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  #1  
Old 12-09-2022, 05:35 PM
cayk0 cayk0 is offline
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Unhappy Sorority SOS

Hello everyone! I could really use some advice. I am a sophomore member of a Panhellenic sorority at a mid-sized private college in the Midwest. Chapter morale is effectively non-existent right now. Attendance at socials and sisterhood events is embarrassingly low, and 10-15% of the sorority has dropped in a span of 3 months. I can name over a dozen other members who are considering dropping or want to drop but are toughing it out until they graduate in the spring.

Here’s where I think our problems could be coming from.
1. When polled anonymously; over 60% of my new member class indicated that our organization was not their first choice after preference round. My big said the same about her class. This seems to cause resentment towards the organization itself for ‘taking them away from where they should be.’
2. Piggybacking off of the first issue, our sorority as a whole is too "mixed"–for lack of a better word. This goes beyond ‘introvert vs. extrovert’ or ‘basic vs. unique,’ since entire groups of girls actively dislike each other based on their clashing personalities and past conflicts. Frankly, it is verging on bullying in some cases.

I don’t think attendance will get better until we actually get more than ~10 people to get along in a group setting. This is just a bare minimum criteria for an organization to stay afloat. Obviously.

At the end of the day, I would be OK with our house being seen as a bottom or lower ‘tier’ sorority if we had a high quality sisterhood to make up for our poor public image; but we just don’t. Frankly I would even be OK with everyone just tolerating or being cordial to each other–we don’t all need to be best friends–but, we don’t have that. It would be one thing if girls were just simply not that close, but too many of my sisters are just cruel to each other. Something’s got to give.

I don’t want to disaffiliate, seeing as I’ve already invested several thousand dollars into this organization under the guise that it would give me meaningful relationships and a place to call home, but I am truly at my wits end. Thankfully I have made some lovely friends, but I worry that our chapter is on the verge of destroying itself in the next 5-10 years. We have been on campus for decades and we are one of the larger chapters of our organization, so HQ doesn't even seem concerned. When I and other members have raised concerns to our president and VPs, they’ve been brushed off. Advisors have been no help. Other chapters have been no help. Members aren’t even wearing letters around campus–hell, they’re lying and saying they’re in other organizations! There are other small issues we have as well (minor, fixable issues like outdated house decor, few social events, etc.) but I know that these are more 'cosmetic' issues.

Any advice is welcomed with open arms. Thank you.
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  #2  
Old 12-09-2022, 06:26 PM
FSUZeta FSUZeta is offline
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1. Your sorority did not prevent your members from receiving bids from other sororities. RFM doesn’t work that way. Had the other orgs they preffed placed them high on their list, they would’ve received bids from those orgs. The members who think your org prevented them from getting their dream bids need to be set straight.
2. Most chapters have an eclectic membership. Everyone is not model gorgeous, everyone is not from the same city, everyone is not a nursing major…you get the point, yet somehow they get along. As you said, everyone won’t be best friends with everyone else, but they, at the least, tolerate each other.

From what you wrote, people have reached out to your executive officers, and chapter advisors, and nothing has changed. I suggest contacting your national headquarters. You need some national officers to visit your chapter to assess the problem and come up with a plan for your membership to follow. If you know of other members who are noticing the same issues, enlist them to contact your headquarters too.

In the meantime, could you and your friends within the chapter plan and implement some sisterhood events? Ask permission from your exec officers. If there is already a sisterhood chairperson, ask to work with her to form a sisterhood committee and work together.

Good luck.
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  #3  
Old 12-10-2022, 12:12 AM
Cheerio Cheerio is offline
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To the OP: THANK YOU for respecting your Lifetime Organization enough to choose taking responsible actions toward its betterment, instead of complaining about it and/or quitting your membership.
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  #4  
Old 12-10-2022, 04:19 AM
cayk0 cayk0 is offline
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Red face

Quote:
Originally Posted by FSUZeta View Post
1. Your sorority did not prevent your members from receiving bids from other sororities. RFM doesn’t work that way. Had the other orgs they preffed placed them high on their list, they would’ve received bids from those orgs. The members who think your org prevented them from getting their dream bids need to be set straight.
2. Most chapters have an eclectic membership. Everyone is not model gorgeous, everyone is not from the same city, everyone is not a nursing major…you get the point, yet somehow they get along. As you said, everyone won’t be best friends with everyone else, but they, at the least, tolerate each other.

From what you wrote, people have reached out to your executive officers, and chapter advisors, and nothing has changed. I suggest contacting your national headquarters. You need some national officers to visit your chapter to assess the problem and come up with a plan for your membership to follow. If you know of other members who are noticing the same issues, enlist them to contact your headquarters too.

In the meantime, could you and your friends within the chapter plan and implement some sisterhood events? Ask permission from your exec officers. If there is already a sisterhood chairperson, ask to work with her to form a sisterhood committee and work together.

