By Jhoana T. Merino-Martinez
The 2021 Greek Life recruitment season ended April 10, so how does it compare with the years prior?
When FDU shifted to remote instruction in mid-March 2020, all campus activities were cancelled in accordance with coronavirus protocols. As a result,Greek life traditions, such as initiation and recruiting events, were postponed.
With little chance to recruit and member engagement dwindling, this left many students wondering if Greek life would survive the pandemic.
A year after the initial protocols were triggered, Rashard Mills, assistant director of Student Life Operations, says that this season was notably different.
This academic year, much of Greek Life could only recruit in the spring. Pre-pandemic, recruitment took place both semesters.
“We used [the fall 2020 semester] to regroup, refocus and realign ourselves with our mission and our purpose. We used the spring semester to activate that,” Mills said.
Despite the limitation to holding primarily virtual events, Mills said this season was a success with 16 new members.
“We still had a great number of students join our community,” he said. “In the springs prior, we had a little bit more be a part of us. But this wasn’t a bad number for the circumstances that we left,”
Greek organizations have adapted to a virtual recruiting season. In addition to programs, some organizations reached out to alumni and/or got their national offices involved while making extensive use of email and social media.
Gabby Sesin, senior public relations chair for the Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority, told The Equinox this season was successful for her org.
“We played engaging activities and had meaningful conversations with our potential new members. Despite any little challenge that was thrown our way, we were able to be even more creative,” Sesin said via Instagram.
Ashley Crespo, senior vice president of the Omega Phi Chi Sorority Inc., said her org wascreative in its efforts.
“We were able to collaborate nationwide with our other chapters, hosting events, bondings and informational together,” said Crespo via Instagram.
Of course, a common issue cited was keeping new and existing members engaged virtually.
“It was a little rough coming up with interesting events or transitioning past recruitment events to online versions and have them still be interesting for potential new members,” Donte Nowak, senior vice president of the Sigma Pi Fraternity International, said via Instagram direct messaging.
“Zoom fatigue was a major obstacle that we had to overcome as we didn’t have any recruitment events in person, so we relied on our Instagram page, virtual school events and our brothers’ personalities to create those bonds that were easier in the past,” Nowak said.
Future of Greek Life
When asked about how Greek Life recruitment from here on will look like, Mills said he hopes for a more hands-on approach.
Even during the pandemic, some Greek organizations worked on a few initiatives. Some pledged to clean certain locations on campus, according to Mills.
He is also proud of the recently launched Knights Care food pantry, which opened for all students on April 14.
“I’m hoping that our fellow student body sees the hard work that our Greek students are doing and can do, and they would want to be a part of it,” said Mills.
“They necessarily don’t have to join and commit to being a member of the organizations, but I guess whenever they see our Greeks working, just to be there and lend that extra helping hand.”
The past year has certainly been rough, yet Greek organizations are pulling through and showing school spirit helps keep the FDU community together.
Art by Jhoana T. Merino-Martinez