As the COVID-19 pandemic poses a number of challenges for organizations on campus to function normally, dozens of fraternities and sororities at the University of Kansas are changing to a hybrid style of recruitment.
Despite the pandemic, KU gave Greek organizations the green light to begin spring recruitment in a safe manner. The Interfraternity Council (IFC) recruited 70 potential new members after hosting two-weeks of hybrid recruitment events.
“Zoom presents many new challenges; it takes away a personal touch,” said Keaton Goodale, Director of IFC Recruitment. “We used the Zoom sessions for general information and introductions.”
The first week was held via Zoom to respect the health of all parties involved, with the following week of events held at the Union.
Once campus entry-level COVID-19 screenings came back with a 0.83% positivity rate, the IFC began planning in-person meetings between potential new members and chapters on campus. These in-person recruitment events took place in the Union, with 16 fraternities participating. The fraternities involved alternated days to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
“Having the personal touch created excitement for new members and participating houses," Goodale said. “With the given circumstances, the Union was our best option.”
The Panhellenic Association (PHA) is taking a much more relaxed approach to spring recruitment. Having experienced a virtual recruitment process in the fall, PHA is familiar with the challenges that come along with utilizing Zoom as a resource. Their goal is to minimize barriers while maintaining respect for member health.
“Virtual recruitment was put under a microscope in terms of accessibility for fall recruitment, as not everyone had a device,” said Panhellenic Association President Sadie Williams.
There is a lower level of coordinating in the spring with a lower volume of students participating in recruitment. The spring new member total for sororities is based on the total number of members on campus, and is set each year by the PHA.
The Panhellenic Association has allowed its chapters to decide how they would like to hold their respective recruitment events, while keeping national policies in mind. Their expectations are that each chapter will uphold KU’s COVID-19 procedures.
“Coordinating with KU administration is an unprecedented way to ensure the pressure for change does not fall on the backs of women,” Williams said. “We have no control over how the world handles the pandemic. However, we do have control over how we treat our members and the women we hope to recruit.”
Both ICF and PHA are trying to navigate the pandemic one day at a time and are satisfied with their recruitment efforts. They are looking forward to increasing membership this upcoming semester.