In sharp contrast to their brothers in Toronto, the men of the British Columbia chapter sailed into the “crisis era” of fraternities holding all the trump cards.
The result was that, while other chapters on the campus floundered or even closed, the Beta house triumphantly stayed open and remained strong.
This is not to suggest that the brothers of Gamma Omicron were immune to the trends of the times — far from it.
Because they approached these changes from a position of strength, they were affected far less than others.
The effect of radical thinking was to bring out new displays of strength in what never stopped being a very strong chapter.
The first and most important strength of Gamma
Omicron during these years of crisis in the Greek system was the house.
The chapter had the benefit of a new house in an ideal spot in the middle of Fraternity Row, something.
The undergraduate chapter voted, late in 1961,
to cancel the annual formal dinner dance and put the $1,000 earmarked for it into the house fund, provided that alumni donations at least doubled that amount.
This was not a problem. The General Fraternity provided additional financing, and construction began in the spring of 1962.
An extensive addition was built, bringing the house up to its final size. This provided for additional living space.
The older parts were thoroughly renovated.
The crown jewel of the project was the construction of the “Dr. Gordon Burke Memorial Room,” with a Japanese garden outside its windows, to serve as a chapter hall.
This extensive job wasn’t done overnight, of course.
Most of the structural work was completed by mid-1963. Interior work and decorating continued into 1964.
Vast amounts of paint were used to achieve a colour match between the older part of the house and the new addition, both inside and out.
The “Beta matchbox” looked better than it ever had.
Other kinds of paint were splashed around too, in a manner of speaking.
In the fall of 1962, the chapter appointed George Peter, British Columbia ’64, to choose paintings to be bought for the house.
Evidently Brother Peter’s choices were not to everyone’s taste.
At a later meeting, a motion was passed calling for future painting purchases to be of a more traditional character!
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