By Elizabeth Scalzo
Greek life’s new member education processes were put to a halt on March 24. All organizations that did not have their members initiated by the end of day were not allowed to continue with their new member education processes due to the liability on the school of the off-campus activities since the campus is closed for the semester.
The Greek community at FDU works quite differently than other schools. The spring semester has a larger number of new members because first semester freshmen can’t join due to the FDU rule that anyone joining Greek life must have an established 12 credit FDU GPA.
Many other schools allow freshmen to join the Greek community in their first semester or have a large number of students interested in Greek life, therefore the pandemic is not affecting them as greatly.
Jared Johnson, a junior business management major and brother of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity (ZBT), said about recruitment, via text message, “Not having the ability to recruit in person essentially limits the current pool of people to those you already have some form of contact with. It’s basically become just talking to the people we already know we want in the fall.”
Johnson was not the only member of Greek life worried about recruitment. Karen Castro, a junior majoring in civil engineering and sister of Lambda Theta Alpha Sorority, told The Equinox via Instagram direct message (DM), “The most challenging thing to date for Greek life is recruitment. In order to overcome this, we continue to promote our lovely ladies on Instagram in hopes to gain interests.”
Besides recruitment, there are some other concerns as to what the organizations can do remotely for their philanthropy at this time. Most organizations hold events where they raise money and then donate the funds to their local or national philanthropy depending on the organization’s structure.
When speaking about philanthropy, Johnson said, “This has completely hindered our ability to raise money for our philanthropy. Our biggest means to do so is our ‘get on the ball fundraiser’ (an event where the brothers roll around a giant beach ball and when you donate to their philanthropy, you can write your name on the ball), which is obviously canceled. Frankly, nobody wants to donate via Instagram promotion even though that idea sounds good in theory.”
Without their main annual fundraiser, which takes place in the spring semester, their philanthropy, Children’s Miracle Network, will not receive nearly the amount of donations that ZBT normally provides.
However, some organizations function mainly to create awareness for their cause. Daniela Lemus, a senior majoring in psychology and sister of Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority, said via Instagram DM, “Although fundraising for our philanthropy is important it is not our top priority. The important thing to our philanthropy, To Write Love On Her Arm, is that we promote the importance of mental health especially during these trying times.”
It seems that among the Greek community the national organizations have been quite a bit of help in different ways.
Enviasia Mitchell, a junior majoring in nursing and sister of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, said via Instagram DM, “Our nationals have been extremely helpful and have provided us with various resources to still conduct the formal business as well as giving us ideas on how to still uphold the targets and mission of our sorority.”
When speaking about nationals, Lemus said, “Nationals reached out early in the situation to ask if any sister needed help moving out or canceling off-campus events. They moved everything online and made it easy for our sisters to focus on their studies.”
Also, when speaking to the different members of the community, the consensus about programming is that Greek organizations plan to continue to program using social media. The largest platform being used is Instagram. The Inter-Greek Council is even hosting a virtual Greek spirit week and their Greek Ball Awards are being posted for everyone to see.
Despite the challenges that COVID-19 has brought to the Greek community, they are determined to stay connected to FDU and plan to grow the community even more once back on campus.
Enviasia Mitchell, president of Alpha Kappa Alpha, volunteers during the pandemic. Photo courtesy Enviasia Mitchell