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Old 04-27-2002, 10:59 AM
madmax madmax is offline
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Does size matter?

I have heard of chapters that range in size from a handful of members to over 200.

What do you think is the ideal chapter size?

In general, I think bigger is better.. It makes it easier to raise money, fill a house, have a bigger house, field teams in intramural sports, service projects, ect.... When I pledged my chapter was in the 50-60 range but I think we had room to grow. I would have preferred to be in the 60-80 range.
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Old 04-27-2002, 11:10 AM
Dionysus Dionysus is offline
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I agree, the bigger the better of ANYTHING, when it comes to numbers. People always say that quality is better than quantity. IMO there is more quality WITHIN quantity.
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Old 04-27-2002, 12:13 PM
SilverTurtle SilverTurtle is offline
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The overall size of the student body will play a large part in the size of chapters, as well.

I attended a small school (roughly 1500-1700 students TOTAL). Participation in greek life was low, usually between 6-9% of the students. So, naturally, our chapters were smaller than, say, Ohio State down the street The smaller chapters could have literally around 20 active members... I don't recall any of the larger ones having more than about 60. My pledge class was 18 people, and was considered huge. Our chapter usually had between 35-40 actives every semester, which was on the larger end compared to everyone on campus.

I can definately see the benefits of larger chapters, but can't really imagine being in one! We didn't have houses, but did have floors of the residence halls dedicated to inidividual chapters. Sometimes it would be hard to fill enough spaces to keep it as the chapters' hall! (Independents could and did live on them as well... my sophomore year I lived on one of the local sororities' halls). But I remember how difficult it seemed to get to know all of the members, especially during pledging/new member education. And I can't imagine going through that with 130 members! Although I'm sure that those people who are from large chapters can't imagine being in a smaller one, either!

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Old 04-27-2002, 01:13 PM
Glitter650 Glitter650 is offline
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Although I can see the benefits of having a large chapter with 150 people or more, there are also benefits of having a smaller chapter. I'm in a small chapter and I know we all know each other very well, my class is very close as well. I have a friend who is in a huge chapter down south and it tends to be a lot more clique-y according to her, than my chapter, simply because of all the people. Also small chapters everyone gets a chance to do some sort of leadership position in the chapter eventually. I know sometimes in a larger chapter girls don't get a chance to participate right away and they sometimes get disinterested after they get initiated. Big chapters can always find girls to go to events however, I know at my chapter since most of the time eveyrone has to go to everything, girls can get burnt out on having to constantly do sorority stuff.
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Old 04-27-2002, 01:14 PM
sundevil2000 sundevil2000 is offline
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Big sorority=More money

I agree that size is more important, but when you are in a big sorority you want to be in a smaller one. Our chapter is approx. 120 going on 160 and everyone has seperated into clusters. To know 20 memebers well is easy, 30 hard, and over 50 impossible. Having a big chapter is good though because we have a lot of money to use, huge philanthropy's, we're big on intramurels, and have large attendance at events. Yet, when I walk around campus people say Hi to me and I have no idea that they are in my sorority. It's sad in a way but I guess money is important so...
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Old 04-27-2002, 01:43 PM
aephi alum aephi alum is offline
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Let me weigh in in favor of smaller chapters. I actually dropped out of formal rush and joined my local because the national sororities on my campus were quite large (around 100 members each) and I felt I'd never be able to truly call all of them "sister". It's true that more members = more money and more manpower (woman-power?) for fundraisers, events, intramural sports, etc., but with fewer members you get a much stronger bond of sisterhood. I knew the full names of all the members of my sorority (12 in all, counting my pledge class) before I even received my bid.

That said, I'd say the "ideal" chapter size is between 40 and 60. Large enough that you have enough people to field intramural teams, pull off a large-scale fundraiser, possibly maintain a small house, etc., but small enough that you can get to know at least everyone's names and not find yourself looking at someone in your GLO's letters and thinking "I don't know this person, is she in my chapter or just visiting?"
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Old 04-27-2002, 02:10 PM
xp2k xp2k is offline
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Originally posted by Dionysus
I agree, the bigger the better of ANYTHING, when it comes to numbers. People always say that quality is better than quantity. IMO there is more quality WITHIN quantity.
I would disagree with you Dionysus. Of course this is all my personal opinion...

Our chapter only has about 80 Active brothers of which about 45 live in.

Currently our house's live in capacity is about 55-60 (depending on how "close" you want to be). We are having it remodeled in the next 2 years and the live in capacity will be about 80. Many of the Alumni think that our capacity right now is ideal. They think that anymore then 60 will cause a breakdown in brotherhood.

Of course at IU, where most chapters are huge, you really cant do much with less then 70 brothers.

Smaller numbers mean a smaller budget and a smaller presence on campus, especially in philanthropy, campus involvement and intramurals. Also, considering the fact that sororities here average about 120, none of them will want to pair with a group that they outnumber 2-1.

Some of our other chapters have had 150+ brothers. I personally dont see how you can have any kind of brotherhood with a chapter that big!

Of course, our chapter at Purdue is smaller then ours (about 40 guys total) and they think that anything more then 60 is a strain on brotherhood.

So I would say...that it's all relative to how your greek system works, how close you want everyone to be and how hard you're willing to work to have a strong sisterhood/brotherhood.

I personally would like a house of about 40 guys, but I see no problem with a house of 85-90.

