The Greek lettered organizations at Eastern Illinois University have had a thriving past since the time of their inception on campus. The 1950 edition of the Warbler reported that 18 percent of the student body was actively involved in one of the seven social fraternities or sororities on campus at that time. Membership in these organizations stayed strong as new organizations were formed, even amidst a decline in activity on the national scene.
As interest in Greek life continued to flourish. The institution set aside land and plans for what was then to be known as Greek Row. The proposal for on-campus Greek life finally came to fruition in 1989 when the first units of Greek Court were opened.
At first the administration was questioned as to the intent of Greek Court by some who feared that each chapter’s individuality would be lost in an on-campus setting. However, membership in fraternities and sororities quickly turned to a positive light as the popularity of Greek Court caught on and off campus options grew more limited and restraining.
The first phase of the Greek Court project was completed in 1989, with 2 two-story buildings that could house two different organizations in each building. Each wing provided a chapter room and kitchen area for each side of the building and held 36 occupants. The second phase of the Greek Court project was identical to the first, adding two buildings to the east of phase one. The third and fourth phases of the Greek Court project expanded campus farther southeast and brought the total number of Greek Court buildings to eight separate structures. The final building erected out of phase four of the Greek Court project was comprised of similar room set-ups, with four wings designed for four smaller chapters.
This provided housing opportunities for historically black Greek organizations, with the first African American fraternities, Phi Beta Sigma and Delta Sigma Theta, moving on-campus in 1995.Housing 19 of the 30 fraternities and sororities at Eastern, Greek Court chapters represent all three national governing councils: the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, and the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Eastern’s Greek Court system is one of a select few in the country designed with such a partnership between the institution and chapters.
As the popularity of Greek Life grew on campus, Greek Court continued to find success housing chapters. The Greek Court Council works to unite organizations found in the court and even sends representation to the Residence Hall Association