By Fred Dobry (Indiana State)
As unbelievable as it may sound, another academic year is already upon us and it is time for chapters to get operations back up and running. A necessary part of that process is reopening the chapter house. In most cases, the chapter facility sits empty or with minimal tenants over the summer. As a result, there can be several “surprises” when the chapter arrives in the fall semester.
The following are several steps the chapter should take to properly prepare the chapter house for full residency once again and, hopefully, avoid some of those “surprises”:
- Schedule an inspection by the local Fire Marshal and correct any identified deficiencies.
- Schedule an inspection by a local building code official and correct any identified deficiencies.
- Ensure each member has signed an updated lease and paid their security deposit BEFORE allowing them to move-in.
- Distribute a copy of the chapter house policies (e.g. no smoking in the house, penalties for not completing house cleaning duties, etc.) and ensure these policies are regularly reviewed with all chapter members. It is recommended that you have each chapter member sign a form confirming he understands and will comply with the chapter house policies as well.
- Have each resident detail any issues with their room (e.g. holes in drywall, electric outlets not working, window issues, etc.).
- Set up all utility services (i.e. gas, electric, cable, internet, etc.). Check that internet equipment is updated and each resident room has access to high-speed internet.
- Develop and finalize a house cleaning schedule involving all chapter members and ensure there is a sufficient supply of cleaning supplies. The House Manager should verify with the chapter Treasurer that money has been allocated for the purchase of cleaning supplies over the academic year.
- Set up a meeting with the House Corporation, or other appropriate entity, to discuss budget, property insurance coverage, and any deficiencies identified in house inspections.
Many if not at all of the above items should be conducted in tandem with your local housing authority (House Corporation, landlord, Residence Hall Association, etc.). This list is meant to be a starting point for your fall chapter house maintenance.
Close communication with your House Corporation is essential to ensuring the chapter facility is properly prepared for full residency. So, if you haven’t done so already, give your House Corporation President or other appropriate advisor a call and discuss what needs to be done to get the house ready for another successful and safe academic year!