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Schools with "harsh" fraternity and/or sorority systems or those with disagreeable practices

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Replies to: Schools with "harsh" fraternity and/or sorority systems or those with disagreeable practices

  • EllieMomEllieMom 1872 replies11 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    There is at least one sorority at my school that requires all women who live in the house to not exit until they put makeup on. Doesn't matter if the person is going to work out, about to pull an all nighter in the library, or just doesn't feel like putting it on.

    I've heard tell of rules like that, too. My daughter doesn't usually wear makeup and has been known to study at the library in a messy bun and pajama pants. So she wouldn't do well with rules like that. Her sorority does have some dress-code type rules that apply when they're wearing their pins or going to chapter meetings and the like. And other rules about conduct when they are wearing "letters" in public.

    Those kind of rules tend to come down from "national" and don't necessarily reflect the current members' POV or sensibility. For example, there was a recent brouhaha about a girl (not at my daughter's school) who was disciplined for wearing her sorority t-shirt and cut-off shorts in her Tinder profile picture. I think it had more to do about their letters being on what the older generation considered a "hook up" app than it did about the appearance of the girl herself.
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  • PizzagirlPizzagirl 40174 replies320 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Nothing wrong with keeping it classy!
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  • maya54maya54 2136 replies88 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    While I understand the seeming appeal of delayed or second semester rush even that can be quite problematic. Many girls I know hated second semester rush I because their friend groups that they worked her to form we're broken up because the girls going to different sororities. My daughter found that first semester rush a few weeks into school was what she really liked more than her friends who had to deal with second semester rush
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  • maya54maya54 2136 replies88 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    I definitely agree with @Pizzagirl that is a bad sign when the rush culture is over the top with respect to hair and make up prep. However my daughter found it significantly stress reducing to have planned out each outfit well in advance. She actually went to school with outfits for each round hung togetheher on special colored hangers. I have recommended this method to several friends since we adopted it and they have all said they were grateful for one less thing for their girls to worry about during rush

    These clothes were not expensive just ones she felt that she looked and felt good in. she reported that she got tons and tons of compliments at every house on one particular outfit that she put together from Target.
    edited April 2016
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12870 replies241 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Re the schedule deega posted:

    You can't have it both ways. You can't complain that the system promotes "superficial" AND at the same time complain that there is too much time being spent at the houses.

    That schedule was 20 minutes in a whole bunch of different houses. IDK how many girls at each gathering but it seems like any judgement made is probably going to be fairly superficial in that system.
    What kind of "makeup" specifically?

    Is there a makeup requirement that would be OK and one that would not?
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  • PizzagirlPizzagirl 40174 replies320 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I don't see anything wrong with saying - hey, if you're going to wear your letters, look at least somewhat presentable (we all got quite grubby and unkempt during reading week and finals week!). But a "requirement" to wear makeup seems over the top to me.

    A PNM might meet 4 or 5 girls during those 20 minutes and the conversations are explicitly structured to try to get to know them better - that's the goal. That's pretty much the same as what you might get if you went and had dinner with girls in your dorm, and you are all certainly capable of forming impressions based on those things. I've formed opinions of people based on way less than 20 solid minutes of conversation!
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12870 replies241 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    A PNM might meet 4 or 5 girls during those 20 minutes and the conversations are explicitly structured to try to get to know them better - that's the goal. That's pretty much the same as what you might get if you went and had dinner with girls in your dorm, and you are all certainly capable of forming impressions based on those things.

    Most dinners don't last 20 minutes (nor do they happen 10+ times a day all in a row) and they don't determine membership in a specific social club for four years. I don't think the comparison is apt at all.

    I form impressions of everything in seconds, minutes, hours. That doesn't mean my initial impressions about people don't change or deepen given more time and experience.
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  • deega123deega123 643 replies46 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited April 2016
    No one has said that recruitment is a perfect system. But based on the amount of girls that go through and the number of places they have to visit, this system works. Many PNMs already know girls in some houses and the houses work hard before parties to match sisters to chat with PNMs. So, it isn't like there are 2000 girls wandering in and out of the worst cocktail parties of their life.
    edited April 2016
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12870 replies241 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    So, it isn't like there are 2000 girls wandering in and out of the worst cocktail parties of their life.

    That made me laugh out loud @deega123
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  • PragmaticMomPragmaticMom 361 replies6 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited April 2016
    How much are typical membership dues (assuming they exist)? Including dues, activities and discretionary spending on clothes...etc., what much should you budget to stay active in the sorority per year?

