Arts & CultureFraternity & Sorority Life

An average sorority house director discusses her role

Did anyone ever ask you as a child what your parents did for a living, and all you could do was shrug your shoulders?

For many of us, that’s how we feel when people ask us what exactly our sorority “house moms” do to merit the paychecks they receive for such a seemingly ambiguous role.

For Barbara Finch, a 23-year veteran of what she considers a profession, being a house “mom” is nothing more than being the overseer of a multimillion-dollar investment.

In fact, as her role evolved, the official name changed to house director, indicating that the women in this position are in charge of the physical plan of the house.

Finch stressed the distinction between being a house mom and a house director. As a house mom, she explained, “you’re more of the watcher of the women.” This was particularly true before the ’70s when the women had strict 7 p.m. curfews. Today, as house director, she doesn’t have as much say in the responsibility of the women.

“You can’t be judgmental with this job,” she said, although she doesn’t necessarily agree with the general alcohol culture on college campuses.

Every house director deals with bookkeeping, hiring and maintaining plumbers, electricians, handymen and fire marshals on a frequent basis.

“In fact,” Finch said, “I know most of them by first name. You have to. When there are 50 people living under one roof, the house can’t have a broken toilet for very long, so you have to gain that trust with companies, so they’ll come straight away.”

When asked if the noise has ever been an issue, Finch laughed. “I don’t ever expect it to be quiet, so it’s always a pleasant surprise when it is.”

For Finch, it’s the relationship with the women that keeps her coming back.

“These women are so vivacious!” she said. “They keep me young.”

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Brittany Nguyen

Brittany Nguyen