Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Fraternity of One To Maintain Recognition

Last active U. Nebraska fraternity member lives in house alone
Daily Nebraskan
University of Nebraska

By Ryan Boetel

Seven tables capable of seating 50 were pushed together and cleaned off Wednesday night, as Zach Thiemann, the last remaining active member of the Acacia fraternity at the University of Nebraska, got ready for his solo dinner. Thiemann, a senior civil engineering major, has decided to finish his college career inside the walls of the fraternity. The rest of his fraternity brothers left when Acacia's headquarters had the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's chapter all but closed in hopes of "rebuilding" it.

"There are pluses and minuses," Thiemann said about living in the house all by himself. "Sometimes I hear noises late at night."

However, Thiemann isn't entirely alone in the red brick house off of 23rd and Vine streets. Christian Wilson, a 2004 Acacia and UNL graduate, has taken over as house-parent, cook and cleaner."It's a full-time job," Wilson said while preparing pasta for Thiemann.

The absence of members hasn't been easy on Thiemann, who has been forced to take up all fraternity responsibilities to keep the fraternity an active chapter in UNL's greek system.

"I go to the president's council meetings and still keep in contact with greek affairs," Thiemann said. "I don't want the fraternity to have to re-charter to get back on campus."

Despite having a mansion all to himself, Thiemann said he hasn't been living like a king."I just stay in my room," he said. "The other wings of the house are just there. I joke about living in a different room every day, but it's just for fun.

"Thiemann said Acacia's national headquarters have been doing most of the recruiting for next year. Thiemann is going to graduate in May and head for an internship in Houston before going to grad school somewhere other than Nebraska.

"I'm still going to stay in contact with this place," he said.Wilson, on the other hand, said he plans to stay in the fraternity for a while longer to help out with recruiting.

"I want to see this place filled with 50 guys like it used to be," he said. "I'm getting a little too old to be rushing 18-year-old guys, but I'll do what I can."

Thiemann said he would always remember what it was like living in a fraternity house all by himself.

"I'll have more memories of what this house was like when we all lived here together," he said.