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Can Recruitment Occur Safely in a Pandemic?

In the midst of a pandemic, recruitment is one event that has lessened its importance to avoid exposure. The Panhellenic sororities and IFC fraternities have chosen to proceed as usual with precautions in place to avoid the spread. Safety must be the first priority for fall recruitment.
Sororities have chosen to adapt by creating three alternate plans and allowing chapter representatives to vote on the plan they feel most comfortable with. As a result, they have narrowed down their choices and are proceeding with the number of COVID-19 cases in mind by considering virtual options.

Morgan Jenkins, Chi Omega President, stated, “The COVID-19 situation has changed the entire way that we do sorority recruitment. Normally, our recruitment is extremely organized and systematic, but now we are almost ‘re-inventing the wheel’ for a mostly virtual, potentially all virtual recruitment.”

Most likely, the only in-person event will be preference night with preventative measures in place. All events must follow CDC guidelines and preference night is no different. While the plan is not yet solidified, it will be most likely be outside with masks and socially distant by at least six feet and cleaning before and after each party.

Reflecting on the new changes, Morgan commented, “It has been a challenge to prepare, but as a Panhellenic community we have chosen this method to do our part in protecting the health and safety of Millsaps’ students and faculty for this upcoming semester.”

Similarly, the fraternities have chosen to proceed with in-person recruitment with some modifications to limit the number of people and potential exposure.

While both groups plan to abide by all local and state laws in place at the time, the current plan for fraternities would allow indoor and outdoor gatherings with social distancing guidelines.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon President, Jack Welsh, voiced his main concern. “Ultimately I’m concerned about the personal relationships that won’t be able to be formed in the case of COVID. That to me is the most important part of rush.”

Whether either of these plans will sufficiently protect the members and participants is yet to be determined. Recently, a fraternity rush party at Ole Miss yielded numerous positive cases of COVID-19. How does the leadership of either group plan on enforcing social distancing in their spaces is unknown, but will it be adequate?

In the case of Ole Miss, the chapters were suspected of violating the ordinances that were meant to keep students safe. In response to the outbreak, The Oxford Eagle recently published an article stating “that any chapters found out of compliance with state, local, and federal guidelines would be placed on probation by the university”.

During these difficult times, the need for strong brotherhood and sisterhood is important to both groups. Safety must be the first priority for both plans. The time and effort put into the re-inventing of recruitment speak volumes and what it means to those involved. Whether plans proceed to hold any event in person or move to an all-virtual environment, recruitment, and membership in these groups hold value to those participating.

This article used a secondary source to provide information on Ole Miss’s recent rush party and COVID-19 exposure. Below, you will find the source, which was provided by The Oxford Eagle:

Martinez, Ana. “Ole Miss Fraternity and Sorority Life Send out Warning: No Rush Parties Allowed.” The Oxford Eagle, 19 June 2020, www.oxfordeagle. com/2020/06/18/ole-miss-fraternity-and-sorority-life-sends-out-warning-no-rush-parties-allowed/.