    Also, are there savings to be had if you live in a sorority house vs. university housing vs. dorm? Or is it actually more expensive?
    edited April 2016
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  • PizzagirlPizzagirl 40174 replies320 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    OHmom - the other point is that it's not just "hi, I'm Suzie Sorority," "hi, I'm Pamela PNM." (Silence) If there is a rec system (even though not mandatory), if you know Pamela PNM is from Philadelphia and likes pottery, then Suzie ensures her sister Polly who is also from Philly and likes pottery talks to Pamela. So you can quickly establish common ground. Even knowing the dorm that a girl is in helps establish common ground ("oh, I used to live there last year; how do you like it so far?").

    These are just basic gracious social skills, very useful in life. I am not a great fan of small talk and I'm an introvert but I can pull it off convincingly and it serves me well in both business and personal situations.

    I can think of 3 major life decisions that you make based off relatively short interactions:

    1) Job interviews / moves - you might talk to (say) 6 people for 45 minutes apiece.

    2) College campuses - you may spend hours touring a campus and getting a feel for what the student body is like, but you're generally not *really* having "deep" conversations with other students, beyond general pleasantries

    3) Roommates - for example, my 23 yo d's roommate is moving out and subletting to another girl; the roommate brought in 2 potential roommate candidates, my D had to pick between them; she probably had no more than 10 - 15 minutes of chit-chat as they were looking at the apartment, but she was able to determine which one she clicked with better.

    You get feels, impressions, intuitions about people. Some of it is very conscious based on the conversation, etc. Some of it is subconscious - how they put themselves together, etc.. Like the rest of life. This just isn't all that different in that regard.
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  • EllieMomEllieMom 1872 replies11 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @PragmaticMom That really varies not just from campus-to-campus but from house-to-house on the same campus. It's not costing us (mom and dad EM) much because D is paying her dues and fees pretty much out of her own pocket. And because the sorority is housed on a dorm floor, there are neither savings nor additional expenses associated with room and board.

    Her clothes needs are also basically the same as they would be if she hadn't joined. There's a lot of clothes swapping that goes on in advance of formals and date night functions, so she didn't have to go out and buy a bunch of impractical dresses. And, even then, the clothes she's purchased aren't expensive—she's going to a dance tonight in a dress that cost less than $20. :) She did end up buying some chapter clothes that are a step-up from the leggings and sweaters that she usually wears to class. But I think it's probably money well spent because it should give her some "grown up clothes" to wear to meetings, interviews, and work in the future.

    We did buy her sorority pin for her as a present. We all agreed it was overpriced and sort of ugly. But it was a one-time expense, so we didn't complain.

    That's been our experience. But I'd like to hear about others', as well.
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  • MamaBear16MamaBear16 1103 replies13 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    That schedule was 20 minutes in a whole bunch of different houses. IDK how many girls at each gathering but it seems like any judgement made is probably going to be fairly superficial in that system.

    Having been involved in Rush on both sides (as a rushee and as a sorority member meeting prospective members), I would have to agree with this. The process is very rushed and it leads to decisions based on looks, how well a person does at "small talk" and other snap judgments. Sometimes it takes a while to realize that a person you meet is special, amazing, someone you would want as a friend. I found that rush didn't favor those girls.

    Also, as a member, I was always uncomfortable with the exclusivity of the system. I joined as a sophomore, after spending a year as an indy and seeing how much I was missing out on. I had fun and made a few lifetime friends through my sorority, so I can see both good and bad in the system.

    If it's your kid who is the one who doesn't get into any group I can only imagine how bad it would feel. And then, when many of them move into the house or section, that kid is left behind. Yes, I did have non-Greek friends as well, but it took a greater effort to maintain those relationships. I wouldn't want to be that kid on the outside looking in.

    Personally, I am thankful that my D specifically chose a college with no Greek system. She wasn't comfortable with the exclusivity of these orgs and didn't want that vibe on her campus.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22949 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    "How much are typical membership dues "

    Impossible to answer.

