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Sorority Recruitment Recruitment event and bid day ideas, membership retention, publicity, recruitment policies, etc.


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  #1  
Old 05-14-2012, 01:09 PM
28StGreek 28StGreek is offline
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The economy and NPC Recruitment at very large/competitive Greek schools

I would like to apologize in advance for any generalizations, assumptions, unintended implications, etc that this post may present. It should be noted it was inspired by a post-graduation day conversation among Sorority women that was most definitely clouded with much Champagne consumption :-P

We were wondering how the recruiting landscape would change at USC this coming fall, and then going forward to next year with AGD's return. Over the past few years there has been growth with increasing numbers of PNMs/larger quotas. Then last fall, it seemed interest in NPC recruitment was really down compared to 2010.

The economy possibly has an effect on incoming girls' at SC decision to not take part in Greek Life due to the added financial burden of dues. Or even just the Recruitment registration fee alone. Even if compared to other living arrangements either on or off-campus at USC, living in Greek accomadation is actually a pretty good deal with the cost of living in LA these days.
But of course there are the 'extra' costs of buying Deliveries (a major Greek tradition at USC), philanthropy tanks, plus dresses for Monday Night Dinners, Formals, Invites, Exchanges, Date Dashes etc.

Then we remembered a talk during an Order of Omega retreat about how the profile of the incoming freshman class at USC was beginning to change from what might generally be the stereotypical SC student of the past. To put it simplistically, the new freshman was essentially more academic oriented, increasingly on some sort of financial aid/merit scholarship, and possibly just not interested in the benefits of Greek Life. The point of the talk was to come up with strategies to change the way recruitment was marketed in order to keep Going Greek 'attractive'. Especially with finances being an important factor when consdering private school tuition.

Obviously USC has one of the largest and strongest Greek communities and traditions west of the Mississippi so its unlikely there would be a significant drop in interest, but who knows what the future will be like these days?
Then I got thinking about the large, Greek strongholds in the SEC, Texas, etc, as well as any other schools in the country with for the lack of a better descriptor have a 'Southern' style full frills rush. I assume the financial burden of recruitment at these schools are a lot greater than at smaller or 'less' competitive schools. And while the NPC is trying to encourage a move away from all the frills, I know tradition is hard to break. And while I know almost all the super competitive schools are state schools tuition fees are generally increasing year on year.

So will a continued uncertain economy shake up the way Greek Life is maintained, and by extension the pageantry of 'Southern' NPC Recruitment? What could the implications mean for the National Orgs which will have invested a lot in the major expansion at Alabama and the upcoming ones at Arkansas? Or is it that since joining a Sorority is such a big part of the college experience at these campuses that for families with daughters heading to these schools would have planned/budgeted for the cost of dues/Sorority life as they would budget for text books?

Am I making any sense? Should I cut down on my celebratory activities?
One final note, I'd like to congratulate all the women who have recently acquired alumna status this weekend!

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  #2  
Old 05-14-2012, 01:44 PM
KSUViolet06 KSUViolet06 is offline
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We've talked about this a little bit:

http://www.greekchat.com/gcforums/sh...hlight=economy

I find that the economy isn't affecting people joining it as much as previously thought it would.

I have heard a lot about the economy changing the PNM pool at these schools though.

More women are coming in as sophs and juniors from close-to-home CCs (where they stayed for the first 2 years to save money.)

Or, more women who would have gone out of state are staying home and going to UF, UA, etc.

If anything, aren't there MORE PNMs now at some of the big Southern flagships (because of the "stay home and go to UA to save money" factor?)



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  #3  
Old 05-14-2012, 07:14 PM
lemony lemony is offline
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I agree with everything KSUViolet said, but I'd also like to throw in that I've noticed the economy has affected membership retention more than it has affected recruitment/PNM numbers in general. While more and more women find the sorority option attractive, the increasing dues begin to take a toll over time (whether it's during new member quarter or even during her senior year), and are sometimes too much of a financial burden to continue sorority membership.
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:58 PM
28StGreek 28StGreek is offline
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Oh good points KSUViolet06 and many thank for digging up that thread.

"More women are coming in as sophs and juniors from close-to-home CCs (where they stayed for the first 2 years to save money.)"

- So would this mean the non-freshman stigma at the big super competitive schools diminish. I know at USC sophomore and even junior transfers are not necessarily an automatic cut from recruitment.

"Or, more women who would have gone out of state are staying home and going to UF, UA, etc."

"If anything, aren't there MORE PNMs now at some of the big Southern flagships (because of the "stay home and go to UA to save money" factor?)"

- True that, but with the analysis of the bid lists from Bama and Auburn last fall, if anything there were more PNMs from out-of-state than ever before? Confusing. Or is it that PNM from out-of-state may perhaps have more disposable income, or the benefits of finding a community to thrive in a new place is worth it?

