COVID-19 restrictions weigh heavily on fraternities and sororities

By Jamilah Lewis, Staff Reporter

With recruitment just around the corner, SIU fraternities and sororities are making adjustments to their rushing process due to COVID-19.

Several meetings have been held between Campus Fraternity and Sorority Life Coordinator Rachel Dunning, Greek Council members and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life to plan how recruitment will take place this semester.

Interfraternity Council Vice President of Recruitment and Retention Patrick Murphy said that going into this semester for recruitment would contrast to the way it would go every other year.

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“As a council and greek community, we all realized that it would be quite different this semester for everybody,” Murphy said. “We were constantly updating and seeing what the new guidelines would be, and seeing how we would work around those.”

Murphy said organizations such as the Interfraternity Council, College Panhellenic Council, Multicultural Greek Council, and National Pan-Hellenic Council have held their own meetings to see how they should adapt to the new guidelines.

Just like any other RSO who wants to hold an event on campus, Greek organizations have to fill out a COVID-19 approval form which requires a two weeks notice prior to the event. 

Once the university approves of it, they must follow the common guidelines of social distancing, wearing masks, and using hand sanitizer.

The SIU Greek Life Organization created their own set of safety requirements with the main item stating that if fraternities and sororities have any events it states the maximum number of people with social distancing requirements, and how to stay safe for fraternity and sorority members that are living in their houses.

It is still being decided whether events dealing with philanthropy, brotherhood, and sisterhood and chapter social gatherings will be held face-to-face.

The Fraternity and Sorority Life 2020 Health Requirements discusses how each fraternity and sorority house has to provide a set of information at the beginning of the year concerning house addresses, the number of rooms and bathrooms in the house and if they are shared or singles, and contact information for the chapter’s property manager.

The requirements said failing to comply with the health and safety guidelines that the university put in place will possibly result in going to student rights and responsibilities, event probation, and any other penalties made by the councils or the university.

Interfraternity Council President Paxton Morse said he has been in his position since the beginning of this year and didn’t expect COVID-19 to affect things like school so quickly.

“There was always a big worry about how we would get new students to find out about greek life,” Morse said. “How we can get them to join our organizations and how we can get members engaged while not breaking the social distancing guidelines.”

Because most of Greek life decided to do recruitment over Zoom, Morse said the recruits would first meet the active members and learn what the sorority or fraternity is about, then meet alumni and discuss how joining greek life benefited them. Recruits are also given an informational.

Both Murphy and Morse said of the big events Greek life participates in on campus, the most looked forward to are Theta Xi, Greek Sing, homecoming week and the Greek Barbeque. 

“The fall semester is the main semester for fraternities and sororities as far as recruitment goes,” Murphy said. “It’s just because that’s when a lot of freshmen will be coming in and it’s a good time to go out there and recruit young new college students into organizations.”

Murphy said he feels all of Greek life has done its best to adapt to the new guidelines that have to be followed. 

Spring recruitment is also planned to be virtual and will only change depending upon state guidelines. 

“I hope that it will be easier next semester,” Murphy said. “Right now the university is following a policy that is essentially stating that the spring semester will play out exactly as this semester is going, depending on what the Illinois guidelines are.”

Staff reporter Jamilah Lewis can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @jamilahlewis.

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