Personal connections good in virtual recruitment

By Isaac Lee, The Daily Pennsylvanian; photo via @penn.ifc Instagram

As COVID-19 continues to complicate Greek life traditions, Penn’s eight Panhellenic sororities reported a decline in rush turnout, which was largely held virtually in light of the pandemic. The Interfraternity Council could not provide exact numbers for recruitment.

With the Student Campus Compact prohibiting large gatherings of students to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life modified recruitment to be completely virtual.

“All rush activities are to be held virtually. There is no exception,” associate vice provost for Student Affairs Tamara Greenfield King previously told The Daily Pennsylvanian.

The IFC had to make adjustments to the rush process for its 25 Greek organizations. Prior to the pandemic, IFC recruitment consisted of in-person activities, along with open and closed rushes. The IFC Expo, once an in-person event, was held over Zoom on Jan. 20. Representatives from fraternities, rather than manning tables and information booths, talked to prospective members in Zoom breakout rooms.

Under current guidelines, the IFC organizations must forego the usual social events that have characterized rush, such as game nights, mini-golf, and sports watch parties. College senior Matt Garber, president of Delta Tau Delta, said the lack of such events did not negatively impact the rush process. 

“We talk every year at the start of our recruitment process about what made each of us join the fraternity,” Garber said. “And every single time, the reason is never ever, ‘I thought the events were fun.’ The reason is always that they felt like the people around them in the chapter were interested in them and value them, or they felt like they were already growing to be a part of a community.”