My old house: 222 Lowes St.
My Old House: A green and pink home on Lowes signals sisters for life as the AKA sorority celebrates 50 years on the Univerity of Dayton campus.
In 1970, a group of women created a home for mentorship and inclusivity on the University of Dayton campus. Generations of students later, the famous pink and green of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. live on, its letters hanging above the two front windows at 222 Lowes St.
The sorority’s Epsilon Chi chapter — which includes students from UD and Wright State University — has existed a half-century. Membership numbers have ebbed and flowed over the years, necessitating the occasional move of the chapter’s physical address.
The first house was on Kiefaber Street in the 1970s and ’80s. AKA then moved to 411 Stonemill Road.
Shaylynn Hespeth ’19 said she worked to help secure its current location.
“Sustaining generational wealth within your campus community was what that house meant to me,” Hespeth said.
“Sustaining generational wealth within your campus community was what that house meant to me.”
The one-story home has green siding and large pink letters. Its long, narrow porch leads to the front door. The inside — with two bedrooms, one bathroom and a narrow kitchen — practically forces intimacy and sisterhood.
One of Hespeth’s favorite memories involved a sleepover that tested the physical bounds of the house.
“The capacity of the house was 30, and there were easily about 25 of us in this house trying to sleep, eat and have a good time,” said Hespeth, who remembers more than one request to “please get your foot off of my neck.”
Hespeth spent her junior year living with Emma White ’19 and Dawnn Fann ’19, and her senior year with Jordyn Mitchell ’20. The housemates often welcomed AKA members from both UD and WSU.
The house was supposed to be a focal point of the African American sorority chapter’s 50th anniversary celebration Nov. 22, 2020. The event was instead moved to Zoom, but it still allowed generations of sisters to interact.
“It was a huge opportunity for people to just share the history, the arts, the sadness, the beauty of [the chapter] with each other,” Hespeth said. “For 50 years, there have been enough Black women to sustain this organization. We have to celebrate that.”
“For 50 years, there have been enough Black women to sustain this organization. We have to celebrate that.”
Hespeth said she is grateful for the house that shaped her — and will continue to shape future AKA members.
“Houses are important to families for a reason, and it serves its purpose for us,” Hespeth said. “We are sisters for life.”
Year built: 1863
Year bought by UD: 2004
Total square feet: 872
Tour past houses: udayton.edu/magazine/my-old-house.php /
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