With COVID-19 coronavirus concerns leading officials to enforce new social distancing and conduct rules, Shippensburg University’s Greek life chapters must find a new way to stay alive.
Greek life members had a tough time dealing with the pandemic as the campus closed during the middle of spring recruitment last semester.
“With human interaction being cut down, chapters have found ways to keep in contact and keep up with chapter’s needs. Alpha Sigma Tau member Brooke Hopkins said.
Hopkins said Zoom has provided a way for the sisters to remain connected.
The Panhellenic Council and Interfraternity Council (IFC) came to the decision to have both Zoom and in-person meetings for fall recruitment in order to safely gain new membership.
Fall recruitment is considered “informal,” meaning an undergraduate student may choose which sorority or fraternity event they want to attend. For many Greek life members, fall recruitment is considered “more relaxed” than the formal spring recruitment process.
A major part of the recruitment process is connecting and bonding with the new recruits. Many Greek chapters fear that they will not be able to properly connect with potential new members due to online meetings and social distancing. Like other student groups, Greek life chapters must limit the number of members present during in-person meetings.
“Since we have a much more limited time scale with the new members, we have all been focusing on how to have the best possible conversations and how to really get to know the potential new members before giving out bids,” Panhellenic Council Recruitment Chair Emily Drennan said.
The Panhellenic Council started its recruitment last Thursday by advertising on social media and providing a sign-up link in each chapter’s Instagram bio. The sign-up survey will show the number of potential members who prefer online sessions or in-person meetings and events. The responses will help chapter officials to plan recruitment events for the fall.
SU Greek life officials suspended all social functions other than recruitment until further notice to try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and to ensure that sororities and fraternities can continue to remain active and enroll new members.
“We understand that this decision will not come easy to many, but we are asking you all to put the longevity and health of our chapters above the social culture that we have become accustomed to,” IFC officials said in a statement.
All recruitment events must be held on campus this semester with all Greek chapters and potential new members wearing a mask and also must abide by the social distancing protocols.
With coronavirus concerns, sororities and fraternities are anxious on the number of new recruits they might gain. Drennan said she hopes each sorority will have a healthy sized new member class, but it is too early to tell.
“The total that was set for this semester was 38, so many chapters have the potential to get about 10 new members. However, we will have to wait and see if that is possible this semester with everything going on,” Drennan said.
Despite recruitment concerns, Greek Life will not allow fall informal freshman recruitment this semester. The Panhellenic Council and Interfraternity Council will not break the rules nor SU’s policy of including students without a GPA.