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  #1  
Old 07-12-2000, 05:26 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Question $$$$$$$ question

I'm asking this out of my own curiousity.

To everyone from large Greek schools (I'm talking U of Illinois, Ohio State, UCLA, like that) -

About how much money would it take to start a new chapter of a national organization (house included) at a school like yours?

Also - is it realistic to think of having a chapter at a school like that without a house?
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  #2  
Old 07-12-2000, 11:46 PM
Bruin-ette
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I don't know what school in particular you want to establish an organization at, but I established a chapter of a national organization at UCLA without a house. It's worth noting that the organization I started is an ethnic GLO. None of the ethnic GLOs at UCLA had/have houses and they do just fine. I don't know if there are any fees involved in bringing an IFC or NPC organization to a campus.
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  #3  
Old 07-13-2000, 10:52 AM
Missy
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At Louisiana State University, there are 10 NPC groups. Chapter total is 155 but many have almost 200. (I don't know if you would consider that a big Greek school. There are about 17 NIC, an agricultural sorority and I'm not sure the number of NPHC.)

For a new NPC to colonize, the minimum investment would be between $1.5 million - $2 million. All NPC groups own their own mansion style houses. The average appraisal is $1.75 million and they sleep about 55 members. A rule of thumb for NPC expansion is that a colonizing group must provide for its colony what is equal to the other NPC groups on campus. Therefore, a group can go without a house for a brief period of time but one is necessary to survive. There are no houses of that size available so one would need to be built. Cost is a huge factor and not many groups are willing to risk that much financially.
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  #4  
Old 07-13-2000, 11:44 AM
Eclipse Eclipse is offline
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Missy,
As a product of an HBCU, I don't have a lot of knowledge about Greek housing issues. My mouth just DROPPED when I saw the figures that you posted for houses. Who pays the figures--the current members who are having the house built, alum of the organization, the national office, etc? Do these houses get morgages or are the groups expected to pay this up front? If they do get morgages, who guarentees (sp?) the loan?

Sorry for so many questions, but I work at a major university now, and a fraternity is building a house that is HUGE. I can only imagine what it is costing them!
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  #5  
Old 07-13-2000, 02:32 PM
SoCalGirl SoCalGirl is offline
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Nationals tend to have housing funds too. We don't have houses at my school but new members are required to pay into the housing fund. Every member since we were colonized 22 years ago has. So if we ever do get a house we've got the down payment taken care of.

We used to have a house at UCLA but it shut down due to financial reasons. I asked our national VP Membership if it would ever be re-colonized. She said it would cost WAY to much to compete with the existing houses.
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  #6  
Old 07-13-2000, 02:38 PM
prospectiverushee prospectiverushee is offline
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I also attend Louisiana State and I wasn't aware of the figures,that Missy quoated. But given the size of the sorority houses, I wouldn't be surprize in the least. It is interesting to know that LSU has had a chapter of 21 of the 26 NPC sororites on campus at one time. I know from doing some independent research that Alpha Omicron Pi still owns a house on the row. I haven't never seen it so I'm not completely sure where it might be located. Perhapes they leased it out to a fraternity. All of the GLO have houses (except for the NPHC groups and the chapter of Sigma Alpha) And all of them are occupied except the once that got kicked off campus(ie Kappa Sigma.) But don't worry our lovely administration never one to let a money making opportunity go to waste
has turned the old Kappa Sigma house in to a residence hall for males.
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  #7  
Old 07-13-2000, 04:10 PM
Missy
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Hi Eclipse,

Yes, the numbers can be staggering. That's part of the reason why it has been difficult to bring a new NPC on campus.

Corbin gave a good summary of the process. Most groups have their new members pay a one-time fee called a building/house fund fee. This fee can be as much $400 but I have seen it is low as $100. The first part is due with initiation fees and the next part can be paid the following semester. Alumni/alumnae members, parents, and anyone else can also contribute to the building fund.

