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A Sorority Chapter President’s Take on Why Membership Expectations Matter

All sororities have bylaws and procedures but do all collegians or potential new members understand why? When you join a sorority there is an agreement between you and your chapter that you’ll abide by the standards they have set in place so that a positive representation is upheld for you and the organization. Every expectation set before you was voted on by a group of women in your chapter, Panhellenic leadership, or national organization who created the rule with the hope that it would elevate you and your success in the chapter and beyond. As a member, I’ve been confused or even frustrated with membership expectations because I lacked an understanding of why they were designed. As Chapter President I’ve enforced the same bylaws but with an understanding that I was leading an organization of successful women because of it. Read along as I break down an explanation of why a few expectations are put into place. 

Time: Why Time is Needed

I won’t deny that a sorority does ask for a lot of its members' time. In this week's podcast, guest Bailie argued that sorority women are some of the busiest people. I want to back this up and add that, the more time spent in the community, the greater the reward. I wouldn’t have the friendships that I have today if it wasn’t for all of the time we’ve spent together. It has been researched that it takes 200 hours together to create a close friend, what easier way than attending every sorority event on the calendar? This feels like an appropriate place to use the phrase “you get out what you put in”, the more time you give to your chapter the more you’ll leave with.

Finances: Where the Money Goes

I had the opportunity to serve as Vice President of Finance before currently serving as Chapter President and I saw the ins and outs of all financial obligations. One of the first expectations placed on a member when joining a Panhellenic organization is the agreement of payment. It is one of the main requirements mentioned during recruitment because it is oftentimes the biggest concern of a potential new member. I can reassure all readers that the funding that comes in goes directly back to support membership enjoyment. Every experience is strategically budgeted to enhance the sorority experience. As a traditional college student you are in a foundational time in your life and learning how to be financially responsible is a life skill that the sorority journey can teach you.  

Behavior: Why Representation is Important

As Chapter President I have found that this is the hardest expectation for members to understand. Relating again to this week's podcast, Bailie shared her sorority journey and the reality check she had when she was pulled into sanctions. Bailie left the experience with her perspective changed from “my exec board is out to get me” to “my sorority cares for me and wants to see me succeed”. Your chapter calls you to a higher standard for both the chapter's reputation and your own. This is why social media presence, campus appearance, and actions are all monitored once you're part of a sorority. 

Value: How Values Shape the Experience

All sororities aim to recruit members who prioritize the same values as the chapter. This isn’t to say that you can’t have your own values but that you should also care for your chapters. In your formative years as a college student, you develop self-worth and an understanding of yourself because of the values you take ownership of. The values you commit to when joining your chapter should direct actions beyond your college years and make you proud. The structure is in place to ensure members keep these founding characteristics at the forefront of every decision. 

I hope this blog bridged the gap between the confusion of membership expectations and gaining gratitude for them. All expectations were designed to raise and support strong women in sisterhood. Align your sorority journey with these expectations to get the most out of your experience!

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