What Sorority Women Want (from Fraternity Men)

by Josh Orendi

Recently, I visited with 77 women representing 4 national sororities during a Panhellenic meeting. (Background information is below) I asked the women if they would describe the current fraternity men on campus as "gentlemen." After several women called out in unison "hell no" and a few seconds of laughter followed, the women shared their honest feedback of the men in their fraternity community ‐ I wouldn't call their descriptions flattering. 

I then offered an exercise for us to do together and asked the ladies in the room what characteristics and qualities they wanted most from the fraternity men. I encouraged them to be brutally honest and gave suggestions " "if you want cute guys, write cute. If you want gentlemen, tell me what qualities you are most interested in. If you want tall guys, write tall. Just tell me what's important to you." The women were given note cards and asked to write down 3-5 characteristics. Here are the results:

Intelligent/Smart (51)
Respectful (36)
Dedication/Involved/Leader (20)
Friendly/Good Personality (20)
Handsome/Cute/Attractive (18)
Nice/Kind (14)
Funny (10)
Helping/Service-oriented (10)
Trustworthy (9)
Mature (9)

Not Alcoholics (8)
Honest (8)
Fun (8)
No Jerks/No Tools (7)
Polite (6)
Not Man-whore (6)
Gentleman (6)
Athletic (4)
Good Values (4)

Social (3)
Partiers (3)
Caring (3)
Easy Going/Down to Earth (3)
Responsible (2)
Not partiers (2)
Compassionate (2)
Tall (2)
Reliable (2)
Chivalrous (2)
Well Groomed/Clean (2)
Well Rounded (2)

Not Cocky
Not Socially Inappropriate
Good Listener
Open Minded
Good Conversationalist
Nice Teeth
Risk Taker

When fraternity men take the time to ask sorority women what they value and want most from them, this data speaks a clear message. The overwhelming majority of women respond to a man's mind, his heart, and his actions as a gentleman. They are aware of our actions, our intentions, and our commitments ‐ to them and those around us. 

Respondents clearly valued men that were social and fun, but the reviews were mixed on whether that meant "partiers" ‐ though they are clearly asking us not to drink to the point of being a jerk, tool, or embarrassment. Sexual moderation is also encouraged. These ladies are ready for responsible, mature, kind men with a sense of humor. Based on the feedback, it wouldn't hurt to have nice teeth, strong arms, and some basic hygiene, too. 

Men can be dense and we rarely read this far down in a blog post, so feel free to cut/paste this paragraph and send it to your favorite fraternity man: 

Dear Frat Dude,

Please, put down the Natty Light and pick up your text books. Give back. Keep your pants on. Smile. Open a door for us. Get involved, then show up. Be a little nicer. Hit the gym. Keep your word. Shave.

Sorority Women of the World

Background Information
5000 undergraduates on campus. There are six fraternities on campus (half are colonies) representing less than 1% of the male student body. Very few student leaders are Greek. The fraternity GPA is approximately even with the all-male 2.5 GPA. The average chapter size is less than 15 members. Retention is a concern. Few alumni live in the area to support the existing groups. Service/Philanthropy is not a focus. Financial challenges abound. Conversations about ritual/values are rarely happening. The police are currently staking out one of the fraternity houses. Alcohol is a standard part of most fraternity activities, especially social functions. Non-greek students have little understanding or interest in the fraternity community as it exists today.