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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Activities & Organizations

Greek life shifts recruitment online during pandemic


The University’s fraternities and sororities have transitioned recruitment and rush online to accommodate for health and safety concerns created by the pandemic. | File photo

Greek life organizations at the University adapted their recruitment and rush processes to a virtual format as the coronavirus continues to pose national health and safety concerns.

Typically seen tabling in the Student Center and hosting in-person information sessions, the University’s fraternities and sororities have shifted operations online for the fall semester. 

Some panhellenic councils, including the Houston Panhellenic Council, began recruitment on Sept. 18. Others, including the multicultural Greek council, are holding ongoing recruitment processes for the next few weeks with controlled in-person programming.

“It’s been quite the adventure,” said Jason Bergeron, director for the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life. “The connection between new recruits and current members is still there. It looks different, but it’s still there.”

UH fraternity and sorority leaders have led their chapters largely from a distance during the pandemic, but have continued to hold small, in-person education events during Fall 2020 in compliance with University guidelines on student gatherings.

“That might be with just a small handful of interested individuals, who might be in a room with a membership educator, doing in-person membership education with one or two people,” Bergeron said. 

Students have gotten creative on how to keep old recruitment practices alive while upholding health and safety precautions, Bergeron added. 

Tabling events, which drew the most  attention from prospective members before the pandemic, have been scaled back to accommodate for COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.

Students can still connect with Greek life members in the Student Center South to get information on their organizations. 

Gamma Beta chapter president Kevin-Dat Nguyen said that limits placed on tabling by the Student Center’s reduced capacity changed how the fraternity engaged with prospective recruits.

“We would try to contact interesting parties prior and have them come at different times so that it wasn’t too congested at the table,” Nguyen said. “At the end of the day, we just want to educate people, specifically freshmen, and make them feel welcome at this school.” 

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here

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