Now in the case at LSU, the great majority of fraternity and sorority chapters had at least 50 years of collecting these types of fees before their houses were actually built. Therefore they had nice little nest eggs. A colony would need some time to collect enough funding to get a loan for just the down payment. As an example, to build a 12,000-sq. ft. house at $100/sq. would be $1,200,000 (the cost of the most recently built fraternity house) not including architect fees. A 30% down payment on that type of mortgage would be $360,000. If you have 150 colony members paying $300 each to the building fund, that only comes up to $45,000. Sometimes the national organization can guarantee everything until a local house corp. can get up and running. That's what my husband's national did when they came on but they were able to purchase a vacant house. They really, really wanted a chapter at LSU. However, not all national level housing corps can or want to invest that much into a colony and I have found that fraternities are in a much better position to do this then sororities.

Another big expense is furnishing the house. Remember that these are not typical houses. The kitchens must be commercial grade just like a restaurant so the stuff from Sears, like in my kitchen, is not going to cut it. They also have to meet current fire code with sprinkler systems and such. My husband's fraternity had to upgrade their system recently which cost about $30,000 and the kitchen needed rewiring because the new code had the electric sockets 3 inches higher than the previous code. Don't forget about landscaping too.

The colonization costs in general would include travel for the expansion team - airline tickets, hotel, meals, and car rental. Consider how many would be traveling, the length of stay and how often they would have to come back. Most of these team maybe unpaid volunteers but you do have to factor in the cost of their time. Then there are things like publicity, advertising, promotional pieces, mail-outs, receptions/dinners and phone calls. Think about recruitment but on a larger scale. Also include the costs to support the colony through chartering and its first couple of years as a chapter. It adds up.

FYI - AOII sold the house last month. Delta Sigma Phi was the most recent occupant. I am not sure if either they or the university purchased the house.
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  #8  
Old 07-13-2000, 05:47 PM
Eclipse Eclipse is offline
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Thanks Corbin Dallas and Missy for the additional information. This has really cleared up some misconceptions on my part. Based on what you both have said I can see why current active members want to make sure they have a decent size pledge class to fill the house. I also always assumed that people that lived in Sorority or Frat houses lived there for free..you know, just pay your dues and the 'free' room was a perk of membership!

Let me ask you this question...why does housing play such an important role in your ability to attract new members? Do you feel that some people are just attracted to the gliz and glamour of a beautiful house and not to the organization itself?
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  #9  
Old 07-13-2000, 06:01 PM
BFulton BFulton is offline
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Question

Out of curiousity, do any NPHC group chapters have houses?
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  #10  
Old 07-13-2000, 07:33 PM
AlphaChiGirl AlphaChiGirl is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by BFulton:
Out of curiousity, do any NPHC group chapters have houses?
At Auburn University, the chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi has a large house on the frat row (which circles the campus). Other than that, I don't know of any others--can anyone help me out? I thought there was an NPHC group with a house at University of Alabama. As for the NPC sororities at Auburn, their meeting places are all in special sections of dormitories--would a situation like this make it less expensive to colonize a chapter? For example, at my school, the fraternities and sororities (just NPC and NIC) have their own sections in residence halls--complete with their own meeting rooms, kitchens, libraries, living spaces, and storage areas, including the rooms. I know that, as a result of this, our dues are considerably less than they would be than if we had a house. Can anyone clarify?
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  #11  
Old 07-14-2000, 12:04 AM
Corbin Dallas Corbin Dallas is offline
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I know when our house was built 26 years ago, alumni put up quite a bit of money to build it. When they built on to the house 15 years ago, it was mortgaged. I think we've mortgaged it again since then. We are still paying it off, though it should be paid off in the next few years. The housing corp. garauntees the loan. They are a corp., made up of alumni, that owns the house. this makes it easier to get loans, and makes insurance rates lower. since the active chapter, who has brand new members every four years could grow or shrink in size, or even fold, it's hard to get things done, but with a housing corp., it's much easier.