Good luck.
Thank you for your input, I truly appreciate it. I myself know those two things to be true, but I wish more of my sisters did as well–not that it would necessarily solve everything. HQ is planning to send an officer towards the end of the spring 2023 semester (just a routine check-in), so while we'll have a while to wait for that, at least it's on the radar, and gives me and my friends time to prepare what we have to say.

We seem to have an overabundance of sisterhood events as it is. I don't think planning more will help, since we have an attendance rate of approx. 10-15% (on a good day...) but I like your idea of forming a sisterhood committee. Hopefully I can get some friends on board.

Maybe this is an impossible question, but what do you think can be done about the sheer amount of disagreement between sisters? We are long past bonding events, seeing as the issue here isn't not knowing each other–it's not liking each other. I personally think we can't necessarily 'right the wrongs' of past member classes and gloss over their negative relationships, but moving forward we can try to recruit a more cohesive new member class and encourage positive relationships between sisters. Now comes the question of how....
Cheers.
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  #5  
Old 12-10-2022, 04:21 AM
cayk0 cayk0 is offline
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheerio View Post
To the OP: THANK YOU for respecting your Lifetime Organization enough to choose taking responsible actions toward its betterment, instead of complaining about it and/or quitting your membership.
Just trying my best to leave our chapter a little better than I found it! I have faith that with a little hard work we can fix this. Hopefully I'm not the only one...
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  #6  
Old 12-10-2022, 09:49 AM
Titchou Titchou is offline
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There is an old saying that to have a friend you have to be a friend. Why not get together with one of the like-minded women in the chapter and pick another one you think MIGHT be a candidate to turn and ask her to do something with the two of you - whatever hang out type thing is big on your campus - local sandwich place, coffee shop, whatever. grow that relationship. Then you and her can find another one and do the same thing, etc. etc. Work is one person at a time. Map it out - you know the women in your chapter!
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  #7  
Old 12-10-2022, 01:35 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Approximately how large is your chapter? Suggestions and advice that will work for a chapter of 40 will not necessarily work for a chapter of 200.

I wrote that, then I reread and saw this:

Quote:
We have been on campus for decades and we are one of the larger chapters of our organization, so HQ doesn't even seem concerned.
If this is all they care about even with 15% of the group dropping that quickly, I’m going to be cynical and say that visit from nationals isn’t going to do squat.

Are the warring cliques by year (sophomores vs juniors), by major, partiers vs more quiet girls, live in vs live out, what? Also, keep in mind that except for the seniors, no one in your chapter has ever had a typical year of sorority experience. If you rushed via Zoom or similar it’s not the same as going through physical rush, it’s just not, and the “if I’d gotten in ABC my life would be so much better” probably ramp up times a thousand.
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  #8  
Old 12-10-2022, 05:43 PM
cayk0 cayk0 is offline
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Red face

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titchou View Post
There is an old saying that to have a friend you have to be a friend. Why not get together with one of the like-minded women in the chapter and pick another one you think MIGHT be a candidate to turn and ask her to do something with the two of you - whatever hang out type thing is big on your campus - local sandwich place, coffee shop, whatever. grow that relationship. Then you and her can find another one and do the same thing, etc. etc. Work is one person at a time. Map it out - you know the women in your chapter!
Thanks for the advice. I'll give it a shot! Even if it doesn't necessarily fix the larger issue at hand, there's no harm in making a new friend. Win-win situation.
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  #9  
Old 12-10-2022, 06:07 PM
cayk0 cayk0 is offline
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by 33girl View Post
Approximately how large is your chapter? Suggestions and advice that will work for a chapter of 40 will not necessarily work for a chapter of 200.

I wrote that, then I reread and saw this:



If this is all they care about even with 15% of the group dropping that quickly, I’m going to be cynical and say that visit from nationals isn’t going to do squat.

Are the warring cliques by year (sophomores vs juniors), by major, partiers vs more quiet girls, live in vs live out, what? Also, keep in mind that except for the seniors, no one in your chapter has ever had a typical year of sorority experience. If you rushed via Zoom or similar it’s not the same as going through physical rush, it’s just not, and the “if I’d gotten in ABC my life would be so much better” probably ramp up times a thousand.
There are ~120 of us! I hate to be a pessimist, but I think you might be right about that visit. I'm still going to sit down for a conversation with whoever visits, but I don't necessarily have high hopes.

To answer your question, the cliques aren't defined by any specific attributes, which almost makes it worse. One little group could have 3 juniors, 2 freshman, 2 house girls, 3 live-out girls, 4 partiers, 1 introvert, and hate another group with the exact same breakdown. I think this is what makes it so hard to fix our issue, because it isn't even 1 stereotype vs. another or 1 grade level vs. another, it's..everyone vs. everyone.

None of our member classes are all that close, largely in part due to the seemingly infinite internal conflicts. We can't sit down ~120 women (not girls, adult women) and tell them to ignore past conflicts and make up for so many reasons; first, that we can't even get 120 people in the same room (even for mandatory events with fines), but mainly because some of the issues between members are truly valid reasons to dislike each other. Obviously the cattiness and bullying has to stop, but each member is well within their rights to not want to even be around someone who truly upset them.

