Greek Life: Don’t ‘rush’ a financial decision

If you are someone who joined Greek life with the notion that a $200 fee would be the only payment you would need to make throughout the semester, you may have been taken aback by hidden fees and fines.

The official semester fee typically covers dues, chapter fees, administrative fees, nonresident/house parlor fees, a one-time pledging and initiation fee, a pin (to be worn at meetings) and a letter jacket, according to an article in the New York Times. The Times reported that a sorority member at the University of Georgia pays $1,580 per semester, without counting the fines, philanthropy and incidentals, which hike the price up even more.

While semester fees at Seton Hall University are significantly lower, they still do not cover the costs of personal letters, fines or merchandise for a member’s “little,” a mentee from a later pledge class. A “big” is an older member who is assigned a younger member of the sorority or fraternity, the “little,” to assist him or her and act as a role model to the younger member, according to www.gmu.edu.

According to Rebecca Davison, assistant director of Leadership Development and the Greek liaison, dues will vary depending on the sorority or fraternity, but typically Seton Hall organizations pay between $120 and $350 per semester for the chapter fee alone. Some of this fee includes insurance, operational costs and sisterhood or brotherhood events.

“I believe that our chapter dues are fairly low when compared to other campuses,” Davison said.

Junior Emily Hoff, sorority member of Alpha Omicron Pi, said she pays about $316 for each semester, which includes letter jackets, clothing material, pins (mandatory to wear at meetings) and social events. She said it does not cover letters a member wants to buy for herself or her little and typically bigs like to “spoil” their littles.

“You don’t have to spend a lot (on littles), but of course people will splurge,” Hoff said.

She also said members are fined around $50 for each mandatory meeting or event they do not attend.

According to the Times article, sororities typically enforce a fine while fraternities do not.

Junior Kyle Packnick, 2014 Chapter President of Alpha Sigma Phi, said his fraternity does not inflict fines on members.

“No fines. We believe that negative reinforcement is ineffective,” he said.

Packnick said the Alpha Sigma Phi semester fee is $200, plus a one-time Nationals fee of $675.

“The Nationals fee goes to Alpha Sigma Phi headquarters to assist in non-profit organizations,” he said. “The $200 dues go towards brotherhood events, rush shirts, alumni materials, website fees, fraternity composites, scholarships and other director related positions (philanthropy, service).”

Packnick said one member is financially inactive this semester, but this is not a regular occurrence in his fraternity.

“Money should not be a concern when joining our fraternity,” he said. “We will assist you in finding ways to make the necessary payments. That said, we do have the lowest dues on campus.”

Packnick said he does not mind paying dues because “that money is used towards events that can better the community and further relationships within and outside of the fraternity.”

While fraternities may have it easier with payments, sororities on campus at Seton Hall still have to pay the fines and according to The Times, only legitimate excuses such as an illness with a doctor’s note can get a member out of the payment…not a test or paper for school.

Lindsay Rittenhouse can be reached at lindsay.rittenhouse@student.shu.edu.

Author: Lindsay Rittenhouse

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