When getting ready to attend college, many women are excited for sororities and their recruitment.
In past years, everything that happens around recruitment was done in person. A huge part of greek life is networking, public speaking, communicating with people you have not met before and making long lasting friendships.
But this year due to the COVID-19, everything is changing for sororities, including the recruitment process.
At Kent State University, there are nine sorority chapters and of those chapters, there are approximately 100-150 girls in a chapter.
On average, 600 girls will go through the sorority recruitment process at Kent State this fall. With Ohio’s current guidelines on social distancing, there wasn’t a way that 1,000 plus women would be able to gather together safely.
With a lot of time, dedication and many Zoom meetings, Kent State Panhellenic Council has created a modified way that they can continue through the new members process this year.
“These were the cards we were dealt, it has definitely been a challenge but it’s doable,” said Katie Null, the Vice President of Recruitment and Retention.
As the Kent State Panhellenic Council President, Kaileigh Sloan’s role is to be the direct contact for the sorority chapters at Kent State. Sloan directly talks to Nationals Panhellenic Council (NPC), which is an organization that was created to oversee all the sorority chapters in the country. Sloan’s job is to take all the information, rule changes, etc, to the nine sorority chapter presidents, that way they can inform all members.
Back in March when Kent State started asking students to leave campus because of the rapid spread of COVID-19, Sloan and many other women started working on a plan for fall.
Sloan has been hosting weekly meetings with each sorority chapter’s president to not only give them new information, but to bounce ideas off of each other and figure out a new plan for 2020 fall recruitment. “Through all of this, I have loved seeing the innovation and ability to adapt that has come from everyone,” Sloan said.
“I am so thankful for all of the help and dedication we have been getting from everyone involved,” said Null.
But right after finals were completed, NPC reached out to Sloan to give her their ideas and plans of ways to do recruitment.
“They still really wanted us to do recruitment in the fall,” Sloan said. “Which makes sense since we are an organization based on retention and to keep that normalcy.”
In early May, Sloan and a team of other Panhellenic members including Null, Alyssa Monroe, vice president of recruitment personnel and Jess Roshak, their advisor, started discussing different plans and methods to have recruitment in the fall. “We wanted to come up with a plan for each worst case scenario. We created a hybrid plan which would have some things online but not all, a plan completely online and a plan of total normalities, and we even considered deferring recruitment until the spring,” said Sloan. “Realistically, virtual [recruitment] is our best option. At first we had hopes for a hybrid plan.”
“Our first priority is safety for everyone and for everyone to have a great experience. It would break my heart if someone got COVID from an event we had hosted,” said Sloan.
The council has made the decision to do fall 2020 sorority recruitment completely virtual. The process has already begun with online registration. This online registration allows you to tell them about yourself and apply for the sororities. This year the registration fee is only $10 instead of $50 like in past years.
“I do not want anyone to lose the experiences and friendships that come with being in a sorority and going to events. I want to make every step as genuine and authentic as we can make it,” Sloan said.
The second round, sisterhood round, is when a potential new member is invited to speak with as many as five chapters. You will have 40 minutes of virtual conversations where you will meet sisters in the chapters and hear about their experiences in the sorority.
Next is the preference round, this is when a potential new member would be invited back to a maximum of two chapters. Potential new members will learn about the values of these chapters throughout this round.
Finally, the potential new member gets to select which chapter you prefer to receive a bid from one of the two.
The Kent State Panhellenic Council’s instagram page has Instagram highlights with answers to questions from women and with videos from all the chapters at Kent State.
Jessica Urig can be contacted at email@example.com.