UNIVERSITY PRESS

Greek Housing vs. Nature Preserve: What Will Prevail?

A location has been chosen for Greek housing, but it may kill a few owls

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Greek Housing vs. Nature Preserve: What Will Prevail?

Photo by Ryan Murphy | Business Manager

Photo by Ryan Murphy | Business Manager

Ryan Murphy

Photo by Ryan Murphy | Business Manager

Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy

Photo by Ryan Murphy | Business Manager

Gregory Cox, Contributing Writer

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Greek life could be getting on campus housing in the near future, but it could be at the expense of FAU’s nature preserve.

The Boca Raton House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday, April 3 that supports the construction of Greek Housing on lot five, located just north of the FAU football stadium.

“The Greek community serves as [a] beacon of tradition and school spirit for Florida Atlantic,” states the bill. This bill is authored by Chris Ferreira, William McElligott and Felix Hartmann, who are all members of different Greek fraternities and involved in student government.

This isn’t the first bill related to Greek housing that the house has passed. Previous bills “were pretty broad in general, but this [bill] reinforces that and it’s a little more detailed,” said Ferreira, a member of the house and Boca Raton governor-elect.

Previous bills never stated a specific location for the housing to go. The proposed Greek housing plots would be located in lot five, right between two preserves that are home to burrowing owls and gopher tortoises respectively; gopher tortoises are considered a threatened species.

However, not everyone likes the planned location. Dr. Evelyn Frazier, a FAU professor of ecology and entomology, acknowledged that building on or around a preserve could adversely affect the animals around it.

“There is tons of grassy areas everywhere else. If you build a house… it’s going to impair the normal movement of these tortoises in and out of the preserve.”

Frazier also explained that this preserve is used as a classroom. Rather than having to travel to the Everglades or other parts of Florida, students are able to walk to the back of the Boca campus and visit a preserve. “There is research being conducted in that [preserve],” said Frazier.

This is something that Ferreira did in fact consider: “That’s going to be a controversy when we get there… my solution would be to move the preserve to somewhere else, but then at the same time you’re destroying our schools mascot.”

It will still take time in order to confirm the location and logistics of Greek housing, but there is a rationale for greek housing to come to FAU.

“I think for the size of school we have, compared to FSU or UM, I think it does [justify building greek housing], and then we also have more students living on campus which is always good for the university,” said Ferreira.

Check back to upressonline.com for updates.

About the Contributors
Gregory Cox, Managing Editor

Major in Multimedia Journalism, Minor in Business and Political Science
Greg has been a Student Government beat writer and news editor before becoming...

Ryan Murphy, Business Manager

Ryan is a graduate student in the College of Science. He started in 2012 as a staff photographer and has since won several awards for his work at the UP....

12 Comments

12 Responses to “Greek Housing vs. Nature Preserve: What Will Prevail?”

  1. Boca Owl on April 8th, 2015 7:51 pm

    Can you please post the actual bill? SG is about two years behind on posting bills on their website.

    That said, if you want to build Greek Housing close to the stadium then Lot 5 certainly makes the most sense. The houses can be built without too much damage to the preserve.

    The issue with Greek Housing is not about preserve vs elsewhere. There are issues of cost, university control and a revolving door in the Greek Life office that has kept this project stuck in the mud for decades. Hopefully President Kelly can turn the screws on the right people so we stop making excuses and start moving dirt.

  2. JekScience on April 29th, 2015 1:34 am

    Unfortunately building it on Lot 5 would cause irrevocable harm to the smaller preserve fragment. It already suffers from limited connectivity to the main preserve due to Lot 5. Sticking a building in there, with all the noise pollution, actual pollution, development that goes with it, would sever the fragment from the preserve. Like a leaf pulled from it’s tree, the fragment would wither and die. The area isn’t large enough for the population of owls and tortoises living in it, and they rely on connectivity to the larger fragment to survive!