I guess what I was really trying to get at is if recruitment at those schools will significantly change/be affected. Not to belittle no-frills recruitment; but I can't help but assume that full-frills recruitment has an inherent higher cost to the chapters in general. And by extension at these schools recruitment registration fees tend to be much higher than average.
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  #5  
Old 05-14-2012, 09:12 PM
victoriana victoriana is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lemony View Post
I agree with everything KSUViolet said, but I'd also like to throw in that I've noticed the economy has affected membership retention more than it has affected recruitment/PNM numbers in general. While more and more women find the sorority option attractive, the increasing dues begin to take a toll over time (whether it's during new member quarter or even during her senior year), and are sometimes too much of a financial burden to continue sorority membership.
Even at the mid-size state school I go to, which has relatively cheap tuition for in-state students, retention due to the economy has been a problem. I know a lot of sorority women who have had to drop due to the financial burden. Interestingly, though, I haven't seen this become an issue for fraternity men (at least not where I am).
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  #6  
Old 05-14-2012, 09:28 PM
28StGreek 28StGreek is offline
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Originally Posted by victoriana View Post
Even at the mid-size state school I go to, which has relatively cheap tuition for in-state students, retention due to the economy has been a problem. I know a lot of sorority women who have had to drop due to the financial burden. Interestingly, though, I haven't seen this become an issue for fraternity men (at least not where I am).
Aren't fraternity dues in general a lot lower than sorority dues?

Also while there are many other advantages to going Greek, I imagine the social benefits for guys on campus is much more elevated by being in a fraternity. And so would be seen as a worthwhile investment.

For example there is the (cynical, close-minded) scenario at SC that if you are not in a Fraternity; there is no where for a guy to go on a Thursday night. Whereas "girls always get in to parties"
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:30 PM
28StGreek 28StGreek is offline
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And going back to the retention issue, I suppose more emphasis should be on that rather than recruitment itself and I've been thinking about this entirely the wrong way around.

Afterall a chapter's strength/future is arguably more dependent on retention rather than giant new member classes
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  #8  
Old 05-15-2012, 01:16 AM
AnchorAlumna AnchorAlumna is offline
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Originally Posted by 28StGreek View Post
Aren't fraternity dues in general a lot lower than sorority dues?
Not where I'm at.
Most fraternities have fewer members than sororities.
Fraternities throw parties with expensive bands.
Beer costs money.
Ergo, fraternities dues are higher than sorority dues.
At least where I'm at.
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:26 AM
AnchorAlumna AnchorAlumna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 28StGreek View Post
Oh good points KSUViolet06 and many thank for digging up that thread.

"More women are coming in as sophs and juniors from close-to-home CCs (where they stayed for the first 2 years to save money.)" Not as many as you might think. If they did that, they more likely are money-aware enough that they don't consider joining a sorority.

- So would this mean the non-freshman stigma at the big super competitive schools diminish. I know at USC sophomore and even junior transfers are not necessarily an automatic cut from recruitment. Honestly, it never was that big of a deal to begin with for sophomores. There's no huge numbers of upperclassmen that try it. For juniors though, it's a LOT harder.

"Or, more women who would have gone out of state are staying home and going to UF, UA, etc."

"If anything, aren't there MORE PNMs now at some of the big Southern flagships (because of the "stay home and go to UA to save money" factor?)"

- True that, but with the analysis of the bid lists from Bama and Auburn last fall, if anything there were more PNMs from out-of-state than ever before? Confusing. Or is it that PNM from out-of-state may perhaps have more disposable income, or the benefits of finding a community to thrive in a new place is worth it? This is exactly it. They're paying the triple OOS tuition, so they've already got money. They're coming from OOS and don't know many people, so it's a way to connect. And they've got the money to do it.

I guess what I was really trying to get at is if recruitment at those schools will significantly change/be affected. Not to belittle no-frills recruitment; but I can't help but assume that full-frills recruitment has an inherent higher cost to the chapters in general. And by extension at these schools recruitment registration fees tend to be much higher than average.
Don't know enough to answer that one, but I have been surprised by the cost of recruitment registration the last couple of years.
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:27 AM
southbymidwest southbymidwest is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 28StGreek View Post
And going back to the retention issue, I suppose more emphasis should be on that rather than recruitment itself and I've been thinking about this entirely the wrong way around.

Afterall a chapter's strength/future is arguably more dependent on retention rather than giant new member classes
The girls that have left my daughter's sorority's chapter the past couple of years have been mainly for financial or transfer reasons. Dropping due to unhappiness really isn't an issue, at least there (a large midwestern school).

"- True that, but with the analysis of the bid lists from Bama and Auburn last fall, if anything there were more PNMs from out-of-state than ever before? Confusing. Or is it that PNM from out-of-state may perhaps have more disposable income, or the benefits of finding a community to thrive in a new place is worth it? This is exactly it. They're paying the triple OOS tuition, so they've already got money. They're coming from OOS and don't know many people, so it's a way to connect. And they've got the money to do it."

Ehh, it isn't all about the money.

A ton of kids from my neck of the woods (Northern Virginia) go to SEC/southern ACC schools. Most of the kids from our high school end up in the Greek system. They go because:

1) Many parents are from the South and are SEC/ACC alums and came to DC for work related reasons.

