The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, like most areas of our campus, had to make several large adjustments this year due to Covid-19. Recognizing the importance of involvement and the need to create safe processes to do so, our staff shifted our marketing focus to virtual platforms in order to prepare students for intake and recruitment. A few of the new initiatives we developed included:
- Greek 101 Canvas course – created a comprehensive learning experience for students interested in any of our four councils. It also provided a longer opportunity for students to explore their Greek life options without having to come to an in-person or Zoom event. Over 550 students took the Greek 101 course.
- Reduced registration cost and an extended registration period for both IFC and PHC. With the registration deadline extensions, IFC had a record number of students sign up for recruitment (459) and Panhellenic hit their goal to meet a typical year’s total (614).
- Mass emailing from our office to every unaffiliated first- and second-year student with all four council options and specifics for joining. These students also received multiple registration deadline reminders.
Our Multicultural Greek Council and National Pan-Hellenic Council quickly adapted their processes to create virtual information sessions. MGC in particular created a week of engaging events on Zoom and other platforms to engage with interested students and showcase their organizations. Our office met with local, regional, and inter/national advisors to determine best pathways forward for individual chapter intake processes. Most have plans to move forward with intake this spring.
Formal recruitment processes for the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils were completely virtual this year. We worked closely with the national umbrella organizations and compiled best practices from other campuses to determine the ideal virtual process for our campus. Each recruitment process was held entirely on Zoom. Similar to in-person recruitment options, potential new members took part in a number of Zoom events each day based on the invitations they received. Our chapters worked all fall semester to create creative ways to engage with students. Most developed videos that highlight their chapter experience, and each planned creative and safe ways to welcome new members to their organizations. Some of these include delivering welcome items to the student when they return to campus, scheduled times to stop by their facility to take a “bid day” photo and meet chapter leaders, and mailing welcome baskets/yards signs to students who are remote learning this semester. Our IFC organizations got creative with their invite-only events during recruitment with some examples including a virtual game show or an online video game event.
As Panhellenic recruitment is our most logistically complex process, we added a number of new features to help our community members and potential new members be as prepared as possible for the process. A number of added additions for virtual recruitment this year included:
- Several training sessions and mock recruitment events during the fall semester to help train chapters on how to utilize Zoom breakout rooms to rotate members for one-on-one conversations.
- The addition of video submissions during registration as an added way for chapters and potential new members to get to know each other better.
- A Panhellenic virtual “help desk” where potential new members can stop by anytime to ask questions or help work through technical issues.
- Recruiting volunteers from FSL offices from around the country to assist in our final selections process.
- Built in assessment tools to gage student experiences with the virtual format.
As with any new venture there were a number of lessons learned. There were also a few initiatives that we so well received, we may use those formats moving forward. Hybrid recruiting models may be the future in the fraternity and sorority world, and may also be the best way to reach a broader audience.