Zoe Stratos | Staff Writer
With over 30 active sororities and fraternities on campus, and over half of the student population involved in one or more of them, Greek Life is an influential aspect of the student experience at Duquesne — even with COVID-19 still dominating American lives.
The Office of Greek Life had its hands full thus far planning out spring recruitment following COVID-19 protocols, as the university put new policies in place to ensure a safe process for all organizations — social and professional.
“In November 2020, a new policy was implemented at the university that transitioned all student programs to a virtual format,” said Rebecca Jamrozik Mickler, Director of Greek Life, Honor Societies and Professional Organizations. “As part of that policy to ensure everybody’s safety, we are keeping our recruitment efforts virtual for the time being. To me, the most important thing is to keep the integrity of the current hyflex academic format intact, and if that means recruitment events are virtual, then that’s what we will continue to do.”
Within the Office of Greek Life are the four Greek Councils and their member organizations, including the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the Professional Fraternity Council (PFC) and the Panhellenic Council. These councils work hand in hand with the Office of Greek Life to continue fairness, successes and safety during the pandemic-style recruitment.
And with this pandemic-style recruitment, these organizations are coming up with ideas for virtual events while still fostering a sense of brother/sisterhood for new members.
“COVID has made the recruitment process more creative,” said Bailey Prebish, IFC president and member of Sigma Nu fraternity. “Many of them are extremely creative from Zoom hangouts, to giving virtual tours through their chapter’s respective wing on campus. One fraternity used their recruitment budget to order food and deliver it to each and every potential new member’s residence.”
The creativity does not stop there either, as according to NPHC president Kayla White, the Delta Sigma Theta sorority has self-care nights and constant check-ins. Natalie Klek, PFC President, also points out that Lambda Kappa Sigma sorority uses a platform for new member education called “Ice Breakers.”
Known for their ability to cultivate friendships through events and philanthropy, two social sororities and fraternities did their best to make recruitment as fun as possible in a time where in-person events were not a viable option.
Incoming Membership Vice President, Delaney Dooley, of Gamma Phi Beta talked about the struggles and successes she had during the spring recruitment process.
“I think we’ve done a good job being as personable as possible, although the online format comes with positives and negatives for both parties,” Dooley said. “We took advantage of screen sharing. We talk a lot about our philanthropy and sisterhood and about events that we’ve held online. It’s not great to tell them how many great things to do in-person, so we stress the fun online events like playing Kahoots that quiz you on our sisters. We want to be engaging but also COVID-19 safe.”
Even with the protocols and policies in place, turnout for recruitment was fairly consistent, with only a slight drop in student interest. But the chapters were prepared, as new forms of advertising through heavy social media presence came to the forefront of recruitment.
Head of Recruitment Justin Prechodko, of Tau Kappa Epsilon, emphasized the importance of advertising and cultivating a bond through online events.
“We’re big on brotherhood, so we try to hammer that home to potentials. We tell them right off the bat that it’s not going to be the same, but the positives outweigh negatives,” Prechodko said. “My responsibility was to create events and take the initiative to get the word out about us. We hung up posters in freshman hallways — with permission of course— and also talked to kids on social media. I was always handing out phone numbers.”
And with this effort from all of the social sororities and fraternities on campus, spring recruitment continued to occur as usual, but with an edited style.
“Even during this time I encourage everyone to step out of the box — clubs, professional frats, Greek Life, etc. — because the experience is like no other,” Dooley said. “Finding your fit and sharing these experiences with your friends is so fun. I want every- one to have the experiences I’ve had.”