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Housing & Meals with Sororities & Fraternities


Groups that are fortunate enough to enjoy a chapter house are responsible for the operation and upkeep of the house. The buildings are owned either by the university, an alumni group, or a national organization. Funding for the operations of these buildings comes from student rents. In most cases the rent is billed through the university Bursar system. Chapter houses are expensive to maintain and operate. All members benefit from having a chapter house, therefore, all members must contribute to their buildings operating budget. Nearly all chapters have a minimum requirement to live in their chapter house for at least a semester or two. In addition, there are parlor fees, or living out fees. Room and board fees vary and are in general less than the fees for living in residence halls or off campus.

A typical operating budget (student rent) would cover items like:

  • Common Area Housekeeping Services
  • Utilities
  • Internet/Phones
  • Repair and Maintenance
  • Building Insurance (does not cover personal possession)
  • Grounds Care

A typical chapter house has the following amenities and safety systems:

  • Study areas and computer rooms
  • Fire alarm systems (required)
  • Sprinkler (fire suppression) system throughout the building (required)
  • Laundry and exercise facilities
  • Limited parking spaces
  • Social gather spaces
  • Dining and kitchen areas

NOTE: Students are only released from their spring housing contract if they are graduating, going abroad or leaving the university. Contract releases for any other reason due to extenuating circumstances will be determined by, and are at the sole discretion of the Housing & Dining Contracts Office. Moving off-campus or in to a fraternity small residence is not an extenuating circumstance. Please contact if you have any questions or concerns.


Fraternities and sororities are social organizations. Taking meals together is a very strong bonding experience. Many chapters may require all members to purchase a meal plan for a certain number of weekly dinners. Chapters typically have a hired chef or cook to prepare meals. Meal plans for students living in the chapter house vary from one chapter to another. A chapter might have seven dinners and lunches per week with an open kitchen for breakfast and snacking, or dinners only with breakfast and lunch in an open kitchen. There are many variations offered. Many chapters also have meal plan options for members living out of the house. The cost and meals provided would be reduced when compared to those members living within the house.

Most new Fraternity or Sorority associate members will be permitted to reduce their meal plans for the spring semester to the Bear Supplemental Meal Plan, which offers 127 meal swipes and $400 in Big Red Bucks per semester at a cost of $1,800 total, or a traditional meal plan. To make this switch, you must sign the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life bid link and then reduce your meal plan with Cornell Dining by 11:59 p.m. Ithaca time March 3, 2021. To reduce your meal plan, email

Due to COVID, meals provided by the fraternity will have to be Grab and Go for new members.