Rushing to online

Graphic by Elizabeth Nguyen | Mercury Staff

A warm welcome from their sorority sisters used to feel close and personal. Now, new recruits are welcomed to the sisterhood ten feet apart from one another.

Greek organizations have now had to adjust to recruiting people differently because of COVID-19. The recruitment process is not streamlined. Greek life is categorized into four Greek governing councils – the College Panhellenic Council (CPC), the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) and the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC), which oversee and make decisions for separate groups of Greek organizations. Each of the governing councils has their own plans and ideas for how to go about rushing, providing more leeway for creative ideas on how to make virtual recruitment effective.

“It depends on the organization,” said Fraternity and Sorority Life Office director Kevin Saberre. “Some are using Teams, some are using Zoom, some are using simply social media like Instagram Q&A or a Facebook group. Some groups have talked about using Twitch as a recruitment tool or are contracting with other third-party apps.”

Marketing senior and head of Tri Delta recruitment Nikita Tiffany said that CPC held three pre-recruitment events. The first, Meet the Greeks, was held at the Plinth, where all four organizations under CPC set up booths and interacted with possible new members. The second, Panhellenic Poolside, was a casual hangout by the pool for potential members. The third was a collective CPC pre-recruitment event.

“Now we are doing Meet the Greeks, plus four events per sorority,” Tiffany said. “So, there’s a total of seventeen events that girls can attend this year, which I think is phenomenal. This is the first time we’re able to do our own individual events because now that recruitment is 100% virtual, we want to take advantage of every single opportunity that we have to talk to our sisters.”

At the end of recruitment, organizations do different things to celebrate and welcome their new members. Finance junior and MGC president Vaishnavi Danda said that previously, her sorority held new member presentations in-person, where all fraternities and sororities would come out to meet the new members and they would have a dance. Now, they are having to adapt it to a virtual format, possibly filming a video or doing the presentation over Instagram live. Meanwhile, Tiffany’s sorority has a tentative plan to do a virtual and in-person bid day, depending on what people are comfortable with.

“Instead of six feet apart, you’d be 10 feet apart,” Tiffany said. “Everyone has to wear a mask and you’re in an open airflow, and you can basically jump up and down and welcome the sisters, just 10 feet apart. And we’ve had these ideas approved by our executive councils, CPC, everyone. So if you want to do in-person, you can. If you want to do it virtually, you can. No pressure. Both will be extremely fun and we’re just ready to welcome in our sisters.”

Additionally, Greek organizations have benefited financially, not just in terms of budget and spending, but also with respect to fees for potential new members.

“So we actually lowered our cost to go through recruitment because usually, it’s $40, but now it’s $20 because we don’t have a lot of the expenses,” said CPC VP of recruitment and supply chain management senior Anna McCaffrey. “The chapters, I know that they cut down on decorations that they would usually spend over these three days. We cut down on food expenses for social events.”

Unexpectedly, the projected amount of potential new members has increased despite the transition to a virtual recruitment process.

“I know that within the first couple of weeks, typically I think we only have 15 girls, whereas this time we had around 30 with two or three weeks,” McCaffrey said. “And then we came to the conclusion that people want to be in an organization. They want to do something after being stuck inside or without social interaction. They want to get involved.”

The projected amount of new members has increased despite the transition to an online format. Photo courtesy of Delta Kappa Delta sorority