I worry about recruitment, because having such a disagreeable group doing the recruiting makes it very difficult to recruit a more agreeable or–again, at the bare minimum; cordial–group, and we really need this cycle to end now.

Thanks for reading, and again, your feedback is so appreciated. I hope we can bounce back.
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  #10  
Old 12-10-2022, 10:58 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Maybe you should just go old school and have Celebrity Death Match for some of the warring members. You could charge the audience and give the $ to your philanthropy!

I kid, I kid.

It sounds like because of the pandemic, a lot of the group’s agency was taken away as to regards the new members who were chosen. Plus people didn’t hang out like normally and wounds were allowed to fester and fester more. Plus communication I’m sure was hard, as screen to screen isn’t for everyone. Auntie Rona dropped a big ball of crud in the middle of your house and now you’re left to clean it up.

Do you have rush coming up in the spring? If so, try getting everyone together and making a wish list of what you want in new members. Women don’t want to show up because the ho that took their man is the assistant rush chair? Have a box at the house where people can write down 3 attributes they want in a new member. Putting the focus on moving forward might help people to open up about the present issues that are going on because it’s not the designated topic.
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  #11  
Old 12-11-2022, 01:40 AM
KD4Me KD4Me is offline
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I suggest that you talk to your advisors about your concerns. They are there to help your chapter, and have a vested interest in your chapter's success! Hopefully they are in regular contact with leadership in your national organization who can assist. It can be helpful for rank and file chapter members to share their experiences.
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  #12  
Old 12-11-2022, 03:40 PM
cayk0 cayk0 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 33girl View Post
Maybe you should just go old school and have Celebrity Death Match for some of the warring members. You could charge the audience and give the $ to your philanthropy!

I kid, I kid.

It sounds like because of the pandemic, a lot of the group’s agency was taken away as to regards the new members who were chosen. Plus people didn’t hang out like normally and wounds were allowed to fester and fester more. Plus communication I’m sure was hard, as screen to screen isn’t for everyone. Auntie Rona dropped a big ball of crud in the middle of your house and now you’re left to clean it up.

Do you have rush coming up in the spring? If so, try getting everyone together and making a wish list of what you want in new members. Women don’t want to show up because the ho that took their man is the assistant rush chair? Have a box at the house where people can write down 3 attributes they want in a new member. Putting the focus on moving forward might help people to open up about the present issues that are going on because it’s not the designated topic.
HA! Now we're getting somewhere.

I think you nailed it. The pandemic was not exactly kind to anyone, and definitely not college students, so I think it sorta rocked our world a little bit and amplified existing issues in relationships. I really love that 'wishlist' idea and I think it could be really good for us. We do not have formal recruitment upcoming until the fall (I don't even think we're COBing in the spring!) but I'm going to hang onto that idea and either suggest it to our next recruitment chair or run myself! () Thank you so much for your input!!!
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  #13  
Old 12-11-2022, 05:30 PM
Cheerio Cheerio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cayk0 View Post
Hello everyone! I could really use some advice...10-15% of the sorority has dropped in a span of 3 months. I can name over a dozen other members who are considering dropping or want to drop but are toughing it out until they graduate in the spring...

...[E]ntire groups of girls actively dislike each other based on their clashing personalities and past conflicts.

Frankly, it is verging on bullying in some cases.

Frankly I would even be OK with everyone just tolerating or being cordial to each other–we don’t all need to be best friends–but, we don’t have that.

It would be one thing if girls were just simply not that close, but too many of my sisters are just cruel to each other.

Something’s got to give.

Thankfully I have made some lovely friends, but I worry that our chapter is on the verge of destroying itself in the next 5-10 years.

We have been on campus for decades and we are one of the larger chapters of our organization, so HQ doesn't even seem concerned.

When I and other members have raised concerns to our president and VPs, they’ve been brushed off.

Advisors have been no help.

Other chapters have been no help.

Members aren’t even wearing letters around campus–hell, they’re lying and saying they’re in other organizations!

Any advice is welcomed with open arms. Thank you.
..

If you believe that any form of hazing is occurring within your chapter, and your attempts to inform all levels of leadership within your sorority are failing, feel free to discuss it with the Director of Greek Life at your institution. Hazing ought not be tolerated or perpetuated by anyone in any situation.
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  #14  
Old 12-11-2022, 06:30 PM
navane navane is offline
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cayk0, I also commend you for having a true heart for your sorority and for looking to find ways to move your organization forward in a positive fashion. Some of the others here have already offered some ideas. If by any chance yours is a chapter of Gamma Phi Beta, please PM me so that I can get you more direct help.
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  #15  
Old 12-12-2022, 01:58 AM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheerio View Post
..

If you believe that any form of hazing is occurring within your chapter, and your attempts to inform all levels of leadership within your sorority are failing, feel free to discuss it with the Director of Greek Life at your institution. Hazing ought not be tolerated or perpetuated by anyone in any situation.
I don’t think this is a hazing situation at all, especially with what she said in her other post about the different cliques being a mix of ages and classes.
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