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  #1  
Old 02-07-2017, 09:09 AM
shadokat shadokat is offline
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Disaffiliation

Has anyone noticed a higher rate of disaffiliation after initiation lately? As a collegiate member back in the 90s, we never had one woman disaffiliate from our chapter, and I don't think we had more than 2 in the 7 years I advised. Maybe it's just my thought process, but part of me thinks that the young women today see the sorority as a bit disposable at times. Thoughts?
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Old 02-07-2017, 09:27 AM
carnation carnation is offline
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Yes. It was so rare back in the day! Now I'm even seeing a noticeable number of women leaving the "really desired" groups on campuses with little reason.
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Old 02-07-2017, 10:37 AM
JayhawkAOII JayhawkAOII is offline
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Oh god yes. I think it is an effect of the millennial generation not understanding that building relationships takes time and that not everything in the world is unicorns pooping rainbows. They have gotten to the point where they don't want to have any kind of uncomfortable conversation - with anyone - that they will just quit rather than working through any difference. For a group of young adults that is supposed to value "open-mindedness", I think that often means only open-minded if you agree with them.
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Old 02-07-2017, 10:43 AM
Xidelt Xidelt is offline
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Yes, agree! I also think it has to do with women not being as able to balance multiple things at one time. Maybe it's because parents are helping to fill this need while the student is at home?
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  #5  
Old 02-07-2017, 12:42 PM
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And (beating the dead horse) the shortened new member period, IMO, contributes to attrition. This has been discussed in other threads vis-a-vis possible reasons for same. I don't have statistical data to support this statement. It's an opinion.

Would like to see NPC do research on retention rates for the member groups, but there's a snowball's chance in hell of that happening.
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Old 02-07-2017, 03:14 PM
shadokat shadokat is offline
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Wow, THANK YOU! You all confirmed what I thought might be an anomaly. I get it that greek life won't be for everyone, but like you said carnation, it's a noticeable number now. How do we change that? Is it something we can change? I'm just looking for some ideas and thoughts.
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Old 02-07-2017, 05:23 PM
ComradesTrue ComradesTrue is offline
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You aren't imagining things. I was the last pledge class of my chapter to do the full semester, so I was there for the before and after. There was definitely a different mindset of my class and those who were older versus the 3 classes that followed me.

I have data for one chapter of one organization, so obviously nothing that can be extrapolated or be deemed statistically significant. However, there has been a sharp increase in resignations over the past 20 years. It's gone from <1 year to some years with as many as 15-20. Average each year maybe in the 8-10 range. What could account for this? Personally, I think it is multi-factorial.

1. I agree that a shortened new member period is fully in play. You don't give up on something that you waited much longer and worked harder to get.

2. The culture and attitudes have changed. Women of my generation wouldn't think of resigning- it was so rare. Those who did resign just disappeared and we truly never heard from them again. Present day? As number of resignations have increased, the stigma of dropping out has decreased. Members now can resign yet still socially be in the mix. No one thinks twice about it. It's just not perceived as negative by those in the chapter.

3. Larger pledge classes. There are many advantages to our growing member rolls, but maintaining the close knit fiber of a pledge class is lost. Not only do we see less loyalty to an organization, but it next to impossible to feel loyalty to a class of 80 instead of 20. And I don't mean loyalty in the "duty" sense, I mean a close, personal relationship type of loyalty to each individual member. It's easier to fall to the background, and then fully fall out of sight when you are 1/80 instead of 1/20.

4.Purpose in joining. 30 years ago I think women joined for the sisterhood. Yes, there was what today would be called hazing, but most of those activities focused on get to know you tasks. Today, I think the motivations for joining has broadened. There are still those who seek sisterhood. Others join for philanthropy. Some because all their friends from high school are doing it, and a few simply because they view it as a t-shirt club. There are also the kids for which their entire lives/means of meeting people have been structured and it's the only way they know to make friends. The problem with all these new reasons: they can be fleeting: there are other ways to be involved with charities, and if one gets too busy for volunteer work then the sorority has lost its shine. The t-shirt crowd was never there for the right reasons. The structured kids finally make friends and don't need the outlet anymore. And as referenced above, there is no negative social consequence for quitting.

5. Time commitment. These kids have had to overachieve from a young age. I see it in my elementary kids lives. The pressure is there to not just take dance, but be on the dance team that goes to competitions. Not just play baseball, but be an 8 year old who travels. What it took in my day to get into college vs the activities required now is out of control and they have all been doing it for 10+ years. Now the competition is to get in to grad school/law school/med school is off the charts. Something has to give, and for some it becomes sorority membership. I disagree with their decision, but do acknowledge the broad range of activities, leadership, research, etc., happening in these young women's lives, and also that at some point they reach burnout state where enough is enough.

Personally, I think the shorter NM class is the original root of the increase, but as society has changed over the past 20 years the other factors have played a role too. Who knows what membership would look like if it were still a semester? perhaps we would still have these newer factors contributing to a small uptick, but count me firmly among those who believe those who wait an entire semester are going to think much longer about quitting.

