Sorority recruitment adapts to COVID-19


Julia Ochsenhirt, Staff Writer

Sorority recruitment at Wake Forest is typically a fanfare-filled event. Throughout the fall semester, prospective new members (PNMs) attend a number of events geared towards meeting current members and learning about the university’s eight unique chapters. As recruitment week approaches, sorority executive boards create videos selling their chapter, coordinating matching outfits for their hundreds of active members, practicing chants and preparing preference night rituals and bid day celebrations. 

Clearly, recruitment will look radically different in the COVID-19 era. The first aspect of the process needing adjustment are the Pop-in with Panhel events (pop-ins). These are informal events at the beginning of the fall semester that allow PNMs to chat with active members of each chapter. This year, each sorority has been designated a particular day to run a series of Zoom events. The first virtual pop-in was with Alpha Delta Pi (ADPi) on Sept. 24. The chapter hosted “coffee chats,” Q&A panels and a “meet the sisters” event, which offered PNMs a chance to chat one-on-one with active members. 

Senior Emily Claire Kibbe, ADPi’s Vice President of Marketing, detailed how pop-ins used to function and how the experience has changed due to coronavirus. 

“In the past we stood in this huge conference room and there were 15-20 people from each chapter that stood there and you walked up, said hi and then left,” Kibbe said. “Everyone I talked to liked the experience better [this year] because you’re sitting there with one person having an actual conversation.”

Uncertainty surrounding what kinds of in-person gatherings will be permissible in January and debate over spring semester dates have made it challenging for sorority leaders to plan recruitment week itself. Recruitment Team, the group in charge of coordinating Panhellenic Recruitment, anticipated announcing its plan for recruitment on Oct. 1. However, the team waited for the university to release the official Spring semester schedule before making their announcement. 

As of Oct. 5, the Recruitment Team has decided on a fully online recruitment experience. PNMs will send in a video introducing themselves as part of their registration and recruitment rounds will take place over Zoom beginning Jan. 16. Bid day will be Jan. 22, the day before move-in for the spring semester. Senior Anna Hogewood, Vice President of Membership in the Panhellenic Council, clarified that all recruitment plans are subject to change as the college administration works out details of the spring semester. 

Regardless, Kibbe is confident that online recruitment will be a rewarding experience for PNMs. 

“I have friends that ran [fall] recruitment at other schools and having talked to them about it, everyone who went through virtual recruitment thought it was better than being in person,” Kibbe said. “Having a conversation one-on-one on the computer is so much less stressful than sitting in a room where you’re screaming because there’s so many people and where you see everyone else there, which is intimidating.” 

Senior Grace Evangelista, Panhellenic Delegate for Delta Delta Delta, is less enthused about online recruitment. 

“It’s harder to get to know somebody over video chat than it is in person,” Evangelista said while also adding that treasured recruitment traditions will likely be lost this year. “Normally, when girls open their bid cards on bid day, they come running out to their sorority and it’s just this gigantic crowd with people jumping around and everybody celebrating the new members. It’s sad to think that that will be different this year.”

Despite the disadvantages of online recruitment, Evangelista encourages interested girls to go through with the process. In her words: “Joining a sorority is a great way of expanding your social circle and getting to know new people. I would give it a chance, and keep in mind that new members will be able to reap the full benefits of Greek life once we have covid under control.”

Registration for spring 2021 recruitment starts Oct. 8 and closes Nov. 6. PNMs should also plan to attend a virtual assembly on Nov. 18 for more information about recruitment.