Greek Life’s recruitment events have all been moved to virtual platforms because of the coronavirus.
According to Megan DeShon-Runge, the assistant director of Greek Life, the recruitment process for Greek Life was moved to a virtual, mitigated platform due to a recommendation made by the National Panhellenic Conference, the international governing body of Panhellenic-affiliated sororities all over the country, to help mitigate coronavirus.
DeShon-Runge, said the National Panhellenic Conference sent out the recommendation Aug. 2020 stating that they recommend, but are not requiring, for recruitments to be moved into a virtual format, no matter the software or length of recruitment.
She said the Interfraternity council’s formal recruitment would normally last about two weeks, but because of the events for their recruitment becoming virtual, they may extend recruitment it.
“No one has ever done recruitment through a pandemic before and these are such intense processes with so much planning that go into them, so extending and adjusting as needed is what those councils are going to end up doing to suit their chapter’s needs,” DeShon-Runge said.
DeShon-Runge said that up until Aug. 17, the plan was to hold all recruitments in person and follow mitigation measures from the University and the Nodaway County Health Department.
The Northwest Panhellenic Instagram posted updates on Aug. 25, stating that recruitment will be postponed until Sept. 16.
After the recommendation from the National Panhellenic Conference went out, DeShon-Runge said the leaders of Greek Life looked at what other campuses all around the country were doing and decided that hosting recruitment online was the safest path for not only recruitment members but also all students on campus.
Prior to this decision, DeShon-Runge said she created four plans for recruitment that she called the virtual contingency plan. Each plan was designed a different way in regards to hosting people.
The first plan was entirely in-person, the second and third plans were to be hybrid online and in-person recruitment, but now all recruitment events will be completely online.
“I was very meticulously planning all four processes,” DeShon-Runge said.
Now that all of Panhellenic is holding recruitments virtually, DeShon-Runge can narrowly focus on what that will look like.
Despite the recruitments being pushed to virtual settings, DeShon-Runge said the registration numbers this year are close to what they were for last year after registration was complete.
Panhellenic registration in fall 2019 had 220 potential new members, and this fall, as of Aug. 25, there are already 190 women registered. IFC had 50 potential new members in fall 2019, they have 72 men registered this fall.
DeShon-Runge said considering the University held limited SOAR days this year and other pre-enrollment events, the numbers for registration are better than last year’s.
She acknowledged there is still time left for registration, and if people stopped registering, it could plateau the registration numbers. But DeShon-Runge remains hopeful the numbers will continue to go up.
The President of the Nu Gamma Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Alica Trotter, senior, said she has been part of Nu Gamma since March 2019 and became the president in January.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. is a historically Black National Pan-Hellenic Council sorority. NPHC organizations participate in a recruitment process different from Panhellenic and IFC called Intake.
Trotter said since Nu Gamma is a small chapter that has only about two members who represent the chapter on campus, Intake is not as publicized as its Panhellenic and IFC counterparts.
“It is not as planned as IFC and Panhellenic, so there’s a lot of word-to-mouth communication about when it is,” Trotter said. “You will see flyers around campus, but there is not really a formal recruitment time for our council.”
Any events Nu Gamma may have had planned for Intake were moved to a virtual platform, leaving Trotter concerned about lack of personal interaction.
Trotter said she worked for the University Orientation Services and Admissions, which had proven to her how important face-to-face interaction is upon first meeting someone.
“It will cause a gap of actual face-to-face meaning of sisterhood,” Trotter said.
She said this could make things difficult for people who are more extroverted and enjoy meeting people in person.
“There are going to be a lot of other students who are not going to benefit as much,” Trotter said.
Junior Richard Venerable is the president, keeper of records and seals and keeper of finance for the Iota Theta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., which is also part of NPHC.
Venerable said he joined the Iota Theta Chapter a little over a year ago and was elected president in fall 2019. He said he was worried about struggling to connect with potential new members through a virtual platform.
“It’s definitely not going to be easy, not that it is an easy process to begin with, but it’s not going to be as easy and probably as comforting,” Venerable said.
He said it is going to be harder for the chapters to get to know the potential new members, which makes it difficult for the chapters to decide if the potential new member is a good fit.
Despite the challenges that come with hosting these large recruitment events online rather than in person, Greek Life leaders, including Trotter and Venerable, look forward to getting to know their potential new members.