  3. caj on April 8th, 2015 9:40 pm

    I think the Greek housing is a good idea. It goes right in line with FAU’s well publicized goal of becoming a top traditional university in the state. So it needs to offer this to match what other universities are offering. And as stated, it does loads for campus life and fostering school spirit. The facilities can definitely be planned and designed to not only protect the preserve, but also incorporate it sustainably. I hope that now that we have a focused and effective leader in President Kelly, we can get this moving.

  4. JekScience on April 29th, 2015 1:29 am

    The housing is a good idea, somewhere else. Placement of housing in this location would effectively eliminate the limited connectivity between the two habitat fragments, dooming the smaller fragment to extirpation. – Studying MS Environmental Science at FAU.

  5. caj on April 29th, 2015 9:29 am

    I am in favor of developing a list of alternatives and choosing the best preferred alternative. I just know that lot 5 does not necessarily have to be ruled out due to the preserve’s proximity. I am an environmental/planning engineer and everyday we develop techniques and innovative designs to protect our environment. We take what our colleagues in the environmental science and wildlife biology arenas discover/study and develop sustainable ways to design infrastructure while protecting our natural resources. Again I know this because I do it everyday. – 2013 FAU Civil Engineering Alum

  6. Fellow Greek and SG Member on April 9th, 2015 11:54 am

    This article also failed to mention that Greek members within the house were not permitted to vote on this Bill and it was passed solely by non-Greek members in Student Government.

    I also believe that it is reckless for this “newspaper” to say that the FAU Administration is willing to kill and move an endangered species so as to build more on campus housing. I do not believe that the university would violate federal, state, or local law in order to bring Greek Housing to fruition.

    Go Owls! Go Greek!

  7. Patrick Star on April 9th, 2015 3:18 pm

    So, it sounds like Ferreira’s plan is this.

    And sure, maybe the housing itself can be placed so that it doesn’t harm the preserve. But the damage done by partying frat and sorority members and the damage done during the construction, all the noise pollution, and all of the litter that’s gonna result from this, among other things, is gonna do a lot of harm.

    In summation: This is stupid, and if they go forward with it, FAU is stupid.

  8. Boca Owl on April 9th, 2015 9:48 pm

    What is your proposed location for Greek housing on the campus? “Don’t build it” is not an answer.

  9. caj on April 10th, 2015 12:52 am

    I’m slightly curious, are you saying that lot 5 should remain an empty parking lot and never be developed or are you saying that some other development besides housing should happen? If we say we will never develop that land because the preserve is nearby, then theoretically we should rip up the pavement and turn that area into preserve as well. The preserve is directly adjacent to an active runway therefore it is my initial inclination that any construction noise impacts would be negligible, seeing as how it likely won’t be anywhere near louder than the jets using the runway. There are federal, state, and local laws that protect the species in the preserve. As “fellow Greek and SG member” stated above, these laws cannot and will not be broken during this proposed project. There are also, very smart people whose job it is to plan, design, and construct facilities in sustainable manners that protect the environment and mitigates adverse effects. If this project happens, and I hope it does, let the project managers develop proper alternatives and innovative ways to implement this project while protecting the natural resource.

  10. JekScience on April 29th, 2015 1:31 am

    I’m super in favor of ripping it up and returning it to preserve status. Great idea. Let’s write a letter!

  11. IknowURider on April 24th, 2015 4:45 pm

    The campus location that would have less impact on the preserve is the unused concrete pad just north of PBSC and just south of the research park. That is east of the north end of Lot 5. The location is already under concrete, is large, is unused, and is not situated directly between the two halves of the preserve. The best use of Lot 5 is to remain a parking lot at the south end, and then rip up the north half of the lot and restore it to grassland to connect the preserve pieces.

  12. JekScience on April 29th, 2015 1:30 am

    Yes yes and yes! It would still increase traffic around the habitat strip, but would leave the limited habitat connectivity mostly intact!

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