Sorority house directors serve as a stabilizing force for students
Sue Storey, house director of Alpha Phi sorority, said while there are many benefits to being house director, her favorite part of the job is the eclectic mix of personalities she comes into contact with every day.
“The most rewarding part of my job is meeting all of these young women,” she said. “They’re all just so weird.”
Storey has been watching over the members of Alpha Phi with a keen sense of humor and an extensive knowledge of the Greek system for four years.
Storey, who was in a sorority when she was an undergraduate at the University of Idaho, said she first became a house director because she was looking for a way to give back to the system that supported her as a student.
“I moved out of the area for about 45 years, and when I returned there was an open position for house director at the university,” Storey said. “I had such a wonderful experience with the Greek system as a student I thought, ‘Why not apply?'”
Storey said while there are many rewarding aspects of being a house director, the job comes with numerous challenges as well.
“The nickname for house directors is ‘House Mothers,’ but I feel more like a hotel manager,” she said. “The biggest part of the job is making sure all of the balls are in the air at once … It’s about making sure the toilets flush and the showers run and the meals are cooked.”
Storey said the duties of a house director range from conducting fire inspections for the City of Moscow to replacing light bulbs around the house to offering advice to students in need.
“What you do on a daily basis depends on what needs to be done to keep the house running,” she said. “It’s about making sure everyone is kept happy, that all things run right and that nothing falls through the cracks.”
Beth Balch, house director of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, said the duties of a director vary from house to house.
“Each house is unique, and they’re all run differently,” Balch said. “From managing the kitchen to working with the House Corporation Board to overseeing the maintenance staff — each director does it differently.”
Balch, who began her career as house director in 2011, said in addition to forming a close bond with students, there is a strong relationship among other house directors as well.
“All of the house directors get together once a month for lunch and twice a year the house directors of UI and WSU meet up,” Balch said. “We’re actually quite close friends.”
Storey said the relationships she’s formed with students and other house directors that make her job meaningful.
“It’s been an incredible experience and I’ve met a lot of wonderful individuals,” Storey said. “I don’t always know how to explain how I feel about my job … It’s just very fulfilling.”
Storey said another exciting part about being a house director is that she is able to learn from the members of her house.
“I’ve learned so much from all of the students I’ve met,” Storey said. “We’ve had a lot of laughs and good times. They keep me young and I learn something new from them every day.”
Storey said when it comes to the support and guidance aspect of the job, she feels more like an eccentric aunt than a mother.
“Everyone has their own parents and I don’t want to intrude on (those) relationships, but I care for these women as if they were my kids, in a way,” she said. “I’m very concerned about their welfare and happiness, and we do form very close bonds.”
Balch said house directors serve as parental figures because they strive to create a safe and nurturing environment for students.
“Our first concern is safety, but when it comes to guidance or instruction, we’re very hands-off,” Balch said. “The girls can come to us for advice, but for the most part they grow and develop and learn through their own structure of sisterhood within the house.”
Balch said she is in awe of the ways in which she sees the students in her house build relationships and take care of one another.
“As house directors, we serve as a stabilizing force,” Balch said. “We put so much of ourselves into maintaining these houses and caring for these students, and its an honor to watch them grow.”
Corrin Bond can be reached at email@example.com