Most fraternities have a tough time filling their fraternity house. A house that isn’t full is a drain on a fraternity’s finances. It is much like a college student who has a credit card debt. The student makes sacrifices and pays and pays, but never seems to get ahead.
The reason why a lot of fraternities have a tough time filling the house is because living in fraternity houses is disgusting. The bathrooms are dirty. The rooms are normally small. There is no privacy. It isn’t an ideal living situation.
Despite that, having a house is essential for the fraternity to survive. The house is the center of fraternity life. It serves as the catalysis that brings brothers together. Because of this, it is necessary for brothers to make the sacrifice to live in the house.
However, there should be some benefit to their sacrifice to make it more appealing for brothers. If the fraternity is having a hard time filling the house, the fraternity should offer financial incentives to get brothers to live in the house. Also, by making rent more affordable than the other local living options will make more brothers want to live in the house to save money.
The biggest way to make living the house more desirable is by making the house as clean as possible. Each brother should feel responsible for the cleanliness of the house. Leaving food out or leaving empty beer bottles should never be acceptable.
The fraternity should encourage house improvement projects. These projects serve two purposes. Of course, it will improve the area that is worked on. It will also create a sense of pride and ownership in the house for those who did the work.
Financially, the fraternity should do whatever it can to not have the rent on a house cut into the fraternity budget. Ideally, the rent received from the guys living in the house should create a surplus for the fraternity. This surplus should be poured back into the house or saved as an emergency fund.
Fraternity leases should be for 10 months instead of 12. It is common for brothers to go home for the summer, leaving the chapter on the hook for the summer rent. Don’t fall into this trap because it will cripple your new year before it even starts. Figure out what the fraternity’s financial obligation for the year is, and divide that number by 10. That should be the minimum the house takes in for rent. On top of that, the rent brothers pay by living in the house during the summer will be straight profit for the chapter.
Having a fraternity house is a sacrifice. There is no doubt about that. However, the fun the brothers in the house will have will outweigh the inconveniences many times over.