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  #1  
Old 10-24-2015, 11:54 AM
SunflowerState SunflowerState is offline
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Chapter House occupancy

Would anyone be willing to share the ins and outs of how they fill their chapter house each year? I'm an adviser to a chapter that always makes quota plus but we have some issues with filling the house. I'd like to know how others deal with the problem.

Don't suggest the national org. They are clueless and less than helpful. If we followed their suggestions, we'd be in an even bigger hole.

Here are some of the questions I'd like to see addressed:

Do you have an occupancy plan? Do you enforce it with women who have signed and paid a lease elsewhere? (Knowing that they usually choose to resign rather than deal with the problem of subletting and move in.)

Do you require exec to live in?

How do you fill spaces for those who want a semester's housing only because they are student teaching second semester?

Do you charge a move-out fee?

I'd love to hear any and all suggestions. Thank you all for your time. Your help in this and other issues is much appreciated.
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Old 10-24-2015, 12:49 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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As far as the student teaching issue, we almost always had women who had pledged in the fall (deferred rush, so sophomores and up) who wanted to move in in the spring. A lot of that depends on whether wherever they were living previously had a semesterly or yearly lease though.

Are the chapter houses considered on-campus? Does the campus require x semesters of living on campus? Do the majority of housing options (on and off campus) have semester or year leases?
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2015, 01:44 PM
FSUZeta FSUZeta is offline
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In my chapter exec had to live in, but we wanted to. Then occupancy was determined by a point system, people with the highest points having first opportunity to live in. Room choices were by initiation date. Seniors had first choice to opt out of living in, but the house had to be full before people could opt out. I vaguely remember a few student teachers interning out of town, and I think someone was allowed to move into that space. The student teachers graduated at the end of the semester they interned, so they were not displaced.

What is your housing policy?
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  #4  
Old 10-24-2015, 02:44 PM
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Sciencewoman Sciencewoman is offline
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I'm a house corp. board president. Per our national policy, all members are required to live in unless they are excused...student teaching elsewhere, study abroad, living with parents are the on the short list of approved excuses from the obligation. The chapter must pay for any empty beds.

The chapter needs to vote on a policy to ensure the house is filled, which our chapter did. So far the house has always been filled voluntarily...barely. The system is there just in case (we have 30 beds and over 125 members). There are only a couple positions that must live in...president and house manager. My daughter's Pi Phi chapter has the same officer live-in requirements. It's tricky when elections aren't held until after members have been signing leases...the current president found a sub-letter for her apartment, after she was elected.

You need some type of chapter-approved policy to make sure there is some formal means of ensuring a full house every year, and to hold members accountable for supporting the facility. Do your housing contracts early (like, now!), and remind people NOT to sign a lease elsewhere unless they know for sure that they aren't living in. I'm noticing that landlords are putting on the lease signing pressure earlier and earlier,and students are buying into that frenzy.
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Last edited by Sciencewoman; 10-24-2015 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 10-24-2015, 03:19 PM
Griffins&Quills Griffins&Quills is offline
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We don't have a "live-in" policy. It's voluntary for my campus, but we have no problem filling our house. That being said, if you do have a live-in policy, that would change things.

But, I doubt you would be able to force girls to live in the house if they already have a signed lease at an apartment. Had that gun been put to my head, I would've had to resign my membership as well because there was no way I had the money to break the lease. Most apartments charge A LOT to break a lease. Again, if you had a clear live in requirement and a girl decided to ignore it, different story.

Our whole exec didn't live in. Only the president, financial vp and new member orientation chair were required to live in, as well as the house manager, but that's not technically an exec position.

Why would you charge a move out fee? That's ridiculous. If you mean a fee for signing a contract saying they'll live in the house and then breaking it, that's different.

Last edited by Griffins&Quills; 10-24-2015 at 07:24 PM.
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  #6  
Old 10-24-2015, 03:57 PM
HQWest HQWest is offline
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We tell them when they are new members that the exec officers must live in and sophomore must live in until the house is full. Upperclassmen who return for a second year got first pick of rooms.
They can be excused if they prove they bought a house or condo prior to recruitment or if they have an internship out of town.
If they still go and sign a lease anyway then they will be fined - it is a hefty fine - one year's rent.
If they quit rather than move in - they probably were not adding much to the chapter. You may need to take a serious look at maintenance and improvements tonthe house. Is there something you can do to make it less expensive than a dorm or more convenient?
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  #7  
Old 10-24-2015, 05:41 PM
Benzgirl Benzgirl is offline
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Do you have an occupancy plan? Do you enforce it with women who have signed and paid a lease elsewhere? (Knowing that they usually choose to resign rather than deal with the problem of subletting and move in.)

