What Are Sorority Chapter Meetings?

What the heck are chapter meetings? Your questions and more answered.

After the excitement from sorority recruitment and Bid Day you’re probably thinking…now what? What happens next as a new member in a sorority?

Hopefully your New Member Educator has informed you about new member meetings and chapter meetings, but they probably have not told you much about what goes on during these meetings.

So in today’s blog post, we’re talking all about sorority chapter meetings. And I’ll be addressing common questions about them such as:

So sit back, relax, maybe grad a pencil to jot down some notes, and let’s get started!

A group of diverse women posing together before their sorority chapter meeting.

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What is a sorority chapter meeting?

Chapter meetings are when active members of the sorority gather to talk about problems within the chapter, upcoming events, and vote on matters such as changes to the chapter’s bylaws or standing rules or vote in sisters for leadership positions.

What is the difference between new member meetings and sorority chapter meetings?

As a new member of a sorority, you will attend two types of chapters: new member meetings and chapter meetings.

The main difference between these two meetings are the information you learn from them.

During new member meetings you will learn the basic information about your sorority such as:

  • Who the founders are
  • What date the sorority was founded
  • What university the sorority was founded at
  • Symbols of the sorority

And you will learn about how your individual chapter functions in regards to, but not limited to:

  • What leadership positions are available
  • How the Big Little process works
  • Your chapter’s bylaws and standing rules

But chapter meetings are focused on information about what’s happening in the sorority currently and how the chapter can be improved.

Also, during chapter meetings as a new member, you will be excluded from ritual ceremonies (unless they directly involve new members) and conversations about Big Little until you are initiated into the chapter.

When are sorority chapter meetings?

Every chapter varies the day and time chapter meetings are, but they usually occur once a week unless there is school break.

For example, when I was an active member in my chapter of Gamma Phi Beta, we had chapter meetings every Sunday at 4 PM EST in the business building at my university.

Where are chapter meetings held?

If your sorority chapter has a house, your chapter meetings will be held there.

If your sorority does not have a house, then your meetings will most likely be held somewhere on campus in a classroom or auditorium.

You can expect your chapter meetings to be held in the same location at the same time throughout the entire duration of your active membership. In the three years of my time in Gamma Phi Beta, we only had our meeting location moved once due to scheduling conflicts.

How long are sorority chapter meetings?

The length of chapter meetings really depend on (1) what’s on the agenda for that meeting, (2) if there are guest speakers, (3) what type of chapter it is (formal, semi-formal, or informal), and (4) if there are chapter elections taking place.

In most cases, expect your chapter meetings to last an hour to two hours, but it may be longer if your chapter is holding elections or if there is a ritual ceremony.

I think the longest chapter meeting I’ve endured was 4-hours, but we were having elections.

What happens at sorority chapter meetings?

At all chapter meetings you can expect the executive council/executive leadership team to go over their individual announcements with the Chapter President doing their announcements last.

For example, at my chapter meetings, our Public Relations Vice President would announce any upcoming public relations (PR) Events and/or have members of leadership under her, like Philanthropy Chairwoman, make their own announcements.

Besides announcements, there may also be activities your chapter does as a whole or in small groups.

For example, at one of our chapter meetings, we had a guest speaker come in and teach us self-defense skills. We’ve also had local clothing boutiques come in and raffle off gift cards (I actually won a $100 gift card before).

Your chapter may also break into small groups to talk about topics like self-confidence, body awareness, bullying, drug and alcohol awareness, and more.

What do I wear to a sorority chapter meeting?

Your chapter attire will depend on what type of chapter meeting it is.

As a new member you will learn all about the appropriate chapter attire for your own chapter, but in my personal experience, we had 3 different chapter attires:

  1. Formal business attire
  2. Business casual
  3. Casual

Formal business attire

For formal chapter meetings you’ll need to wear outfits that you would wear to church on Sunday or to a job interview. That means a nice, full coverage dress, nice pair of pants with a nice full coverage blouse, and heels or wedges.

Business casual attire

You’ll occasionally be allowed to wear jeans (with no holes) to chapter paired with a nice full-coverage blouse. You could also wear a full-coverage dress and heels too, but the dress doesn’t have to be as fancy as the ones you’d wear to a formal chapter.

Casual attire

For informal chapters, you can wear whatever you want as long as it is appropriate, meaning no revealing outfits or pajamas. Normally for informal chapters I wore Nike shorts and a t-shirt. However, you can still wear formal or business casual attire.

What happens if you violate chapter dress code?

Not wearing the appropriate chapter attire, especially if the attire for that meeting was suppose to be formal business or business casual attire, could result in getting sent home by the Standards Chairwoman and a monetary fine.

Violating chapter on multiple occasions could also result in a standards hearing with executive council or even your membership terminated.

Are you required to attend chapter meetings?

Yes, attendance is required by all new members and initiated sisters.

However, chapters are understanding, to an extent, about sisters who need to miss a chapter meeting or two for family or personal emergencies or needing to study for a huge exam the next day.

But we’ll talk about about that in the next section…

What should I do if I need to miss a chapter meeting?

If you need to miss a chapter meeting, you’ll need either an excuse note/documentation to avoid a monetary fine or you’ll need to use your “free pass” if your chapter provides one.

For most sorority chapters, only a few events count as excusable:

  • Personal illness (w/ doctor’s note)
  • Participating in a wedding
  • Death of a loved one
  • Attending a funeral

And to be excused you will need to provided appropriate and legitimate documentation like a doctor’s note or a copy of the wedding invitation of the wedding you’re participating in .

In regards to “free passes” some chapters do offer members the ability to skip a chapter meeting with no questions asked and no documentation needed.

For example, my sorority chapter gave each Sister one “skippy” per semester.

If we wanted to use our skippy, we had to email our chapter’s secretary at least 24-hours before chapter for our skippy to count.

However, your chapter should have the process of how to get a missed chapter meeting excused outlined in its bylaws or standing rules document.

Concluding thoughts on sorority chapter meetings

Joining a sorority is a huge time commitment with all those chapter meetings you have to attend.

But hopefully this blog post has given you insight about chapter meetings and what to expect at them.

However, if you have any other questions regarding sorority chapter meetings, please feel free to leave them in the comments section down below and I’d be happy to answer them to my best abilities.

Related posts to chapter meetings in sororities

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