Freshmen women who return to Hillsdale’s campus early in January will be the first to participate in a new socially-distanced sorority rush process.
Sororities will adjust their recruitment process this year to accommodate those with concerns about COVID-19, according to Associate Dean of Women Rebekah Dell. The Greek organizations will hold an in-person, socially-distanced recruitment week with a remote option available to participating students.
“Our first priority will be keeping in-person activities as has been consistent with the college’s approach this fall,” Dell said in an email. “We understand some students may be sick or in contact isolation and are preparing a fully digital version of recruitment and can move to an all-remote recruitment format if the conditions require.”
The recruitment process will still take place over a period of three days, but each day there will be multiple rounds of recruitment to ensure there are fewer women in the sorority houses at one time. Some events which normally take place in the sorority houses have also been relocated to alternate spots, according to Dell.
Several factors contributed to the changed recruitment process this year.
“We have and will continue to consult Panhellenic Nationals recommendations, the support of college administration, and local chapter advisors while being mindful of current health department and CDC guidelines,” Dell said.
Despite these new changes, Chi Omega Recruitment Chair and senior Anna Katherine Daley said she thinks the process of matching women to the right house will still be effective and meaningful.
“Whether recruitment is virtual or not, I don’t foresee any difficulty in each house finding the women they want to call sisters and each woman finding their home too,” Daley said. “Thankfully, since Hillsdale practices deferred recruitment, Greek women and women considering Greek life have plenty of time to get to know each other in more informal ways throughout the fall semester.”
Kappa Kappa Gamma Recruitment Chair and senior Samantha Roon said that she wants to give women “as normal of an experience as we can.”
“For girls that are in person, we will follow all protocols — masks, social distancing, small group size — that are necessary to be safe,” Roon said.
Though the new restrictions will provide some challenges, Roon said she will make them work for the sake of the new members.
“We are confident that regardless of the situation, a potential new member will interact with enough members and get sufficient insight into Kappa that she can make the decision that is best for her,” she said. “It is my job to make sure this is possible, and it will be a lot of work, but the prospect of welcoming new members makes it completely worth it.”
Dell said that these new procedures will not impact the number of women recruited and that the sororities have shown a commitment and willingness to adapt to changing situations.
“The goal has been to retain the key content and spirit of recruitment while working within current constraints,” Dell said. “The sororities have been flexible, understanding, and willing to put in the hard work and I am confident that will remain consistent throughout the process.”
Should the sororities have to switch to an all-virtual recruitment, Dell has already formulated a plan.
“Virtual recruitment will operate much like in-person, but will be hosted over Zoom,” she said. “We will use the breakout feature for small group and one-on-one conversations. The chapters will also utilize videos and possibly other digital formats to relay information to the women participating in recruitment.”
Chi Omega member and senior Saige Connelly said recruitment chairs are doing their best to make sure women can come into the sorority house on the third day of recruitment.
“That’s the day that everyone decides what house they want to be in,” she said. “We want to make sure girls get to go into the actual house and see that sorority before they make a final decision.”
Despite these new changes, Connelly said the most women in the sorority feel there will still be a healthy number of prospective new members.
“I think we’ll have a lot of girls show up. I’m not sure how socially-distanced recruitment will affect their decision, but the girls in the house are pretty optimistic about it,” Connelly said.