By Katie Oglesby, News Editor
Recruitment for sororities and fraternities returned took place last weekend. This weekend, the administration announced that the college is taking action due to unapproved gatherings with improper mask usage and social distancing—a sorority has been suspended and a fraternity is facing disciplinary consequences. All Greek pledging events have been canceled.
“Delta Gamma is currently on interim suspension as we look into possible violations of the College’s health protocols,” Jon Allen said in an email.
The college-approved Greek activities during recruitment weekend consisted mainly of virtual and outdoor events without alcohol. This required the organizations to be creative and find new ways to engage their potential new members. Some of these activities included cornhole at Lambda Chi Alpha, socially distanced Seven Rooms for Sigma Chi, and various virtual activities for the sororities.
“Our IFC fraternities also made changes to their recruitment process, electing to host small in-person events to complement larger virtual programs where men could get to know more about the organizations,” said the Director of the Office of Student Activities and Greek Life, Jonathan Allen. “The small in-person events were registered through the College and required a written plan of how they could keep participants safe.”
Alternatively, sororities kept their approved events mostly virtual through Zoom activities or video recordings projected outside.
Alicia Patterson ‘23 began recruitment wary of the changed process and unsure about how it would help her find the right sorority.
“I feel like it might be harder to connect with the chapters because it’s online,” she said, “but they are definitely trying to make it as similar [to past years] as possible.”
Allen spoke of the sorority recruitment process positively despite Patterson’s concerns.
“Overall, the process went very well and still provided an opportunity for women to get to know one another and for potential new members to have a better understanding of the individual chapters,” he said.
President of Phi Delta Theta Peter McQuade ‘21 commented on a decrease in potential new members this recruitment season, which Allen confirmed was a pattern for both sororities and fraternities as a whole.
“At the end of the day, recruitment this year was definitely not the way we would have wanted it to go, but it was the way that we had to do it to keep everyone safe,” Peter said. “Compared to years past we did have a lower number of new members, but we continued our great success of getting extremely high-quality men to join our organization.”
Bid day for sororities and fraternities was Monday, Aug. 23. According to Allen, sororities gave out more bids to new women than last year despite the drop in potential new members. Approximately 100 men received bids from fraternities.
According to an email sent out by Allen to all Greek organizations, sororities and fraternities are now barred from holding any pledging events due to recent spikes in COVID-19 cases on campus. Bill Lafferty, Executive Director of Public Safety, sent out a campus-wide email warning the college about the new cases tied to gatherings of specific groups and clusters of students on campus.
Marisa Balanda ‘21 expressed disappointment in the college for allowing recruitment activities to continue despite the virus.
“The college has canceled so many other activities in response to [COVID-19],” she said, “and allowing recruitment to occur despite Greek life’s role as a ‘super spreader’ has sent a message to the student body insinuating that these groups are more valuable than others.”
House Leader of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Calith Jaramillo ‘21, described the measures his fraternity was taking to ensure they were safe.
“As a house, we came to the decision that we wanted to be on campus, and refuse to be part of the problem,” he said.
This weekend, the college confirmed that there are now 33 positive cases of COVID-19 among the student body. Many students question the role of Greek recruitment in the spread of the virus within the campus community.
Edit: Clarification of the sorority facing suspension.