Alfred University News

Alfred University Sigma Chi Nu sisters raising funds to renovate sorority house

Alfred University alumnae sisters of Sigma Chi Nu are raising funds to renovate the sorority’s house on Sayles Street in Alfred. The fundraising effort comes as the sorority plans this year’s celebration marking its 100th anniversary.

The group aims to raise $50,000 to fund sewer, plumbing, and interior work at the house at 9 Sayles Street and repair the damage from years of groundwater infiltration in the basement. The house, which is owned by the University, had most recently been home to international students, but has been vacant since the start of the COVID pandemic three years ago. The funds raised will also be used to abate some mold damage caused by the house being unoccupied.

As of April 11, nearly 44 percent of the sisterhood’s fundraising goal, close to $22,000, had been raised from 64 individual gifts. The University, which will coordinate renovation work, has agreed to match gifts and share the cost of refurbishing the home and making it available to house students again.

In addition to the $50,000 goal needed to fund renovations, the group hopes to raise an additional $25,000 to create an endowed fund. According to a letter sent to Sigma Chi Nu sisters, the endowment will support “future maintenance and upkeep, ensuring our beloved home is a permanent part of the University’s landscape and a place for us to call home when we return for our reunions.”

The Sigma Chi Nu is historically significant to Alfred University, and this is not the first time the sisterhood has raised money to repair the sorority house.

On March 17, 1932, the original Sigma Chi Nu Sorority house at 9 Sayles Street caught fire during a varsity athletics dance on campus. When the call went out that the Sigma house was on fire, hundreds of men and women, most dressed in their formal attire, raced to the scene and began emptying the house of its contents to control the fire. Other sororities took the Sigma Chi Nu sisters in for shelter, and the task of rebuilding began.

A true testament to the founding sisters, they were able to raise funds and design and rebuild better than ever. The Sigma Chi Nu house became the first at Alfred University specifically designed and constructed to be Greek housing. Five months after that fateful day, the current home was re-opened for the sisters attending Alfred University in the fall of 1932.

In their letter to the Sigma Chi Nu sisters, organizers of the fundraiser cite the fire, and the sorority’s response to it, in appealing for support for the current effort. “To honor those women who came before us, who laid the foundation, principles, and values of our sisterhood, we can and must do this again.”

Sigma Chi Nu house with sisters in front
Sigma Chi Nu sisters during a visit to the house at 9 Sayles Street in Alfred.

Sigma Chi Nu sisters and Alfred University alumnae Amy Gaudet ’95 and Kara Mackey ’88, said it is important to maintain and preserve the house.

“How blessed we are as sisters, to have a bond that has transcended time and distance, in a place that helped us form lasting friendships, a house that evokes joyous memories, happiness, and the comfort that as long as we live, we will always have each other,” Mackey commented. “As long as we help preserve her, 9 Sayles Street will always be the place we can call home, gather and celebrate, and stand as a symbol of our love and altruism.”

“The house at 9 Sayles Street is not just a building, it houses the memories and bonds of 100 years of sisterhood,” Gaudet added. “When a Sigma sister steps through that door she knows she will find a friend willing to share a laugh, advice or a helping hand. We need to make sure her doors are always open to welcome sisters.”

To make a gift online, please use this link. To make a gift by check, donors should make it payable to Alfred University, note that the gift is for the Sigma Chi Nu 9 Sayles Street Renovation project, and mail to 1 Saxon Drive, Alfred, NY 14802, Attn: Erin Martinovich, vice president for Advancement.