A four-story building near the corner of High and Crown Streets is set to become a new center of religious life at Yale — not exactly a house of worship but a fraternity house.
Seven members of Yale’s second-newest fraternity, Beta Upsilon Chi (BYX), signed a lease last week for a property on 279 Crown St., where they will move this fall. The new BYX house, owned by property management company Pike International LLC, is proximate to three existing fraternity houses on High Street and between two sorority houses on Crown Street. Unlike other Greek organizations at Yale, however, BYX is centered on the Christian faith. Members regularly meet to worship and discuss their beliefs and values, BYX President Alex Green ’16 said. He added that because the BYX chapter at Yale maintains a smaller group, comprising roughly 20 students, the house will be used for small events that foster brotherhood rather than for large parties.
“At the present time, we don’t see ourselves ever being compared to or similar to other large fraternities on campus that throw large social events,” Green said. “That’s not our goal, first of all. And second of all, [the smaller size] is more comfortable for us. The smaller social events allow us to develop stronger and more personal relationships better.”
The 279 Crown property is currently used not as a residence but as a meeting space, and it does not have full bathrooms or bedrooms. Green said Pike International will be converting this space into a more livable housing unit over the summer by adding single bedrooms and bathrooms.
In addition to meetings, the new house on 279 Crown will also host date nights and may host mixers with other groups on campus, Green said. He added that one of the group’s goals is to work with the ministries on campus to increase engagement with New Haven through community service.
Green said that unlike BYX chapters at large universities in the south — such as Texas A&M, Oklahoma State University or University of Alabama — Yale’s chapter is small because religious culture on Yale’s campus is less prominent. At Yale, BYX has a smaller pool of people in Christian communities on campus from which to draw, said Green. Christian organizations on campus include Yale Faith and Action, Yale Students for Christ and Athletes in Action.
Since BYX started its chapter at Yale in the fall of 2012, the group has held meetings in Linsly-Chittenden Hall as well as the Afro- American Cultural Center and the Native American Cultural Center. Both Green and BYX member Travis Reginal ’16 said the house will allow the group to hold more frequent and informal events.
Although Yale’s BYX chapter is designed to strengthen its members’ Christian faith, the group is not limited to Christians. Still, Green said only those interested in growing their Christian faith choose to rush, given the high intensity and religious focus of the group’s activities.
Ethan Young ’18 said he considered joining BYX but ultimately decided against it because some of the ceremonial aspects of the organization, in addition to the concept of a closed society, do not fit the specific tenets of his Christian faith.
But, Young said, BYX is one of the few venues on campus for men to come together and discuss their Christianity. BYX also emphasizes respect for women and safety in consuming alcohol, values which are generally not associated with fraternities, Young said.
“I think a group of Christian guys who are gathering together to strengthen one another in their faith is a very rare thing,” Young said. “It’s definitely something that they can benefit from and that our community can benefit from.”
BYX currently has 35 active chapters across the country.