Yes, it's written in the Bylaws and House Rules and it varies from chapter to chapter. Some chapters have a minimum number of years live-in requirements. Other chapters have it written that you are required to live-in every year unless you live locally with your parents or are an RA in the dorms. Some chapters get members to commit to house leases as early as October for the following year so they don't sign apartment leases. Once the house is full, there is an order in which the girls are able to live out, again specifically stated in the bylaws and house rules

Do you require exec to live in?
Yes and no. It depends on the number of beds in the house on which exec members are required to live-in. Small houses (defined specifically by our HQ) are required to only have 3 specific officers live in. Houses with more beds (again, defined) are required to have the President and all VPs live in but not all officers

How do you fill spaces for those who want a semester's housing only because they are student teaching second semester? Girls that are student teaching locally typically live in the house. They still need to live somewhere. We have had members who know they will be studying abroad, sign one-semester leases and split the year with another member. That is a chapter by chapter decision

Do you charge a move-out fee?If you mean, "break their lease", that is a legal action not a move-out fee. If you mean you charge them when their lease is up, the answer is no.
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Last edited by Benzgirl; 10-24-2015 at 05:48 PM.
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  #8  
Old 10-24-2015, 05:54 PM
Just interested Just interested is offline
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I'm House Corporation Board President of a chapter. We sleep 45 and our chapter size is right at 290. Council must live in and then sophomores. If the House isn't full the chapter has to make up the difference from their budget. We operate much the same way as Sciencewoman's chapter. We have a similar policy in effect. Contracts go out this week and are due before winter break. Who lives in is based on GPA.

Where we have had issues is we have to release girls on the wait list and then we have had issues with girls who were selected are contracted to live in transferring, medical/family issues etc. then we find ourselves scrambling to fill the empty bed late May or June. We do "buy out deposits" if we find someone willing to move in at a late date. We deduct that amount from her 1st semester rent. We do not offer one semester contracts. (we stopped that headache).
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Old 10-24-2015, 07:04 PM
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irishpipes irishpipes is offline
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If the house is not full, members are not rewarded by doubles becoming singles, triples becoming doubles, etc. Empty rooms are locked and unavailable.
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Old 10-24-2015, 07:33 PM
DubaiSis DubaiSis is offline
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Have you asked why they don't want to live in? If the house is icky, can it be updated to accommodate trends? Is it the cost? Are the girls just not that into living there? Is it badly located? First I'd find out the problem, second I'd try to fix the problem, and third I'd make sure all new members understand there is a commitment to the physical structure. If having a house on campus isn't optional, then the girls have to live in it. Period. If every girl can't commit to the house itself, then either the house has to go or the girls have to go. But before playing hard ball with the membership I'd take a good hard look at the problem and seek resolution.
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Old 10-24-2015, 07:54 PM
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IndianaSigKap IndianaSigKap is offline
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I agree with asking why women don't want to live in. If you offer meal service, is the food good? Is it healthy? Are there women with dietary needs such as celiac or diabetes that would have a harder time living in?

Does the house have a workout area? Does it have laundry facilities? All of those things would be of interest to college women.

Does it have fast w-fi? Does it have cable in every room? These are things that apartment complexes are offering to get tenants. You have to make your chapter house competitive with the off campus housing, if you want women to live in.
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  #12  
Old 10-24-2015, 07:55 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Not to derail the question, but back when the pledges moving in immediately was a thing, who had to live in the house? Was it by pledge class, officers, what? I just wondered if some of these houses (or if even the concept of houses in general) were built with that in mind.

As to why they don't want to live in, I'd also wonder how much of that attitude is coming from fwap fwap parents who don't want Snowflake in communal housing.

ETA: is it being stressed during pledgeship and (if all chapters have more or less the same setup) recruitment that living in the house is as much an obligation as paying dues or attending events, and if you don't want to or can't fulfill it, you shouldn't be a member? I'm just wondering if this is yet another hard truth that's gotten swept under the rug with today's "warm and fuzzy" new member periods.
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Last edited by 33girl; 10-24-2015 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 10-24-2015, 08:07 PM
Titchou Titchou is offline
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Not that many move New Members in immediately. The rule of thumb these days for house size is 25% of chapter size. General rule of thumb for living in is that you do it if there is space for you and your lottery number comes up (based on the individual chapter's standing rules that set the priorities for moving in). Certain officers such as exec usually are required to live in. Some chapters add certain other officers. And all groups have the goal of their housing being ""competitive" on that campus....and that can vary from campus to campus. Being competitive with the KKG house at Arkansas or the ChiO house at Mizzou can be quite the task!
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  #14  
Old 10-24-2015, 08:15 PM
HQWest HQWest is offline
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The most recent Data suggests that parents want their kids in dorms and communal housing and that is seen as safer. Demand for dorm space is up with freshmen - Even if it is more expensive
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Old 10-24-2015, 08:27 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Yes but "dorms" nowadays often are suite-style and there's no 30 some students sharing bathrooms or tv rooms, and the bedroom itself is a single much more frequently than it used to be. They can close the door and avoid socializing terribly easily. I'm guessing that is not the case even in the most well-appointed sorority house.
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