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Steve Corbin
Lambda Chi Alpha
Theta Kappa Zeta Chapter
Rose-Hulman Inst. of Tech.
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  #12  
Old 07-14-2000, 12:28 AM
Jennie
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I know that one of the houses in the Fraternity Row of LSU was being leased by Kappa Zeta, the local sorority. But I read recently that the University has withdrawn its recognition of KZ because of hazing reports, amongst other things. I'm assuming its vacant again.

I knew a girl that was in KZ for a few years and she said they were working on becoming a colony of a national, but she didn't say which ones. And she said she didn't think it would ever happen with what goes on in the chapter. Who knows what she meant.

Also, the catholic student center took over the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house after it was kicked off campus, following the drinking death of a pledge in 1997. Now that the new church is built, I guess the SAE house will be vacant again
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  #13  
Old 07-14-2000, 10:43 AM
Missy
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Eclipse: Housing is important, in this case, because everyone has one. It is a place to live, hang out, have dinners, have meetings, etc. and it's only you and your sisters - an "XYZ" haven. It is possible for a potential member to get caught up in the glitz. (It's almost like choosing a sorority because you look good in those colors.) However, it is still the people within the house that are important. Although, something to consider is that some chapters require their members to live in the house for at least a semester or two to keep it full. If everything else is equal in a potential member's choice between two groups (sisterhood, philanthropy, etc…), the potential member could use housing as a deciding factor. They may have a choice between living at "Tara" or "Delta Tau Chi - animal house". If the potential member is a Martha Stewart/Bob Vila type then the DTC house (physical structure) may be very appealing.

BFulton: Alpha Phi Alpha rented a university owned house at LSU for several years. It's the one that KZ rented, but now that Alpha is off of suspension, they will resume their prior lease. Southeastern Louisiana University is building a university-owned Greek Village by the same contractors who built the Village at the University of Alabama - Birmingham. Delta Sigma Theta is the only NPHC that I know of thus far that has signed an agreement to take one of these houses. The houses are scheduled to be ready for the Spring Semester. Good for them!

AlphaChiGirl: The residence hall situation as you described would definitely make it easier for a colonizing group. It would take some finagling but residential life could block off whatever was needed for the group. Every group would have the same kind of housing and financial aid could be used to cover housing expenses since its university owned.

LSU: LSU is a hard campus to attract another NPC group. (The NICs that have been colonizing recently are actually re-colonizations and they are using their same houses.) Prospective Rushee is right in that 21 of the current 26 NPC groups have or have had chapters at LSU. Only 10 of the 21 remain today. Most of the 11 others have had such bad experiences that they will not return to campus. When KZ came along seeking affiliation, Panhellenic sent out the expansion notice to all NPC groups. The only ones with any serious interest were the smaller NPC groups that have never had chapters there. (Smaller in the number of chapters - less than 100.) After the invited groups visited the campus, did their presentations, and put pen to paper, it was just not feasible. They couldn't afford this single investment when they could do several colonizations for the price of one. Housing is a serious issue and there really isn't a place to put a new one. The Alumni Center took up 4 lots and the recreation center behind Sorority Row took up about 10.
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  #14  
Old 07-14-2000, 10:54 AM
Gina_lynn Gina_lynn is offline
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Several chapters of Delta Sigma Theta have "houses" but they are not typically for residential use of the chapter. They are more or less offices and meeting spaces to hold functions and meetings.
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  #15  
Old 07-14-2000, 11:25 AM
equeen equeen is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by 33girl:
I'm asking this out of my own curiousity.
Also - is it realistic to think of having a chapter at a school like that without a house?
33girl, my chapter does not have a house, and we are thriving. However, we are not an NPC sorority (I think every NPC sorority at our school has a house, as do all the IFC fraternities). If I'm not mistaken, NPHC and CNHL greeks at OU don't have houses either, and they seem to be doing well!

------------------
equeen
A Lioness has her Pride!
@>--;--
Alpha Sigma Kappa - Women in Technical Studies

[This message has been edited by equeen (edited July 14, 2000).]
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