View Full Version : Help! Retention

Lil' Hannah
09-10-2002, 03:05 PM
Alright, this may be long and nonsensical, but I'll try to do my best...

Several (about 6) of my sisters and good friends are all seriously considering turning in their pins this semester, each for their own reasons, but what it basically comes down to is burn out. They're all seniors and I'm pretty sure all of them pledged during their freshman year. They all have held some sort of position in the house at one point, and while living in the house they were generally happy with the chapter. All have moved out of the house this year, and basically feel unattached to the chapter. A lot of our friends graduated in May and the rest are 5th year alumnae (myself included).

They don't see the point in paying dues (which are close to $1000 a semester for out of house sisters) just so they can graduate a DG. Some also have internships, student teaching, and other "real world prep" stuff and don't have the time to dedicate to the mandatory stuff we have, let alone the social events. I used to serve on honor board and our chapter has reduced dues and excused people from events in extreme cases, but I can't see the chapter excusing 6 women just so they can graduate as DGs.

Basically I want to know if you guys have any ideas of how I can talk them out of this. They're not close with anyone who serves on Honor Board now, so I can't really see HB being too persuasive in talking them out of it. I'd like them to stick it out for the chapter, of course, but mostly I'm upset about them turning their backs on such an amazing organization that has given them so much for the past 3 years. I'd like to see them at Founders Day in 40 years. Please also keep in mind that I'm not a very emotional or expressive person (although it seems quite easy for me to spill to strangers :)).

I can see why they wouldn't want to pay so much money for something they can't participate in or don't want to participate in, but I'd like to give them my 2 cents in hopes that they'll change their mind.

Thanks, ITB
Lil' Hannah

09-10-2002, 03:14 PM
I'm not a DG, but this is what AXD does, and I thought this was pretty standard:

-5th year seniors are eligible to become alums. And that means no dues.
-Women who are in internships, coops, student teaching - basically not taking classes - can go inactive. That means seriously reduced dues (usually just a national fee).

I would think DG would offer things like this as well. These programs are designed for women just like you're talking about.

Lil' Hannah
09-10-2002, 06:28 PM
DG does have 5th year alumnae status, but you have to be a 5th year senior and none of them are. And unfortunately DG doesn't have inactive status for collegians. I think it would be a HUGE help if they did and would prevent a lot of people (in my chapter at least) from resigning membership.

09-11-2002, 02:55 AM
Well, I know that in some instances our chapter has had members go "early alum". I'm not sure if you have to write a letter to EO or if its the indiv. chapter's HB making the decision. It would be a shame for them to turn in their badge! Delta Gamma truly is a great LIFETIME experience!

09-11-2002, 02:36 PM
Unfortunately, I think this is a common problem for seniors - especially in larger chapters where there's a lot of other members who can seemingly absorb a few losses. As a senior I think it's hard to see the bigger picture, when a life-time commitment to a sorority is not one's biggest concern - graduating, grades, and career take more precedence. The only advice I can really give is to help them see the bigger picture, and tell them that their 3 years so far and the money they've spent on being members will be all for not if they go inactive. It's like they're quitting something they committed to when they were first initiated. That may fall on deaf ears, but it may strike a cord that it's worth sticking it out a few more months in order to have a lifetime ahead where they can proudly call themselves DGs.

Good luck, and please let us know how it turns out!

Lil' Hannah
09-24-2002, 03:24 PM
Well, I talked to several of the girls about sticking it out for one more year and i think they all said "if you want to pay my dues, i'll be happy to stay." Unfortunately a few of them turned in their pins on Sunday. I think one or two went in just to talk to HB and hopefully they worked something out with dues.

What kind of dues do other chapters have for seniors? When the women lived in the house it was cheaper to pay rent and dues there than it is just to pay rent for an apartment around here. However most had to move out because they had to get up early for aforementioned internships etc. and it really wasn't convenient to have a roommate and try to get to bed early with 40 other women milling around at night, etc.

