Despite warnings, Sig Ep was removed from campus and their multi-million dollar mansion will be taken over by incoming freshman hoping to become the next Donald Trump.
The house features a fully-loaded kitchen, living room with Hokiestone fireplace, as well as several study spaces and a conference room that will give residences a blend of academic and residential life.
“Under the provost’s leadership, this vision has been forming for some time,” said Patty Perillo, vice president for Student Affairs. “The concept got off the ground quickly when a number of people around the university recognized a great opportunity to work together and create the synergies that facilitate learning for our students.”
Students interested in applying must submit their applications by 3 p.m. on July 26.