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Sunday April 11th

St. Anthony Hall provides a home for campus artists

<p>St. Anthony Hall began as UNC’s first co-ed social fraternity to admit an African-American member.&nbsp;</p>
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St. Anthony Hall began as UNC’s first co-ed social fraternity to admit an African-American member. 

The Xi Chapter of St. Anthony Hall, the co-ed literary fraternity, was established at UNC over 150 years ago.

Matthew Hardin, a senior English and philosophy major and the Xi Chapter’s current president, said the fraternity is known for being artsy and inclusive.

Hardin said he considered rushing a more traditional fraternity as a first-year but didn’t feel like he fit in.

“I thought I was going to be a frat star when I came to UNC,” he said, chuckling.

He said that during his first semester, he decided he would rush that spring. But by the time second semester came around, he had already found “the Hall.”

During his first semester, Hardin’s twin brother joined Alpha Chi Sigma, the honors chemistry fraternity.

“I saw how helpful it was,” he said. “And how happy he was having a group of people who he could talk to and explore his interests with and to have a really close-knit friend group.”

After that, Hardin decided to look for an English honors fraternity. There was not one at the time, and he was eventually led to St. Anthony Hall — or as members call it, “the Hall.”

According to University Archivist Nick Graham, the Xi Chapter of St. Anthony Hall was introduced at UNC in 1857. The fraternity was inactive when the University closed during the Civil War, but it was reinstated on campus in 1926.

Graham said that in 1971, St. Anthony Hall became UNC’s first co-ed social fraternity. The fraternity has some other notable firsts as well.

“They were the first social fraternity at UNC to admit an African-American member,” Graham said, referring to Charles Scott, who joined in 1967.

Currently, there are about 25 members in the fraternity, according to Hardin. They have a house located across from little frat court on Pittsboro Street, where eight members can live.

Rebecca Price, a junior political science major, is currently living in the house. She joined last fall because she was looking for an opportunity to be artistic in college without majoring in the arts.

“I had been really involved in the arts in high school but kind of got away from that my first year of college and was kind of looking for some extra motivation,” Price said.

But Price said she found much more in St. Anthony Hall.

“I was expecting it to be more like a club but it’s really become like my friend group and the people I hang out with on the weekends,” she said. “I did find what I was looking for too. I’ve kind of been more encouraged to do more creatively, especially with other people.”

According to Hardin, members of the fraternity are involved with social justice on campus — something that isn’t typically seen in fraternities, he said. Two members are working closely with the UNC Men’s project, which was established to create a healthy example of masculinity on a college campus.

“We try to encourage each other to be more active and to speak out more,” he said. “The environment we have here is really conducive of that.”

The fraternity holds rush each semester. They create a Facebook group with their rush calendar, where they host seven to nine events that all have different themes and activities, including Haiku Kung-Fu and Dirty Hippie Art Night.

Hardin said his favorite rush event is called Poetry, Prose and Pancakes.

“It’s an event that happens on a Sunday at noon,” Hardin said, “and we provide breakfast and a place for people to read poetry, and sing, and read prose. Sort of like an open mic, but for more like literary things.”

Price agreed, saying that she believes the event is a favorite of many Hall members.

“It’s definitely a little bit hard to integrate at first when you come into a place or you don’t really know anybody, and it was just a really fun ice breaker sort of thing, and being able to see people bring things that they’re passionate about.”


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