I've considered going to HB and seeing if they can reduce rent and other expenses (we still have to pay part of the rent on the house, even if we don't live there, and it's a pretty expensive amount) for seniors who have fufilled their housing obligations. Our chapter does need money pretty badly, but the way I see it at least you're getting some money from 10 or so members than no money at all because those 10 members turned in their pins.

dgtxalum - are you an ATC/RCS? would this be possible? i guess it's a little late for my friends but maybe in the future they can prevent this from happening.

09-24-2002, 09:24 PM
No, Lil' Hanhah, unfortunately I'm not an ATC/RCS.... However, you raise a really good point - that inevitably the chapter will be losing more money (and good members) if these members sever, then if some sort of "deal" can be made where they'll be able to stick out the year paying reduced dues. My question is, what's the reality for your chapter to be able to replace those members through COB, and getting members that will want to stick it through until the end or at least for a few more years? I guess the issue is from a financial standpoint, can the chapter take a loss now, only to make up for it in the future with members who will be paying dues for a longer amount of time than these seniors will be active? I hate to look at these things from such a business angle, but inevitably that's what the sorority system has to do in order to survive.

On the other side, I think that most chapters have their own policies, that of course are in compliance with EO. Everyone's dues are structured somewhat differently, so I don't think it's a bad idea to give it a shot and talk to your HB about the situation. After all, certain situations may be acceptable for some chapters, and not acceptable for others, I guess depending on what works best on their campuses. I wish I knew the exact policies that already exist in order to answer these questions, but I guess that your council will be able to answer them for you better than I could! Best of luck to you, and I hope that this works out in everyone's favor. It's always a shame to see good members have to relinquish their membership b/c of money issues.

Lil' Hannah
09-24-2002, 10:18 PM
Originally posted by dgtxalum
My question is, what's the reality for your chapter to be able to replace those members through COB, and getting members that will want to stick it through until the end or at least for a few more years?

Unfortunately our membership isn't booming, so we're too busy COBing to total to have to try to replace members. Total on our campus is 100 and we usually have around 80 women. We haven't reached quota since I pledged (2.5 yrs ago) but we haven't been too far off.

I think looking at things from a "business" aspect is a lot of whats turning members away. We usually have a few members who aren't seniors turn in their pins as well and I think its because our past presidents and CMTs have been caught up in a lot of Greek System politics, achieving a higher social status, as well as putting a sort of "urgent" spin on things. For example, recruitment has been focused lately on numbers and reaching total rather than welcoming new women into our sisterhood.

Luckily we've had AMAZING pledge classes lately with plenty of beautiful women who are excited to be there, but we're just not getting the numbers. But on a good note, today was bid day and they got 10 Pi Alphas (which is great for informal recruitment) and they're all super cute, and so all this new quality will definitely bring quantity.:D But the focus has been on the business end of things and I think a lot of members are losing sight of the fun and sisterhood involved. I know these are all things to be brought up at HB, but when the president is the driving force behind all of this stuff, it's hard to tell her she's at fault.

09-25-2002, 06:34 PM
Your situation sounds a lot like what it was like for me as an undergrad. Although we didn't have too many problems with numbers, we seemed to be focusing a lot of our energy on maintaining a certain "image" on campus, which a lot of times broke down into shallow politics and the like. Unfortunately I think every chapter has a bit of this, no matter what chapter or where. When I was immersed in it all, I was against this constant battle to position ourselves in a certain light because I thought it took away from the reason I joined a sorority in the first place - to find a "home" away from home, make long-lasting friends, etc. Now looking back on it, I understand it all a little better in hindsight. I don't think that business and politics within the greek system should be a focal point for ANY chapter, in a perfect world they would never even matter. However, because of the world we live in, there needs to be some sort of balance between the business aspect and the sisterhood.

But, if you say that your chapter is not focusing on the sisterhood as much as they should be, that's definitely a problem and that balance is uneven. Luckily it sounds like you have an amazing pledge class, that can help turn that around and bring back the sisterhood into your chapter! I sympathize with your position, because it seems like you don't have somewhere to turn to help see why these seniors are ready to call it quits. But, I guess you can put faith in the next generation to realize and see the consequences of all of this - 6 seniors quitting all at once is a big deal, no matter the size of the chapter. Maybe if it can't be fixed now, then it can be in the future...?