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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Sisterhood, brotherhood comes at big price

While joining Greek Life at the UA is a way to connect with new people and build lifelong relationships, the price tag inherent in joining leaves students surprised at how much they spend each year in fees and other expenses.

Sororities and fraternities are national, and each chapter has to pay a flat fee to its national fraternity or sorority, which covers its national insurance.

Johanne Ives, the assistant dean of students in Fraternity & Sorority Programs, said the insurance covers things such as house chapters, meal plans, staff that work there and other fees.

According to the Greek Life website, new members of the Chi Omega sorority will spend about $2,113 during its first year, including 10 meals a week. This number doesn’t include housing.

Nicole Cousins, the president of Chi Omega, said those dues include the mandatory house fee, payments to the national chapter and also food in the house. Cousins said Chi Omega includes lunch and dinner five days a week, and by doing this, students are saving a lot more money than by having a meal plan at the university.

Some sororities may also fine for missed meetings if they are important, but each sorority has different prices and ways of running its house. Ives said it depends on each chapter when and why they want to issue fines to their members.

“Most chapters fine for really important things that they don’t want members to miss,” Ives said, “like initiation and recruitment.”

Joe Novelli, the vice president of finance for the Interfraternity Council, said that of the fraternities he is familiar with, most will issue fines depending on the situation at hand.

“If members are unexcused from chapter meetings or mandatory events, maybe ritual and things like that, they do issue fines,” Novelli said. “They vary depending on what the event is and how frequent the mishaps are.”

On the other hand, for some fraternities and sororities, sometimes fines can be excused if someone has a legitimate reason for not attending.

“You can turn in an excuse form all the way up until 24 hours prior, and the treasurer often does have the power to reverse the fine,” Novelli said.

Novelli added that new members are usually asked of their financial responsibilities during the recruitment process, so no one is surprised at how much is spent at the end of the year.

Another cost that can add up over time is big and little gifts that are given every year in sororities.

“Some sororities are better about including all the costs and the dues,” Ives explained. “There are some things that maybe they’re not anticipating, like if they have a little sis and buying a gift or if they have a big sis and buying a gift.”

Ives said students in their first and second year, not living with family and managing their own expenses and budget, probably go through some growing pains in terms of spending money in a sorority and school in general.

Cousins said they have some rules in Chi Omega when it comes to big and little gifts during reveal week and initiation. Cousins said they only allow about three gifts per day, and the gifts are supposed to be homemade so they are not greatly extravagant. Cousins said some members go all out and will give several gifts for initiation or reveal, but they generally try to keep the cost around $100 for the entire week.

“I know in Chi Omega, we have a strict rule because it has been kind of flamboyant throughout the years,” Cousins said.

Each sorority and fraternity has its own way of handling prices and fines for its members, and while the cost can be high, the chapters try to remain transparent with their fines.

“Usually, all of those financial responsibilities are provided upfront so they know what they are getting themselves into,” Novelli said.

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Follow Alyssa Schlitzer on Twitter.

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