There is no one-size-fits-all description of “sorority housing.” Every sorority chapter will offer different facility options to its members based on many factors, including size of the chapter and campus, campus culture, availability and campus housing policies.
Sorority chapters that offer members the opportunity to stay in more traditional chapter facilities (a “sorority house”) or a dorm-like structure might have policies that require members to live in the chapter facility for a certain period of time during their membership. These specific guidelines will be laid out for members to ensure they understand expectations.
If a sorority does have a chapter facility and a live-in requirement you would most likely pay room and board to live in the house, just like you would to live on campus in a dormitory. However, these costs also vary for different chapters and different campuses. Some chapters may have room for all of their members in their facilities while others only have room for certain officers.
Other campuses might have a designated campus facility for sorority chapters, such as space reserved a specific dormitory, so sorority members can share living space in that way.
On campuses with no official chapter facility, members may live in other on-campus housing or off-campus, depending on campus policies. All chapter activities will likely be held in various campus spaces depending on the college/university.
Also, even if you don’t live directly in the chapter facility, some chapters may charge a usage fee to members to help cover costs for the upkeep of common areas used by all sorority chapter members. This charge has many names, including a parlor fee or live-out fee.
Chapter facilities vary from campus to campus and sorority to sorority. You can check with the office of fraternity and sorority life to get more information about your school specifically. You also should ask about chapter facilities during recruitment.
Some questions to ask during recruitment:
- What kind of housing does your chapter offer members, if any?
- How many women live in the chapter facility?
- Where is it located?
- What is the process for living in the chapter facility? Am I required to live there and, if so, when?
- What amenities are offered to those who live in the chapter facility (e.g., house director, meal options, recreational activities, etc.)?
- (To someone who lives in or has lived in the chapter facility) What is the best part of living with your sorority sisters? What, if anything, surprised you?
- Are there any fees I will pay if I don’t live in the chapter facility?
- If there is not a chapter facility, where do you hold meetings or other gatherings?