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Coronavirus Features Greek Life Top Stories

Greek Life Adapts for Online Students

Rushing sororities and fraternities is an annual tradition for those looking to participate in Greek Life. However, like many things in 2020, this tradition has taken a twist because of coronavirus. 

Members of Greek Life organizations have been working on ways to be inclusive to students who have chosen to do school completely online this year.

“I know one of our new members is completely virtual this semester,” said Jayna Lieberman, a member of Alpha Delta Pi. “Thus far, the majority of our events have been online. We’ve done Kahoot and Jackbox games via Zoom and we have Netflix parties about once a week.”

Rush also took place entirely online, with current members joining Zoom breakout rooms to talk to potential recruits. 

“We used Blackboard Collaborate and one or two returning members would be in a breakout room with a potential new member (PNM),” Lieberman said. “After a few minutes of conversation, we would rotate so the PNMs would get the chance to talk to different people.”

Artie Rodriguez said that rush was similar for his fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon. 

“We were just kind of informed that rush was virtual, so that wasn’t up to us,” Rodriguez said. “A lot of it was just conversations, they could ask questions about anything about the fraternity, and if they had some free time we tried to focus on them talking, talking about themselves.”

According to Rodriguez, the number of people rushing Greek organizations took a hit because of coronavirus. 

“We got two new recruits. Which, I know with a lot of fraternities, the number of recruits were a lot lower than they usually were,” Rodriguez said. “I believe Sig Ep, which usually gets the most members each fall rush, they got like a quarter of what they usually get, which surprised everyone. But I can understand with the whole COVID situation why people are less likely to rush. But if everything clears up by next semester, I think we should have more people either rushing this spring or next fall.”

Rodriguez said that only one of TKE’s members is doing school completely online this year. However, they are holding chapter meetings virtually anyway for all members not living in the house. 

“Our chapter meetings usually take place in our house, but because of COVID, we decided to only require people who are in-house to attend chapter,” Rodriguez said. “Everybody that was outside of the house would join through a Zoom link.”

This policy proved to be a smart idea after one of the house members contracted COVID-19, putting the house in quarantine. 

“It was weird to just be stuck in the house for two weeks. It wasn’t a matter of ‘if’, it was a matter of ‘when’. It was bound to happen,” Rodriguez said. “I think the only time any of us went out during that period was to get tested. We were able to find ways to keep in touch with each other while staying in our rooms. All of our meetings were on Zoom. We found ways to hang out with each other without physically being there.”

Despite the COVID exposure, none of the other house members contracted the virus. However, Rodriguez said they continue to take COVID precautions seriously. 

“There’s a whole lot of COVID precautions that we’re taking,” Rodriguez said. “We as a chapter think it’s important to sanitize everything after use.”

Lieberman said that Alpha Delta Pi has also been strict about COVID precautions, despite some events being held in-person. 

“We have had a couple activities in person, but they have all been socially distant and outdoors,” Lieberman said. “We had a cookout by our house and our members signed up for shifts to come so that we didn’t overcrowd. We are also having a tie-dying activity that will be in person this Saturday, but we have also signed up for limited shifts. I can’t say for certain, but I am fairly confident the chapters on campus are following COVID protocol as well as they can.”

For Lieberman, coronavirus precautions and virtual activities have not put a damper on her Greek Life experience. 

“I joined late last year so I never experienced the beginning of the year events,” Lieberman said. “There are some things we aren’t able to do this semester like our Mallard ball or crush, but we are working really hard to find fun, safe alternatives.”

Rodriguez said this year has been even better than prior years for him, as he is able to bond with his fraternity brothers living in the house.

“I think it’s just primarily because I’m living in the house this year, but I’ve enjoyed it more, being in Greek life, than in previous years,” Rodriguez said. “I think it’s because I’m getting closer with the guys. We’re all in this together and we’re all there for each other.”

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