Got Greek? How fall recruitment has gone virtual



As the campus returns to a new normal, so do student activities. Sororities and fraternities alike held a modified version of their fall recruitment processes. This past month, Panhellenic Council sororities officially began recruitment. Recruitment will last from Sept 7 through Sept 25 with each participating sorority hosting activities throughout the weeks. Bid Day will take place virtually on Sept 28 during common hour. This semester four out of the five Panhellenic sororities looked for new members, including Delta Phi Epsilon, Theta Phi Alpha, Alpha Sigma Alpha and Phi Sigma Sigma. 

Typically, recruitment activities are held in-person and are very interactive, allowing new recruits to really get to know the different sisters. Thus, one of the biggest challenges with virtual recruitment is keeping up that level of engagement. In past years, fall recruitment started strong at the Sunset Festival on the Queens campus, where members of Greek life had the opportunity to showcase their organizations. This allows freshmen to get a glimpse of what they can do in the spring while encouraging sophomores and transfer students to get involved, as they are the only students allowed to participate in fall recruitment. 

“This semester we are doing everything virtual through Zoom/Webex and a new program called 3 and Me,” President of the Panhellenic Council, Emma Neuville-Taylor told the Torch. “This is where Potential New Members (PNM) can give organizations insight through video about themselves and their interests.”

Delta Phi Epsilon’s recruitment chair, senior and Public Relations major Claudia Fuchs, is keeping up the level of engagement by making the Zoom environment feel like an in-person event. 

“On our Zoom meetings we still wanted to keep it as similar as possible. Just because it’s on Zoom doesn’t mean it won’t be fun. So doing fun icebreaker activities and breakout rooms helped everyone get to know each other better,” she said. 

This virtual transition means interested students can participate from anywhere.

“You will not miss out on anything by being in your house in California, Texas or even if you are an international student in Europe,” Neuville-Taylor said.

To combat the lack of intimacy that a virtual experience allows for, each sorority will be running a number of programs such as meet and greets, themed Zoom calls and even movie or paint nights, giving PNM’s more opportunities to get to know the different chapters.

Fuchs wanted the PNM’s to make the most out of the virtual event. “Zoom can be a little awkward but we wanted everyone to go in with an open mind and embrace the change of scenery,” she said.

Another tool used to increase interaction and authenticity has been social media. Platforms such as Instagram have been crucial in communicating and engaging PNMs. This allows interested students to feel the excitement and anticipation normally felt during recruitment. 

“Not being able to have that interaction is what demotivates students from wanting to join an organization and that is what I believe is the most challenging, but it is so important for us to provide the same experience safely, in order for girls to find their home in a sorority,” Neuville-Taylor said.

Fuchs also mentioned how crucial social media has been for this recruitment season. “Since we haven’t been able to leave our houses or meet in person, social media became an even more important mode of communication to use this semester. We wanted to make sure everyone was able to know what events we were doing, when and how to log on,” she said. 

While the switch to a fully online recruitment process has had its ups and downs, a pleasant surprise has been the increase in sororities that can participate.

“Since we want to improve engagement and morale, more sororities are taking a fall class than ever before,” Neuville-Taylor said. The fall of 2018, only Delta Phi Epsilon and Theta Phi Alpha took a class. While last fall, only Delta Phi Epsilon participated. Making this year’s participation with 4 out of the 5 sororities very exciting. 

For those unsure about recruitment, Neuville-Taylor encourages everyone to sign up.

“Especially when going through the Zoom calls or Webex meetings with sisters they really want to see who you are!” Neuville-Taylor said. “The sisters want to know about your aspirations, your goals, why you wanna join Greek life! We are looking to really progress into better inclusivity in the Panhellenic community so we want to hear all about what makes you YOU.”