On Sept. 26, 514 women at Sacred Heart University prepared to go through sorority recruitment online. Usually, recruitment involves face-to-face interaction in classrooms throughout the university’s buildings. This year, students had to settle for Zoom conversations due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Normally, a woman going through recruitment experiences eight rounds of conversations with each sorority on the first day. Women walk from classroom to classroom to find the sorority they feel most at home with. At the end of the recruitment process, which takes a few days, they run to the quad to be welcomed by their new sorority. With restrictions placed by the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) due to COVID-19, Sacred Heart believed the best option for recruitment would be an entirely virtual process.
After the weekend, women from both sides of recruitment, as well as the coordinators of the event, had their own opinions about how the virtual process went.
“Overall, despite the entire process being virtual, I felt it still ran quite smoothly. Of course we encountered a couple of technical glitches in the beginning, but all chapters were able to work through it and fix their problems to ensure the remainder of the process was as smooth as possible,” said Nick Frias, the Director of Greek life.
All colleges were required to have contingency plans in case they would not be able to have in-person recruitment. Ultimately, most schools chose the safer, virtual option.
Most women going through the process had positive experiences, but also said that they missed out on the luxuries of in-person recruitment.
Freshman Sam Faeth was one of the many first-year women going through recruitment, and she was unsure how the process would turn out.
“It was very difficult to get a feel for the sororities over Zoom,” said Faeth. “However, that was kind of expected. There were times where someone’s audio would cut out and I’d have to guess what she was saying by reading her lips.”
Faeth said that despite the technical glitches, she is still happy with the sorority she ended up joining, even though the process was not what she expected it to be.
“To me, virtual recruitment wasn’t ideal because I feel like I would have had clearer views on the chapter’s values if I met the chapters in person on Friday instead of a video,” said sophomore Alissa Brandl.
Some students already in sororities had similar experiences to those who were going through the recruitment process.
“I thought recruitment on Zoom was interesting because we could not be in person and talk normally, but online, it felt a little more comfortable because we were in the comfort of our own rooms,” said sophomore Ashley Kenneally.
Other women said it was also a break from the usual scene of only seeing people with their masks on around campus.
“Virtual recruitment allowed us to be safe and also allowed us to see people’s emotions from under their mask,” said junior Savannah Palas.
Due to the fact that there were only two rounds of recruitment as opposed to the typical three during in-person recruitment, many women were drawn to a new sorority joining Sacred Heart’s Panhellenic community, Delta Delta Delta (Tri Delta).
Tri Delta is a national organization. Many women said they were not getting the full experience with the process being virtual and wanted to form their own community from the ground up. This new established sorority on campus had bid day on Oct. 4.
Although not ideal for some, the NPC encouraged the virtual process in hopes of still fostering engagement between the chapters and the women going through recruitment.
“Virtual recruitment proved to me that different didn’t necessarily have to mean bad. Girls in our chapter were still able to connect and bond virtually,” said senior Brianna Blanco. “This goes to show you how resilient and flexible we have all really become.”