Digital recruitment during COVID-19

By Bradley Gonzales, The Daily Aztec (San Diego State University)

Via Instagram @sdsu_sigmachi

For the first time ever, San Diego State students rushed with fraternities and sororities digitally over the past two weeks due to concerns about COVID-19. 

The decision to hold the Fall semester rush was met with some mixed reviews from those within Greek life. Many participants felt like they were being robbed of their college experience; however, most respected the decision. 

“I think it would’ve been a little more fun and relaxed in-person,” said business junior Sean Erdman. “I was on Zoom for upwards of seven hours a day…but I’m glad I did it anyway.”

Message from SDSU IFC via Instagram @sdsuifc

Students made their way to Zoom to talk with active members and see which Greek houses fit them the best. If the interest is mutual, students will receive a bid to join the Fraternity or Sorority.

Amidst a community outbreak of COVID-19 at SDSU’s campus with over 800 cases to date, deciding to hold rush online instead of in-person was an easy call. Due to classes being mostly online and the spike in cases around the College Area, leaving it somewhat deserted there was no possibility for Greek life to hold rush as they normally do. 

Instead of going house to house, students went from Zoom call to Zoom call – with some finding it harder than others to connect with the active members in a digital setting.  However, despite the challenges, students were still able to enjoy the process. 

“Overall the experience was good,” said finance junior Armen Tumanov. “It was definitely briefer … so it’s hard to judge what fraternity fits you the best.”

With physical isolation in play due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students are left wondering how fraternities and sororities alike will handle these unprecedented times. 

After the suspension of 14 chapters following the death of Dylan Hernandez last year, both fraternities and sororities are using this semester to rebrand their image. They want to showcase how Greek life can be a positive experience for students, even with a virtual platform. 

Fabiola Sarabia Roa, the President of SDSU’s Lambda Sigma Gamma sorority chapter, said Greek life can open doors for students looking to make an impact in college. 

“It does have a positive impact on students,” she said. “Many people in our organization were lost and even lonely before joining our organization. Once integrated into Greek life, you’re not only allowed to expand your connections, but you are also able to make a positive, long-lasting impact on others and meet people you never thought you would meet.”

While highlighting the social benefits, Roa also noted the importance of community service and keeping others safe. 

“Everything is completely online to prevent large gatherings and the possibility of people falling ill,” she said. “We are planning on having a virtual fundraiser for our philanthropy. This means that we want to fundraise for underserved communities to help youth go to college. We are also planning on doing a scholarship this year for youth in a local high school.”

All in all, students, fraternities and sororities are adapting to this unique situation and look to make the best out of this mostly online semester – while still preserving the rich campus culture.