Campus leadership and various National Pan-Hellenic Council members broke ground on the future location of the NPHC Greek Garden Saturday morning.
The garden will be located near the new residential hall by the Northgate housing complex and Crosby Hall.
Brandi Hephner Labanc, vice chancellor of student affairs, said the ground-breaking is a historic moment in University and NPHC history on campus.
Although eight of the “Divine Nine” historically African-American sororities and fraternities currently have chapters on campus – the ninth sorority will join campus in the fall of 2016 – the garden will be the first area on campus designated as NPHC campus property.
“It will fully represent our fraternity and sorority life on campus,” Hephner Labanc said.
Hephner Labanc said the garden will be a tribute to diversity as well as to current members and alumni.
Fraternity and sorority leaders, past and current, joined in turning the soil. Special shovels were decorated in Greek colors and letters for the occasion.
“It will be a beacon for prospective students to know that they are welcome,” Hephner Labanc said.
Assistant to the Chancellor Concerning Minority Affairs Donald Cole said the importance of sisterhood and brotherhood that the organizations try to promote will be felt on campus through the garden.
Cole said historically black colleges are often known for their student gardens. He said the plans have taken time, listening and reflection to bring something to action, but will be here for generations to come.
“We asked to be recognized, in a very small way, to be recognized so that individuals who are yet unborn can pass this way and know that we love this institution and this institution loves us,” Cole said.