Sorority chapter houses come in many shapes and sizes. Some sorority houses are big, and some are small. Houses range widely in age, from decades old to a century or older, and as a result they come in many different architectural styles and materials of the eras in which they were built. Each sorority house has a unique history, yet they all share one trait in common: Under their roofs live a group of sorority sisters seeking to become better students, Greeks and citizens of their communities.
Living in a sorority house is an experience that is unique from other housing situations for undergraduate college students. Living in an off-campus apartment with a few tight-knit friends can offer a bit more quiet and freedom. Dorms offer a sense of community and immersion in campus life. Yet neither can offer the joy of living with your sisters and working toward the common goal of bettering your chapter and yourselves at the same time.
While it may seem from an outside perspective that sorority house living is all fun and games and parties, the reality is that a big part of living in the house is attending chapter meetings and study hours, completing house chores and working toward other chapter-related goals. There are also house regulations in place that sisters must adhere to, both general chapter rules and safety regulations. There are sisters who are in executive posts and must act as chapter house managers. There are other sisters who must work together with these executive officers to make living in the house run as smoothly as possible for everyone.
With so many elements involved and so many sisters living in one place, it can easily leave one wondering, “How Can I Be a Good Sorority Housemate?” Yet this question is not without answers, and solving this dilemma can help foster a sense of camaraderie and harmony among sisters. Certainly, these answers are worth pursuing, for a successful chapter must always make sure its house is in order first and foremost.
A sorority chapter’s executive officers play a crucial role in managing their sorority house, which comes with a unique set of challenges. While a resident assistant in a dormitory will act as a “house manager” and enforce certain guidelines and rules, as well as foster community among residents, sorority officers must also ensure sisters have strong academics by attending study hours, fostering higher chapter values of sisterhood and encouraging sisters to work toward a strong chapter each and every day. A sorority executive officer is never truly off the clock.
The sorority chapter president in particular, along with the vice president, risk management chair and house manager or house mother, must act in a managerial capacity. The top executive posts and house manager must enforce house rules. They must ensure sisters are informed about safety regulations and procedures, help mediate disagreements among housemates, oversee chapter activities and coordinate with officials for payments and regular inspections. Meanwhile, a risk management chair must coordinate with other executive officers to prevent underage drinking, hazing or otherwise risky behavior by sisters both generally and as it pertains to the chapter house.
A house manager or house mother may play a role in things like managing the kitchen staff and menu, communicating with parents, sorority advisors and university officials, as well as helping sisters in their personal, academic and sorority lives.
Executive officers must also model the behaviors they’d like to see in sisters. They must foster good will and follow the rules, too. This is an important aspect of the mutual respect between executives and non-chair-holding sisters. The golden rule is to do to others as you would have them do to you. If you approach being a good sorority housemate with this in mind, you’ll see that your sisterhood is worth its weight in gold.
For those who aren’t acting as managers of a sorority house, those who do not enforce the rules but who must follow them, being a sorority housemate is not always easy. One of your main tasks as a housemate is to learn and follow all house rules. Your chapter should be briefing you on these rules and address any questions or concerns you have. Some of these rules may include set visitors’ hours and quiet hours, rules against drinking alcohol, for attending study hours and chapter-related meetings, regarding cleanliness, avoiding open flames such as candles, participating in fire drills and more.
Being a good sorority housemate means that a sister must follow all these rules, but also that she must adhere to the unwritten sorority house rules. These unwritten rules are not a secret code that is set up to make a sister fail, but rather they are simply the basics of decency. This means that for situations not directly addressed by house regulations, a sister should seek guidance and strength from her sorority’s core values and morals.
If, for example, a sister has a complaint about a roommate playing her music too loudly when she’s trying to do her homework, the two sisters involved should try to facilitate a compromise from mutual respect. They might for instance set certain days of the week when music is less intrusive to study habits than others.
Whether rules are written or unwritten, sisters can become good sorority housemates simply by seeking to support each other and hold each other up in times of struggle or need, as well as encouraging each other’s successes and better selves.
Executive officers and sisters in general all play a role in how their chapter house either thrives or falls apart. Being a good housemate is central to a healthy and happy sisterhood. OmegaFi understands the importance of having your house in order. We believe that sorority finances and budgeting can play a huge role in whether a chapter is successful in this regard. We’d love to talk more with you about how OmegaFi can help.