Wondering what it would be like to live in a sorority house during your college years? In this post, I’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about sorority housing.
College life will leave you with numerous great memories that you will cherish forever. During these exciting years, you have the opportunity to join a sorority and be a part of a close social circle that is made up of other college girls just like you.
As a sorority member, you may have the choice or requirement to live in a sorority house. What is it like to live in a sorority house? How much will it cost you? What are the pros and cons? You will find the answers to these and some other important questions regarding the topic in the following lines.
To live in a sorority house generally need to be with a full-time student status and a member of the sorority. Additionally, some sororities require you to maintain a certain GPA on campus. You must also participate in various events and activities that are organized by the sorority. One of the main things is the house rules. Living in a sorority house comes with financial responsibilities, such as paying rent, meal plans, and other expenses. You need to be aware of these costs before committing to living in a sorority house.
Everything You Need To Know About Sorority Housing
What Is a Sorority House?
A large house where members of a sorority can reside and meet during their college years. Most often these buildings also called Greek houses are located on or near the campus and serve not only for communal living but also as a venue for social events and activities.
Women’s fraternities aka sororities are organizations that aim to foster camaraderie and a sense of belonging among young college women. One way to make this happen is by allowing them to spend more time together under one roof.
Therefore, it wasn’t long after their emergence that these organizations began building houses for their sisters (sorority members), where they could reside and strengthen their relationships. It is believed that the first sorority house was built by the women’s fraternity Alpha Phi at Syracuse University in 1886.
Nowadays, there are thousands of such houses located on the campuses of various US colleges belonging to different sororities. They can usually be recognized by the large Greek letters or flags on the facade of the building.
How Many Girls Can Live in a Sorority House?
The size and capacity of each sorority house vary, but according to different sources, the number of girls who can live in a single sorority house ranges between 10 and 100.
If we take the information provided to us in this article as an example, we will see that the Chi Omega house at the University of Kansas has the largest capacity of 86 sisters living under its roof. In the other 49 sorority houses shown, the most common number is between 40 and 70 girls.
Most of these houses cost millions and are quite impressive in terms of size. Most often they have dozens of bedrooms, multiple bathrooms, a large dining room, a commercial kitchen, and a study room.
How Much Does It Cost on Average to Live in a Sorority House?
If you choose to live in a sorority house during your college years, you should expect prices in the range of $2,000 to $8,000 per semester. In most cases, this includes a meal plan, maintenance, and any local chapter fees.
Living in a sorority house could be less expensive than in a dorm, but there are also exceptions. In some cases, you can be a sorority member but not be required to live in the chapter house, then your dues are significantly less.
For instance, on this page for the academic year 2022-2023, the University of Arkansas gives the average cost for members of Alpha Chi Omega who live in a sonority house ($10,458.86) and for those who do not ($2,960.04). As you can see the difference comes to almost 5 times.
What Rules Are There in a Sorority House? Why Do Sorority Houses Have Strict Rules?
In addition to paying your dues, you must also follow certain strict rules to maintain your membership in a women’s fraternity. The same applies when living in a sorority house.
The rules may differ, but here are some of the more common ones among the Greek-letter organizations:
- Alcohol is not allowed in the house
- No illegal substances
- House duties must be done
- You must pay your dues
- You must attend the mandatory events
- No male guests between certain hours
- There are restrictions on social media
- You must maintain a good GPA
- Sororities are not allowed to throw parties in their own houses
Who Owns Sorority Houses?
Most often there are two options. Either the house is owned by some corporation of local alumnae who are also sorority members or the building belongs to the host college and it leases it to the chapter.
Another interesting thing to note is that there are specific tax laws relating to Greek housing. According to the information from this article, most fraternities and sororities are classified as tax-exempt social clubs.
This means that these organizations are exempt from paying federal income tax on business-related income. Therefore, if a sorority owns some property, it can manage it and skip paying federal income tax on rent or interest.
Requirements to Live in Sorority House / How Do Sororities Choose Who Lives in the House?
The requirements to live in a sorority house are different for each chapter on each campus. However, it mainly depends on how many girls can the house accommodate. If the spots are limited, then most often selection comes down to a first come first serve basis, year in college, or even a point system.
If it’s decided by a point system, then most of the time you will get points by going to events, completing study hours, taking initiative, and so on.
Furthermore, some sororities provide accommodation for all their members. However, in such cases, the sisters may be required to spend at least a year or two living in a Greek house.
How Are Cleaning/ House Maintenance Responsibilities Delegated in Sororities?
In each sorority house, there is usually a House Manager who is responsible for the cleanliness and good appearance of the facility. To meet the standards imposed, the House Manager sets a cleaning schedule that assigns chores to various members of the organization at random or in a pre-determined cycle.
Here are some of the house duties that sisters must do daily or weekly:
- Clean the dishes in the kitchen after every lunch/dinner
- Emptying trash cans
- Sweeping and mopping the floor
- Dusting shelves
- Cleaning windows
- Preparing and cooking meals
- Restock kitchen and bathrooms
Are Guys Allowed in Sorority Houses?
Almost all sororities have hours for men to visit. However, they have to stay on the first floor where the dining and living rooms are. Sleeping areas are generally restricted from male visitors and they are not allowed to sleep over at sorority houses.
The reasons for this are both to ensure better safety for the residents of the sorority house, as well as historical. At one point in time, prostitutes attempted to bring their profession to college towns which were back then primarily male-dominated.
Prostitutes enrolled as college students, attended classes, and registered the buildings in which they lived as sorority houses. Nevertheless, in reality, these houses were nothing more than secret brothels.
Loud parties involving a lot of alcohol were typical in these houses. For this reason, legitimate sororities forbade alcohol and parties on the premises of their chapter houses, and men weren’t allowed to visit after certain hours anymore.
Over time brothels on college campuses have been eradicated thanks to stricter laws, yet most of the rules in legitimate sorority houses remain to this day.
Are Sorority Houses Cheaper Than Dorms?
With some exceptions, living in a sorority house is cheaper than living in a dormitory. Price largely depends on factors such as the sorority you’re in, the college you’re at, what kind of house you live in, and how many sisters you share a room with.
What’s more, many girls save a significant amount of money thanks to their meals and snacks being covered by their sorority dues. Furthermore, most Greek houses also have large kitchens where meals can be prepared. As you know, there are still quite a few dorms in the US that don’t even have a communal kitchen.
Meals you make yourself will almost always be tastier, healthier, and cheaper than buying prepared food or ordering in. This is one of the factors why living in a sorority house is cheaper than living in a dorm.
Sorority Rules About Social Media
As a community and an organization, it is perfectly normal for sororities to have requirements for the people who join them. One of the things they check while recruiting is your profiles on various social media platforms.
Some of the things they wouldn’t like and may end up rejecting your membership application are:
- Photos that contain vulgar or indecent content
- Pictures of you drinking or smoking
- Flipping off the camera
- Following inappropriate pages or profiles
- Writing offensive comments