Greeks adapt recruitment for fall 2020

Audrey Johnson | Diorama Executive Editor
Sisters of Alpha Gamma Delta welcome a new member after she opened her bid. This year the campus tradition was a private event held across campus instead of at Memorial Amphitheater. Masks and social distancing were required.

Audrey Johnson, Diorama Executive Editor

Like most activities on campus, recruitment for greek organizations looks different this fall than in years past. Guidance from their national organizations and the university have helped transition recruitment from hours of in person socialization to more socially distant and online platforms.

“We were able to come up with a plan to keep the safety of everyone while not doing away or postponing recruitment,” said Director of Recruitment for the College Panhellenic Council (CPH) Ana Castillo. “[It] was the top concern on our minds when we came up with this alternative form of recruitment.”

For CPH, recruitment usually takes place in person at the sorority dorms, Appleby East and West. Groups of potential new members (PNMs) mingle with the sorority members. The process begins with orientation followed by a philanthropy party, sisterhood party, preference party, then ends with bid day at the amphitheater.

“We moved the first couple days to virtual,” Castillo said. “The only in person days are bid day and preference at Veteran’s Park.”

In preparation, sorority members made videos to share their stories and connected with PNMs over social media.

“[In the past,]we didn’t want members to persuade PNMs in a certain way that wouldn’t be beneficial to them,” Castillo said. “This year we actually promoted the social media interaction throughout the summer because the in person interaction was going to be minimized.”

During these in person days, participants are required to socially distance and wear masks, but the biggest change comes to bid day. In the past, women finished recruitment by opening their bids in the GUC then “ran home” to their sorority at the Memorial Amphitheater. The Mane Month tradition usually attracts a crowd full of parents, students and community members.

“[This year] there will not be any spectators [at bid day],” Castillo said. “It will be a private event where only the women participating in recruitment will be permitted to be there, and it will take place across campus.”

Across campus on Aug. 29, the Independent Greek Council (IGC) will hold a different campus wide event for recruitment: a game of capture the flag. This year, IGC will require participants to be temperature checked, wear masks and maintain six feet of distance while playing.

“I know for my organization, I’ve been talking to the different organizations in the IGC to exchange ideas and try to help each other out with our interest meetings,” said IGC chair of public relations Addison Willmon. “We just started [IGC] a couple years ago; we’re still catching our feet and learning things as we go.”

Recruitment for IGC doesn’t take place over a structured week like CPH. Each chapter plans individual recruitment events, but most will take place online this year.

“I think it definitely is an odd time for going Greek, but it’s an odd time for everything,” Willmon said. “The Greek experience is so integral to a lot of people’s college life. It is frustrating that it’s going to be harder for some people who may be perfect for our organization to find us.”

Growing a social media presence helps councils spread word about events and recruitment opportunities. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. (AKA), a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPCH) exclusively uses Instagram to promote.

“I know that for a lot of new incoming freshmen and transfers, they probably don’t really know about [AKA’s] Instagram and know to follow us,” said Jessica Brown, NPHC Director of Public Relations and President of AKA. “Our pages don’t really get as much recognition as some of the other fraternity and sorority pages.”

For NPCH organizations, they choose which semester to do intake based on member need. Last spring, they decided to wait for fall 2020.

“Our organization nationally isn’t allowing us to have any type of in person activities or any intake processes until further notice,” Brown said of AKA. “I think nationally AKA is considering opening back up so things might change, but as of right now until further notice we can’t really do anything.”

Unless their policy changes, this could exclude AKA from presenting at Convocation. The event, one of NPHC’s biggest for recruiting, takes place every year in the GUC Banquet Hall, this year, on Sept. 1.

“For now we’re gonna try to do virtual events and everything,” Brown said. “If we were allowed to have in person events, we’d definitely follow UNA’s guidelines.”

The Interfraternity Council (IFC) also shifted a majority of its events to virtual. Normally, individual fraternities hold their own recruitment events allowing interested men the opportunity to meet the fraternities of their choice.

“I believe not having physical interactions with members can be an obstacle when choosing an organization,” said Vice President for IFC Recruitment Carson Chambliss. “However, I believe that it is possible to really get to know someone through a screen.”

During any in person events, like the Greek Grill out on Aug. 26, IFC will follow all guidance from the university and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

“Anything that applies to everyday campus activities also applies to IFC recruitment,” Chambliss said.

Although different and distant, Greek recruitment will continue this fall.

“[We’re excited to] watch people join the organizations that they best fit with and see new relationships flourish throughout those organizations,” Chambliss said. “As well as watch Greek life on campus grow in numbers.”