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Old 04-27-2002, 04:03 PM
stargirl725 stargirl725 is offline
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I think both large and small chapters have their merits, but it's also very important that a chapter be comparable in size with the other chapters on campus. There are a lot of really great small chapters out there, but when they are on a campus with a lot of big ones it's traditionally devastating during rush -- most girls overlook the small one, and that leads to big trouble -- we just lost a chapter on my campus because of a size issue.
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Old 04-27-2002, 10:25 PM
LexiKD LexiKD is offline
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I think bigger is better. Whatever total is should be what is in your group. My not? It makes things a lot easier you have more to choose from for leaders, social butterflies and so on....I do not mean that you should just COB until total. If you can find great women, why not take as many as you can?
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Old 04-28-2002, 12:11 AM
SigPiTO SigPiTO is offline
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Well, I'm gonna put my two cents in on this subject. I agree with the lovely KKG that stated that small chapters and large chapters have their own merits and that it should be based on the system you are in. For example, here at the University of Toronto we have about 55,000-60,000 students bt the average mens house is around 20, same with the girls (maybe a bit higher). That's with 17 fraternities and 7 sororities. You might think that that's bad, but what makes it even worse is the fact that some chapters take guys from College (which is Community college for the States) and from the two other Universities in Toronto. Going along with how the Toronto Greek system is, my chapter, which has 17 guys, ain't hurting too much. But if my chapter was at a school like Western Ontario we'd absolutely suck cause chapter size average there is about 40.

The one problem though having a small chapter is that you don't garner as much respect with your International office, other chapters and possibly your alumni (if the chapter was larger when they were around). I'm not saying that this is the case for my chapter, but I know that if we had more guys, say 35-40, some of our founding fathers may invest in a house for us (we're only one of 3 fraternities that doesn't have a house, and we're the youngest on campus). I'm done now, lates.

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Old 04-28-2002, 08:26 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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50-60 MAX. That's just my opinion. I want to know all my sisters, whether they are wearing letters or not. I cannot imagine looking across campus, seeing someone in my letters, and not knowing her name. Just the thought of that makes me feel empty inside. I would rather have more small groups than a few large groups. I think it would make it easier to connect.

But then again, if you go to a school w/ 35,000 people, 180 probably seems like an intimate tea party. I didn't want that kind of school, so I think it is logical that I wouldn't want that kind of sorority. There are people who DO want that kind of school and sorority and love it and thrive. Different strokes for different folks.

I think it is all what you are used to, or in the case of rushees who are legacies, what you were brought up with. If your mom took you as a child to visit her huge house at LSU and you end up at a college where the groups have 6 person houses, you will most likely say "what is this weak ass shiznit?"

As far as how your nationals look at you, I agree that the whole situation needs to be taken into account. 35 members may not sound impressive until you hear that there are 1000 people in the school and only 1% goes greek. Then you've got a third of the Greek population!
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Last edited by 33girl; 04-28-2002 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 04-29-2002, 11:01 AM
shadokat shadokat is offline
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I'd love to be in a large chapter to see what it is like to have all of the benefits that go along with it. I think that my smaller chapter (40) was great for my school, but I imagine that having a large house and lots of sisters would be fun too.
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Old 04-29-2002, 06:03 PM
OnePlus69Is70 OnePlus69Is70 is offline
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Wow, I can't even imagine a chapter of 150. I'm at UMass, which is a big school by New England standards (18,000), but there are relatively few Greeks (maybe 600). Our biggest fraternity has about 50, our biggest sorority about 60. Everyone generally stays in the 30-40 range, and I think that's about the right size for us. I know every brother in my house, where he's from, what he's studying, who he spent last night with, etc. I didn't even have 150 people in my graduating class from high school, I can't imagine calling that many people brother.

On a slightly seperate note, having a small Greek system is not a bad thing either. At UMass, being a Greek means living a life seperate from 95% of campus- the houses are off-campus, way off campus in a few cases, most people have no idea what a Greek is, and if they do it's usually not a positive conotation. The people who are Greeks want it and work for it- there's no way to half-ass Greek life here.
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Old 04-29-2002, 06:30 PM
FuzzieAlum FuzzieAlum is offline
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Like StarGirl said, the most important thing (esp. for sororities) is to be compatible with the other chapters on campus. If you're too much smaller, even if you're at a reasonable size to still operate, this will affect your image - which affects your ability to rush. Whether you want 5 or 50 new members, you want to be able to get them easily, and to get the members you want, not to struggle for them.

But there are upper and lower limits. Chapters of fewer than 15 members are hard to sustain - everyone has to do a lot of work, and a few bad apples can really take the whole house down. Even if that's the campus standard, I think it's on the small side.

If you have a whole lot more than 150 members, though, it is hard to know them all. But in a case like that, there's an easy solution - Panhel can always bring another sorority in and reduce ceiling, if chapters feel they are getting unweildy. I'm sure at a certain point being huge reduces the chapter's desirability - I mean, who would want to be part of a 500-person pledge class, if such a thing existed?
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Old 04-29-2002, 07:59 PM
xp2k xp2k is offline
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Hi all,

I know I've already commented on this post but after hearing some comments I thought I would just make one more response.

Though we all seem to agree that chapter size is relative to your school's population and greek strength, I think that there is a point where "the bigger the better" idea becomes rediculous.

Even though it might be necessary, I absolutely cringe at any group that reaches over 150 (there is a fraternity here at IU that is that big). I have RARELY (as in never) heard of such groups functioning, on a fraternal level, the way that groups can with a mere 80-115 members.

Yes, groups that size have great campus involvment, intramural participation, and name recognition. But I have often seen such groups suffer from severe sectionalism (as in "clique disorder"), not to mention a lack of intimate knowledge of eachother.

I once saw a girl in a sorority here at IU walk up to another girl and go "hi, my name is such and such...i'm in your pledge class". I found that to be a little akward, well for me at least. (no, I dont think she joined pledgeship late).

Just two more of my cents.

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