2) They can't get into the top 3 highly competitive VA state universities as every state school in VA could fill every freshman seat with kids from NoVA and still need more seats, and they do try for geographic/socioeconomic/race diversity. (I believe kids from the Chicago suburbs have the same problem getting into Illinois, so they end up at other large midwestern schools).

3) They want the big school experience.

4) SEC/ACC public schools are still more affordable than many private schools even with aid/grants. Quite a few kids that I know also got some merit scholarship money, so that helps also.

Last edited by southbymidwest; 05-15-2012 at 01:56 AM.
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  #11  
Old 05-15-2012, 01:35 AM
Old_Row Old_Row is offline
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There are more oos pnms at the Alabama schools in the last few years because of the way some of the surrounding states have changed admissions policies (Georgia, Florida, Texas etc.) The Alabama schools offer a nearby cost effective alternative with easier admissions and a similar kind of college culture.
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Old 05-15-2012, 09:45 AM
28StGreek 28StGreek is offline
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Originally Posted by AnchorAlumna View Post
Not where I'm at.
Most fraternities have fewer members than sororities.
Fraternities throw parties with expensive bands.
Beer costs money.
Ergo, fraternities dues are higher than sorority dues.
At least where I'm at.
Oh ok that make sense. However the stark difference in quality of living between sororities and fraternities here I think are the reason why sorority dues are much more. While they may not have house parties, sororities have their fair share of social events, multiple exchanges, 2 invites, date dashes, plus sorority philanthropy events have a big social side too. And I guess here in LA there tends to be more DJs hired for parties than bands. Big name bands tend to get brought in for Fraternity Philanthropy events which benefit from having multiple sponsors.

I do not have the numbers for fraternity dues though, just basing this from what I've heard from friends.

Sorority dues for live-outs at SC are like $2000+; and live-ins $4500-5000 per semester.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old_Row View Post
There are more oos pnms at the Alabama schools in the last few years because of the way some of the surrounding states have changed admissions policies (Georgia, Florida, Texas etc.) The Alabama schools offer a nearby cost effective alternative with easier admissions and a similar kind of college culture.
Yeah I've heard that being mentioned too. Especially about how UT has become really competitive academically, and I believe UGA has been spoken about similarly.

Last edited by 28StGreek; 05-15-2012 at 09:48 AM. Reason: ETA
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  #13  
Old 05-15-2012, 10:53 AM
DeltaBetaBaby DeltaBetaBaby is offline
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Fraternities also have much higher insurance costs, as I understand it (though maybe someone more involved as an advisor can confirm/deny that).

Why does recruitment cost so much at the big SEC schools? I think it was $25 when I rushed at Illinois, and it's probably not that much more than that now, because they still get a lot of same-day sign-ups. I know they have to print recruitment booklets and buy shirts for the RC's, but what else are they spending all that money on when it costs $100/PNM?
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Old 05-15-2012, 11:06 AM
28StGreek 28StGreek is offline
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Fraternities also have much higher insurance costs, as I understand it (though maybe someone more involved as an advisor can confirm/deny that).
Ahh this is a very salient point about 'boys' I've completely overlooked. I wouldn't be surprised at all if it was confirmed haha

Quote:
Why does recruitment cost so much at the big SEC schools? I think it was $25 when I rushed at Illinois, and it's probably not that much more than that now, because they still get a lot of same-day sign-ups. I know they have to print recruitment booklets and buy shirts for the RC's, but what else are they spending all that money on when it costs $100/PNM?
Well the registration fee also funds retreats/training materials for ExecBoard/RC prior to recruitment. Especially living arrangements/food/etc if they are put up in a dorm during rush school. And some of it possibly may go to other Panhellenic events throughout the semester.

Certainly $100/PNM hasn't put that much a damper on SEC recruitment.
Last fall the registration fee at SC was $95 (and early registration was $70).

When it was being discussed "what makes a recruitment culture super competitive?" wasn't one of the criteria that Panhellenic could charge a lot for registration and there would still be no shortage of PNMs
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Old 05-15-2012, 11:26 AM
DeltaBetaBaby DeltaBetaBaby is offline
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Originally Posted by 28StGreek View Post
Ahh this is a very salient point about 'boys' I've completely overlooked. I wouldn't be surprised at all if it was confirmed haha



Well the registration fee also funds retreats/training materials for ExecBoard/RC prior to recruitment. Especially living arrangements/food/etc if they are put up in a dorm during rush school. And some of it possibly may go to other Panhellenic events throughout the semester.

Certainly $100/PNM hasn't put that much a damper on SEC recruitment.
Last fall the registration fee at SC was $95 (and early registration was $70).

When it was being discussed "what makes a recruitment culture super competitive?" wasn't one of the criteria that Panhellenic could charge a lot for registration and there would still be no shortage of PNMs
Sure, and in a way, it means that you avoid PNMs who are doing it sorta half-assed. You could make the argument that same-day sign-ups are not a good thing at schools where membership is going to be a very large time/financial commitment.
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