National Pan-Hellenic Council Plaza to open in November
The new National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) plaza located near Scripps Amphitheater on College Green is nearing completion and will honor historically African American fraternities.
Story by Samantha Pelham, Photos by Ben Siegel | September 22, 2022
The new National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) plaza located near Scripps Amphitheater on College Green is nearing completion and will honor the historically African American fraternities and sororities which have had a presence on campus for more than 100 years.
The plaza, which is set to be completed in November, features the names and information about each of the fraternities and sororities part of the NPHC on brick pillars.
During this past weekend’s Black Alumni Reunion (BAR), alumni caught a glimpse of the work being done to create the plaza that celebrates and raises awareness of the Council on OHIO’s campus. Depicted on the fence surrounding the plaza were renderings of what the finished plaza will look like, including how on the outside of the plaza it will say “National Pan-Hellenic Council Plaza.” Alumni were also brought into the plaza to see the progress and were able to take photos next to signs of their respective fraternities and sororities.
The goal of the plaza is to increase visibility of the NPHC organizations on campus and show the University's dedication and continued support of the NPHC organizations that have been a fixture at OHIO for nearly 90 years. It provides not only a public representation of NPHC organizations, but also a "home" for students and alumni to gather. The NPHC Plaza will provide wonderful opportunity for the community to learn about these organizations.
The circular design of the Plaza is to celebrate the Divine 9; the nine organizations which create the National Pan-Hellenic Council. The design's intent is to create unity by providing an uplifting space and promote a greater awareness of the council in the community. The destination of the plaza was selected to orient the plaza toward both College Green and Cutler Hall.
“OHIO’s Facilities and Student Affairs team thought it was important to intertwine the history of the campus and the organizations, while providing a safe space for ceremonies, small gatherings, and study spaces for the OHIO community, both current and alumni,” Char Kopchick, executive director of the Campus Involvement Center, said.
According to Trent DeBruin, Architect with VSWC Architects, each organization is represented by a brick pillar resting on a solid wall, intending to show the solidarity and strength of all nine organizations uniting as one, yet each organization rising individually and sharing their specific values.
“The base of each pillar connects to a triangle that represents the plot of each organization,” DeBruin said. “The triangular shape of the plots encourages the members to direct their efforts outward, and as you approach the plaza, the convex shape of the center wall intends to speak out to the community. On the opposite side, the nine pillars are prominent, resting on a concave wall, redirecting the focus to the center of the space.”
DeBruin also explains that the use of curved walls of varying thicknesses and heights, along with the incorporated shapes of the walking surface help capture the dynamics, movement, life, and growth of every individual of the organizations.
A groundbreaking of the plaza took place in May this year, inviting students part of the NPHC to be the first to see the area and renderings of what the future space would look like.