Despite COVID-19’s impact, Northwest Greek Life fraternities and sororities have found ways to grow the number of members in their chapters this spring semester.
Last semester, Greek Life organizations held a virtual recruitment due to concerns of the pandemic. This spring, the organizations have eased their way back to in-person recruitment events.
Chapters are consistently going through the process of adding members to maintain their chapter size and introduce new faces who share similar interests and values.
Greek Life coordinator Jim Gulbranson said the Interfraternity Council currently has recruited 13 new members across all fraternity chapters, and the Panhellenic Council has 18 new members across the board for sororities. Gulbranson said that the National Pan-Hellenic Council, which consists of historically Black fraternities and sororities, is not accepting new bids this semester.
Jerilynn Hoover, Alpha Sigma Alpha vice president of public relations and recruitment, said her chapter welcomed eight new members during their spring recruitment. The first event was held Feb. 12 and concluded with their bid day March 3.
Alpha Sigma Alpha made Valentine’s Day cards for the Nodaway County Senior Center, planted succulents and held a Zoom session to inform potential new members about the fees, requirements and expectations that come along with joining the sorority.
Alpha Sigma Alpha also participated in what is referred to as continuous open bidding, where a chapter holds recruitment until they meet a desired number of members. Hoover said that when she joined the sorority, she went through this kind of bidding herself.
“[Recruitment] was very good,” Hoover said. “Our PNM’s, they really enjoyed meeting members and stuff, and they already have friends, basically close friends, in the chapter right when they joined.”
Hoover is excited for the upcoming fall recruitment and hopes to keep in-person events as it was this spring. She said new members having established this connection with active members in the chapter is important.
While some Greek Life organizations recruit new members until they reach a certain number of total members in the chapter, others recruit all semester long.
“For IFC, COVID didn’t allow for a full semester of recruitment, and it was the first spring term that chapters were allowed to recruit throughout the entire semester, rather than the first couple of weeks,” Gulbranson said.
James Palmer, public relations chair and recruitment director for Phi Sigma Kappa, said his fraternity has been recruiting members the entire spring semester. He said he prefers this informal recruitment process to a set formal recruitment because of its longer duration and success.
“We had a dodgeball event at Hughes Fieldhouse, which turned into kind of like kickball. That was good,” Palmer said. “We do a lot of open houses to kind of show off the house, which a lot of guys have come to, and that's been really fun.”
With the COVID-19 mitigations inside of Hughes Fieldhouse placing a limit on the amount of people that can be in an area at once, as well as the field constantly being booked, Palmer said these factors have created some trouble for Phi Sigma Kappa’s recruitment events. He said the chapter sees the most success with having the open house event where potential new members can come meet the current members.
Phi Sigma Kappa has recruited two new members this semester, setting their total number of members in the chapter at 20. Palmer said his fraternity currently has their eyes set on two potential new members and hopes to add to them to the chapter in the near future.
“A goal that is unique to us is, we don’t really want to just get a lot of guys in our chapter. We want to get quality guys, and I’m really proud of the people we’ve gotten so far,” Palmer said.
Palmer said this is the first spring that Phi Sigma Kappa has been able to recruit since the fraternity was removed from campus for two years. Starting off with only members in his pledge class who had little knowledge on the recruitment process, Palmer said that the members are trying their hardest and hoping for the best this semester.