With the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic into the academic year, social and academic fraternities have had to change their recruitment process this fall to comply with the New Orleans COVID-19 guidelines. Some fraternities chose to conduct their recruitment process completely over Zoom or other online platforms, while others are doing a hybrid model.
Coed business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi conducted their recruitment exclusively online.
“Akpsi has recruitment each semester, so a fall and spring process, for the fall this year we did a completely virtual rush process with networking and workshops every night for a week on a platform called Remo,” President Brett McSherry said. “We then did interviews at the end of the week over Zoom.”
Each aspect of the recruitment process was preapproved to ensure it was safe for both the brothers and the rushees. While AKPsi is unsure of what the recruitment process will look like in the spring, junior member Kelsey Maloney believes that conducting recruitment over Reno was a conservative way to ensure complete safety.
“It’s a great way to organically meet people in a pressure free setting … I think it honestly is really difficult to help people find their perfect ‘fit’ this year just because of all of the chaos in the world right now, but having a community around someone is the first step to making them feel engaged in the Tulane community,” Maloney said.
While AKPsi hosted their recruitment exclusively online, the Interfraternity Council created a hybrid model of recruitment with a mix of informational sessions held over Zoom and socially distanced, in-person events. The IFC recruitment process began Sept. 13th with a general informational session over Zoom for all potential new members to learn about the changes to the recruitment process. Two more informational sessions are being held on Oct. 11 and Nov. 8. For PNMs who choose to continue with the recruitment process, each fraternity hosts socially distanced events.
“We have intentionally designed this year’s IFC sponsored recruitment process to be a hybrid model of both virtual and in-person events. All of IFC’s events are structured to provide a safe environment for PNMs to meet active chapter members,” IFC Assistant Director Anthony Ciliberto said. “The 2020-2021 model will allow for individuals to learn about the community, ask questions, and connect with chapters and IFC Exec members in a different, [but] effective setting.”
To remain socially distanced, the recruitment rounds take place in an outdoor setting on campus. One to two fraternities host events for each day of the week. For these events, IFC is following the same capacity guidelines set out for any Tulane Recognized Student Organization including both active members and the PNMs.
IFC is also working on creating more virtual points of engagement to allow students to connect with chapters and resources in the fall semester and prepare for recruitment in the spring. IFC encouraged each chapter to host virtual events to meet PNMs and engage with the Tulane community.
“Social connectedness is a large part of the college experience and our [first-year] students feel the need to have that connection which is absolutely understandable, so we wanted to create a safe and well thought-out plan that would provide the opportunity for them to engage with their peers,” Ciliberto said.
Social chapters are given the option to host their own recruitment events as long as they follow all guidelines and register events with The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Programs. All chapters have maintained an open communication with OFSP and IFC and are asked to remain flexible throughout the duration of the recruitment process.
“I believe that we could see a rise in students participating in the recruitment process because of the desire for social connectedness,” Ciliberto said. “We are already seeing [an] upward trend in our registration numbers both on our formal registration site and with IFC-sponsored chapter events (Recruitment Rounds). These spaces/ events are beneficial for students to have interaction with their upperclassman peers and connect through common values and interests whether it be virtually or in-person. During a time of uncertainty and change, fraternities can provide camaraderie, morale, and support for students.”