What follows below is our latest letter to Sigma Chi Alpha Tau alumni, penned by House Corp President John Ruocchio.
In the letter he shares:
- The $250K raised thus far has led to significant tangible improvements, and the students taking more ownership and pride in The House
- We’re raising an additional $50K to renovate the upstairs bedrooms and finish replacing all windows (currently half done with this project due to budget)
- Alumni can secure naming rights to their old bedroom with a single or grouped donation of $3,000. All donations, past and present, over $1,000 will receive a commemorative ink-drawn portrait of The House.
- If you want to donate, there are two ways. Mail a check to Alpha Tau House Corporation, PO Box 4422, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-4422 or click here to pay with credit/debit card
The Broken Window Theory. This theory, originating as a crime fighting theory, posits that preventing and rectifying small crimes, such as vandalism, public drinking and turn style jumping, helps create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness and thereby preventing more serious crimes from happening. This theory has been applied also to urban decay and urban renewal, and apparently applies to the Alpha Tau Chapter House.
When we started our renewal campaign, we had hopes for a big renovation requiring $1.2 million. However, the immediate needs overtook the campaign. As such, we underwent a smaller but impactful and effective renovation. We have been able to replace the HVAC, renovate the upstairs bathroom, paint and repair the interior and exterior of the house, renovate the kitchen with new equipment, replace half of the exterior windows, undergo major plumbing projects to increase the efficiency of the house, address basement water issues with new gutters, replace the interior stairwell, obtain new chapter furniture, replace new doors and locks for the safety of the brothers’ rooms, restore the exterior fire escape for safety reasons and update and renovate the basement bathrooms so as to assist in utilizing the downstairs portion of the house. We began this smaller but effective renovation with only volunteer activity, and without professional fundraisers, allowing us to apply every penny back into the house.
The tangible improvements that the House Corp has been able to undertake thanks to alumni donations have led to intangible improvements. These intangible benefits, i.e., the broken window theory, have proven most interesting. There is an esprit de corps of the undergrads that previously was not seen.
- This fall they had 22 pledges, a good increase over last year that ensures both camaraderie and financial stability.
- For the 2017-18 school year, only 8 people lived in the house. For the 2018-19 school year, there is now a waiting list of people eager to move into the house.
- We have seen a more fully engaged executive council willing to make bold leadership decisions and move the house in a new direction. This is evident with the replacement of a friend and long-time cook with a professional cooking service that has not only increased the quality of the food, but has offered a better opportunity for shared brotherhood.
- Finally, we are seeing projects undertaken by the students themselves. A drive-by of the house will show that there is actually landscaping and flowers outside. Small, but new evidence of a change. It is with your help and assistance that this change is taking place.
We are now in the final push of this stage of the renovation, with two remaining major projects to be accomplished. Summer is coming and that is the opportunity for us to complete the work.
PROJECT 1 – Sponsor a Room Renovation
It is time to upgrade the living quarters. We have touched almost every aspect of the house except for the brothers’ rooms. These have not been altered, touched or addressed professionally since the 1995 renovation. Our estimate for restoring 10 rooms is $3,000 per room, or $30,000, and will cover new flooring, lighting, wiring, and painting.
PROJECT 2 – Windows
We need to finish replacing all of the remaining exterior windows. This serves the purpose of not only increasing efficiency of heating and cooling but adding aesthetics and safety value. The remaining expense is $20,000.
These two projects represent the final and remaining push that we anticipate will require an additional $50,000.00.
This is where you come in, and where we can add a bit of fun and a lasting memento.
1. We are offering naming rights to the individual bedrooms. There are ten rooms and therefore, ten opportunities for you and/or your former roommates or anyone else to be memorialized at the Alpha Tau Chapter. We are offering these naming rights for $3,000 per room. These are obviously limited to ten and will be on a first come, first serve basis.
We will provide a nice plaque that is permanently affixed outside each and every room. Single person donations as well as group donations totaling $3,000 per room (pooling together with your former roommates) will secure naming rights.
2. In addition, for every individual who donates $1,000.00, including those of you who have given in the past, we will mail you an archival copy of a hand drawn portrait of the Alpha Tau house done by a professional artist (see example image below). This is a beautiful rendition of the chapter house and will be a nice memento to hang in your office, man cave or any other suitable locale.
We ask that you donate today, and no later than April 30th , so that work can begin this summer. Think about naming your old room after yourself, your roommate, someone special, or the room’s prior nickname (subject to House Corp approval!). We are in a significant upward swing that would not have been possible without those brothers that have given before and those we anticipate helping in the future.
As always, we thank you for your assistance, support and continued donations. It is your leadership to date and your anticipated leadership that will continue to drive us into the future.
As the great Mike Ditka, Pitt ‘61, once said:
What you do in life by yourself doesn’t mean as much as what you accomplish with a group of people. Sigma Chi was one of the greatest things that happened to me. I really appreciate what it has done for me in my lifetime, and I hope I can continue to give something back.
We thank you in advance for “giving something back.”
Alpha Tau House Corporation
John Ruocchio ‘87
Zack Hamm ‘88
Matthew Davis ‘98
Chuck Osborne ‘87
Joel Miles ‘68
Johnny Sparrow ‘71
Ken Benson ‘88
Roy Alley ‘96
Mike Hourigan ‘13
If you want to donate, there are two ways. Mail a check to Alpha Tau House Corporation, PO Box 4422, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-4422 or click here to pay with credit/debit card