Greek life moves recruitment partially online to limit COVID-19 exposure

Fraternities and sororities are adapting their recruitment process to adjust to the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Butler Greek Life Twitter Page.

SOPHIE CIOKAJLO | STAFF REPORTER | sciokajl@butler.edu

On Jan. 20, potential new members will swap traveling from Greek house to Greek house for Zoom meetings in their dorm rooms. Recruitment for Greek organizations is yet another aspect of Butler life impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; the process will look different this year. Sororities are moving recruitment entirely online, while fraternities will have a hybrid process in which potential new members can choose to visit houses virtually or in person.

Ethan Muchniki, a junior healthcare and business major, said there will be an initial virtual orientation via Zoom where all of the fraternity houses will present themselves to the potential new members. Muchniki, who serves as the vice president of recruitment for Butler’s  Interfraternity Council, said recruits will then visit houses in person if they are on campus and comfortable doing so; otherwise, recruits will meet with house members via Zoom. 

“We wanted to make sure we can incorporate anyone who doesn’t feel safe coming in person or is not coming back for the spring semester and still wants to participate in rush,” Muchniki said. 

At this time, Muchniki said all of the potential new members have opted for an in-person experience. Potential new members will have designated time slots to visit each fraternity house, adhering to CDC and Butler guidelines while they meet with the brothers. Each house will allow fewer than ten people in each of their large gathering spaces, and everyone involved will wear masks and clean their chairs upon leaving and arriving. 

Potential new members of sororities will not get the same opportunity to visit houses in person. Instead, all house visits will be conducted via Zoom meetings. The week will still operate as normal, with potential new members visiting fewer houses each subsequent day.  

Sarah Blatt, a junior communication sciences and disorders major, said she is glad that sororities were able to at least have some sort of recruitment process under the current circumstances. 

“I feel like everyone is just doing the best we can with what we have,” Blatt said. “While it’s not ideal and not everyone’s first choice, at least we’re able to do it.”

Riley Miller, a first-year health sciences major, said she is disappointed that sororities are not using a similar hybrid system as the fraternities. 

“I would love it if we could have something in person, just for the experience,” Miller said. “I feel like it’s kind of difficult to have those conversations and get to know the house and get a feel for it online.”

This year, one outdoor formal recruitment event was held with each fraternity gathering in front of their houses, as potential new members have not been allowed inside the houses. 

Although this is different from past years, Muchniki said he still thinks houses will have an ample amount of time to talk with recruits during recruitment. 

“I think a 30-minute quality talk is good, but I think it’s harder because we’re used to meeting these kids all first semester.” Muchniki said. 

Sororities have also made an effort to connect with first-years throughout the first semester via Zoom “coffee dates.” Potential new members could sign-up to receive invitations from each house to meet a member virtually. 

Miller said she feels it will be difficult to make effective connections during recruitment relying purely on Zoom meetings. 

“I’m going to try to be as outgoing as I can and act like myself, but to an extent it is kind of scary that it’s just a video camera,” Miller said. 

In addition to potential new members having to present themselves well over Zoom, houses will have to rely on more limited knowledge than in past years to make bid decisions. 

Muchniki said he is not too concerned about fraternities making the wrong choices. He said all of the houses seem confident in being able to know who is a good fit. 

“Every year there’s one or two incidents where a house may have to drop someone after rush week, which I know is very hard on the houses, but again, if they have to, they have to,” Muchniki said. 

All of the plans for recruitment are dependent on Butler reopening in the spring and COVID-19 cases remaining manageable.  However, many first years are looking forward to the process despite the uncertainty.

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