I know we have said this over and over- would be interesting to see Chi Omega's stats compared to everyone else. Doubt that will ever happen but wouldn't it be fascinating?
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Old 02-07-2017, 06:15 PM
ASTalumna06 ASTalumna06 is offline
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I was going to mention ComradesTrue's #5. Many of these students may initially feel a need to be involved in everything. And then perhaps they realize they don't need to be. Or maybe the time commitment for the sorority is so large, that they could instead spread their time and effort over different organizations and stack their resume. Let's face it - the job market right out of college for those entry level positions nowadays is extremely competitive.

Also, with the larger pools of PNMs comes less room for legacies. It's more difficult to get your legacy chapter now, then say, compared to 20-30+ years ago. I think this would be another interesting item to research - how many of those dropping are doing so because they didn't get their legacy chapter?

Also consider the "ease" of joining now. Back in the day, PNMs needed recs, they had to dress appropriately, they had to have great conversations. That hasn't really changed. However, getting recs (and finding an alumnae panhellenic) sometimes requires no more than a few clicks of a mouse. YouTube videos are teaching PNMs how to dress and what to say. Heck, we've even seen the posting of questions drastically drop here on GC. And when something is that easy to sign up for, it can be just as easy to drop.
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  #9  
Old 02-07-2017, 06:49 PM
honeychile honeychile is offline
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Originally Posted by ASTalumna06 View Post
I was going to mention ComradesTrue's #5. Many of these students may feel a need to be involved in everything. And then perhaps they realize they don't need to be. Or maybe the time commitment for the sorority is so large, that they could instead spread their time and effort over different organizations and stack their resume. Let's face it - the job market right out of college for those entry level positions nowadays is extremely competitive.

Also, with the larger pools of PNMs comes less room for legacies. It's more difficult to get your legacy chapter now, then say, compared to 20-30+ years ago. I think this would be another interesting item to research - how many of those dropping are doing so because they didn't get their legacy chapter?

Also consider the "ease" of joining now. Back in the day, PNMs needed recs, they had to dress appropriately, they had to have great conversations. That hasn't really changed. However, getting recs (and finding an alumnae panhellenic) sometimes requires no more than a few clicks of a mouse. YouTube videos are teaching PNMs how to dress and what to say. Heck, we've even seen the posting of questions drastically drop here on GC. And when something is that easy to sign up for, it can be just as easy to drop.
I think I've said this before, but when I went to school, I honestly thought that anyone who wasn't in a sorority or fraternity had tried to join, but didn't get a bid! It was special, without being elitist, and I'd like to see that aura return.
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  #10  
Old 02-07-2017, 07:15 PM
FSUZeta FSUZeta is offline
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Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.....to all of the above.
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  #11  
Old 02-07-2017, 07:32 PM
Cheerio Cheerio is offline
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Lack of financial wherewithal also comes into play. Scholarships can be lost due to grades or discontinuance by government and by organization. A parent or the student herself may suddenly lose a job.

Over the past ten years some NPC orgs have spent a good deal of money on new/remodeled homes, and initiates must pay the heavy price.

Panhellenics, campuses and individual sororities try to do a good job informing PNMs concerning sorority member costs, but even with that information women who are excited to belong on Bid Day can eventually fall into debt and consider dropping.
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Old 02-07-2017, 10:40 PM
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Sciencewoman Sciencewoman is offline
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Time commitment is the major issue I see. Greek life is a major time commitment, and if you're on the fence, it's easy to question how much time you're expected to give.

It also seems like mandatory attendance at a variety of events, merit points, study hour tracking, and fines have played a part in discouraging enthusiasm with some. These tracking systems have increase exponentially since I was an active, and they can feel overwhelming. We have an app for tracking everything now. Again, if you're not 100% committed and feeling the love, these can be "one more thing to do" that isn't very fun.
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Old 02-08-2017, 12:32 AM
ASTalumna06 ASTalumna06 is offline
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Lack of financial wherewithal also comes into play. Scholarships can be lost due to grades or discontinuance by government and by organization. A parent or the student herself may suddenly lose a job.

Over the past ten years some NPC orgs have spent a good deal of money on new/remodeled homes, and initiates must pay the heavy price.

Panhellenics, campuses and individual sororities try to do a good job informing PNMs concerning sorority member costs, but even with that information women who are excited to belong on Bid Day can eventually fall into debt and consider dropping.
And considering current tuition costs and the amount of debt students are finding themselves in, sorority dues are probably the first expense be cut when financial struggles become a reality.
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Old 02-08-2017, 08:33 AM
ForeverRoses ForeverRoses is offline
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I see #2 all the time. The women drop so that they aren't paying dues, but they still live with their pledge sisters, attend events, etc. It is no longer a big deal to drop.

(Until their biological little sister goes through recruitment and isn't considered a legacy and member that dropped freaks out)
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Old 02-08-2017, 08:35 AM
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From my lane, also yes. I don't think our financial burden has changed that much and tuition is still only about $5,000 per year at our school.
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