Arkansas State ATO makes a move

Jan 21, 2011

ETA GAMMA (Arkansas State) – “New facilities always bring excitement to any organization and Greek life is no different,” said Lester Coghill, coordinator of Greek life.

Due to an increase in members and a desire to see more faces at social functions, Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity is preparing to build a new house located on University Loop — where five other IFC fraternities currently reside — that will be able to house 17 members.

“There will be eight double suites and a Presidential suite at the front of the house – that’s just living space,” said Ashton Gilstrap of Little Rock, a senior political science who is the property chair for ATO. “The actual holding capacity, I couldn’t even tell you. This house is going to be simply huge.”

The lack of a permanent space large enough for the fraternity and social functions has led to a lot of moving for the men of Alpha Tau Omega, who currently reside in two properties on Elridge Street.

“We’ve also had a house on Aggie Road next to The Edge Coffeehouse as well as a small residence on campus in the past,” Gilstrap said. “Yes, this will be our first house on ‘the row,’ but we’ve been hopping around campus and the neighborhood for forty years.”

Even after the properties on Elridge Street are sold, the men will need additional funds to construct the house they have in mind. However, they are finding those properties, located behind Kays Hall, might be of great interest to ASU students.

“One thing that gives us an enormous advantage during this fundraising process is that ASU does not own the land that we sit on, we do,” Gilstrap said. “This substantially increases the value of the property, and the new bypass and lack of parking area on campus is making our property more valuable by the day.”

One way the men are planning on providing additional funds is through their “Order of 1968” program, which is significant to the year they were founded at ASU. Through this program, individuals can donate $1,968 to the housing fund.

The men also plan on enrolling pledges and members in a system that separates a specific amount of money just for the housing fund and contacting alumni who may be interested in donating money to the cause.

“I can certainly say that I wish I could have had an opportunity to live there,” Gilstrap said. “I’m going to do my best as a young alumnus to facilitate the process to the best of my ability so that some of these guys that are members now can one day enjoy the new house.”

The men also say they hope their new membership will increase their visibility on campus as well as their membership.

“It is likely a few men will see the construction on the ATO house once it begins, be interested, and decide to go through recruitment where they can find what organization is the best fit for them,” Coghill said.

The men say they have been pining for a new house for years, and look forward to the good it will bring.

“We are going to make this house happen, and we’re going to create something for future generations of ATO to enjoy for years to come,” Gilstrap said.


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