    I have one daughter who does not live in her 'house', which is actually university housing and the rent is paid to the university and billed on your semester bill. The cost is the same as for a single bedroom/bath at a traditional dorm, maybe a little less and is not the cheapest housing available nor the most expensive. Only 12 members live in the 'house' which is really a former apartment building the college bought and converted into greek housing, with 2 apartments housing 5 girls and one apartment with 2 bedrooms and a meeting room. They are pretty nice, have kitchens and washer/dryer in each apartment. Each Greek house has one vertical section of this village, and there are some apartments rented to non-greeks. Those members who don't live in the greek village pay about $400/sem for national and local dues, a parlor fee for the space at the house that is for meetings, and a few misc. fees. Since it was an apartment complex, there is a clubhouse, a pool, a volleyball court, bbq set up, etc. Very nice. Daughter didn't want to live there so didn't. One big advantage is if you live in Greek housing, you do not need to buy a meal plan. Plans are pretty expensive at that school, so it's a big savings. One disadvantage is that the complex is several miles from the school. Most students have cars and there is a shuttle bus to campus.

    My other daughter lives in her sorority house, which is owned by her college but managed by the chapter. It is what you'd think of as a traditional sorority house with large common rooms downstairs (a piano and everything) and 2-3 and 4 bed rooms upstairs with shared bathrooms. Her entire bill, which includes room, board, dues, house maintenance fees, and misc. things, is about $4200/sem, which is cheaper than the room and board at the dorms but probably a little more than sharing and apartment and cooking for herself might be. Her house is right on campus (closer to the classrooms than the dorms) so there is a big convenience factor. She pays the sorority the entire bill, and the sorority employs the cooks, house keepers, house mother, etc.

    Some of the big schools in the south can be $6000 for the first semester (includes board but not rooms). At very small schools fees may only be a few hundred.
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  • 2019hope2019hope 201 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @PragmaticMom I got the following info from Univ of Alabama's Panhellenic website. It's the most expensive I've heard of by a large margin. I'd be interested to know of other universities with similar costs for sororities:

    Living In-House Fees (per semester): *Includes room, chapter meal plan, chapter fees, and national fees

    High: $6,500.00

    Average: $5,934.00



    Living Out-of-House Fees (per semester): *Includes chapter meal plan, chapter fees, and national fees

    High: $4,500.00

    Average: $3,300.25



    New Member (first year, typically semester pledged): *Includes one time fees associated with pledging and initiation

    High: $950.00

    Average: $472.00
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  • EllieMomEllieMom 1872 replies11 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    Having been involved in Rush on both sides (as a rushee and as a sorority member meeting prospective members), I would have to agree with this. The process is very rushed and it leads to decisions based on looks, how well a person does at "small talk" and other snap judgments. Sometimes it takes a while to realize that a person you meet is special, amazing, someone you would want as a friend. I found that rush didn't favor those girls.

    Rush IS hard for a lot of kids. I know it wasn't easy for my daughter, especially given her communication challenges. And it was even harder for some of her friends. I do wish there was a better and kinder way to figure out how to match PNMs and houses. I thought the more casual IFC approach was better than the "cocktail party from Hades" that sororities use until I started hearing stories like the ones on the other thread.
    edited April 2016
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  • PizzagirlPizzagirl 40174 replies320 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Those seem waaaaay high to me, but they are supporting large plantation style homes. In my system, living in a house is pretty much the same as living in a dorm - even a bit cheaper given some of the newer, fancier dorms.

    This is SO school-specific there is really no norm or average that is meaningful.
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  • gettingschooledgettingschooled 1917 replies34 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The Alabama numbers have food in them too. You'd have to compare to the dorms plus a meal plan.

    Back in my day, the house was cheaper than the most expensive dorm plus meal plan and we were in one of those plantation style houses (Texas A&M). It saved me money but cost others more- depended on the dorm you came from. No idea what it is like now.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22949 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The room and board dorm charges for my two kids were very different. The were both in college towns with fairly low cost of living, but for one it was about $8500 and the other was $13,500. There were some differences in their dorm rooms and food plans, but not, IMO, $5000 better at the one school. In the end, it is dorm food and a place to sleep.

    I think it is better to compare the cost of room and board in the dorm at that same school than to compare the cost of a sorority at an LAC in Virginia to one at FSU. It is often about the same to live in a house as the dorm.
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  • beth's mombeth's mom 3256 replies110 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Living In-House Fees (per semester): *Includes room, chapter meal plan, chapter fees, and national fees

    High: $6,500.00

    Average: $5,934.00



    Living Out-of-House Fees (per semester): *Includes chapter meal plan, chapter fees, and national fees

    High: $4,500.00

    Average: $3,300.25

    Those fees sound really high, especially the high-end ones, which are probably for chapters in the huge, new, expensive houses, but they include a meal plan (the meal plan that all freshmen are required to have is $1715 a semester, and sorority members will not be paying that), and the live-in fees obviously include housing.
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