Zoom rush provides comfortable benefits

Amid rush uncertainty virtual recruitment allows for new benefits

Ansley Mcneel, Staff Columnist

Formal recruitment looked very different this year for Wake Forest’s sorority members and potential new members. Instead of moving back into Wake Forest early and undergoing rush in person, hundreds of young women joined together via Zoom in order to find their perfect match. Leading up to virtual recruitment, anticipation was high amongst potential new members and sorority women alike. The uncertainty of undergoing a rush process in a format which had never before been attempted brought tension to virtual recruitment.

Despite my personal reservations about what the formal recruitment process would be like online, I now argue that virtual recruitment actually had more benefits than pitfalls for all parties involved. To begin with, virtual recruitment allowed for a more casual environment in which potential new members and active members could get to know one another. During my recruitment process freshman year, I remember feeling incredibly anxious about what clothes I should wear. I was honestly more nervous about what to wear than I was about the actual conversations. I could control what I would wear but I could not control how the conversations would go.

This year, new members were encouraged to wear sweatshirts or t-shirts for three out of five days of recruitment as opposed to a normal year where tee shirts were only allowed during one of four days of recruitment. This alone alleviated the pressure of formal recruitment, as potential new members may feel more comfortable in their clothing and less preoccupied with how their wardrobe would be perceived, especially since only the top part of their outfit would show on a Zoom screen.

Another reason I prefer virtual recruitment was brought to light by one of my best friends, Grace Powell. Grace wears hearing aids and mentioned that during in-person recruitment last year, she struggled to hear the active members of each sorority when they were speaking. Her hearing aids picked up and amplified conversations that were happening nearby, thus making it more difficult to have a seamless conversation with the active member she was paired with.

For virtual recruitment, each potential new member and active member join a breakout room, which excludes any side conversations that could interrupt an exchange. Grace also mentioned that Zoom offers a closed captioning feature that writes out the conversation as it occurs. This feature served to help Grace’s understanding throughout virtual recruitment as well.

Additionally, virtual recruitment offers all participants the luxury of living at home while undergoing a stressful process. Many of my closest friends and I struggled greatly during in-person rush as freshmen, as there was a thin line between checking in with one another and accidentally making someone talk about a day that may have deeply upset them. Especially for freshmen with roommates, many young women struggled to navigate that balance and did not have much space to be alone or process their day. At home, however, it was easier to find physical and emotional distance when needed. On top of that, being surrounded by loved ones who were removed from the situation offered a great deal of comfort to me when I was feeling frustrated with the process. It was a blessing to speak face to face with my family about how my day had gone.

Lastly, I found virtual recruitment to be convenient from the standpoint of maintaining a routine that provided comfort to me throughout the process. When I went through recruitment last year, I felt emotionally and physically exhausted from moving away from my home state before I even attended my first recruitment party on day one. Instead, this year I felt more mentally prepared to undergo the recruitment process in the comfort and established routine of my home.

With all of these differences in mind, I believe that virtual recruitment provided solutions for problems which have long plagued traditional recruitment. Although I agree that staring at a screen for many hours a day is difficult in its own way, I feel that the comforts of home and the benefits of Zoom outweighed the negatives that accompany a traditional formal recruitment.