Editor's note: Tim Shelton is employed by Orange Media Network on the marketing team, and sometimes works with The Daily Barometer.
Fraternities and sororities at Oregon State University are working to welcome new members in a safe way amid the COVID-19 pandemic while keeping a sense of community among current members.
Stephanie Plata, a fifth-year mechanical engineering major and vice president of Gamma Alpha Omega Sorority Inc. said in an email she is looking forward to welcoming new members and collaborating with them to create a community where they can feel welcome.
“I am a proud member of Gamma Alpha Omega Sorority, Inc. We are a non-housed, Latina-founded, service-based organization and the first multicultural Greek [organization] at Oregon State,” Plata said via email. “I am currently the vice president, academic chair and stroll chair for my chapter. I also serve on the Multicultural Greek Council's executive board as executive director.”
The Multicultural Greek Council is one of five governing councils for OSU's Greek organizations that serve non-housed chapters. The MGC is planning to continue with its annual fall meet and greet while respecting the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s public health measures.
“We are also anticipating at least one new member presentation. With that, we are keeping up to date with CDC information as well as OSU policies as we prepare safe and fun interactions with our council and potential new members,” Plata said in an email.
Plata said the MGC has already taken steps to conduct virtual recruitment using MGC Zoom.
“Our council has already taken some steps in the direction of virtual recruitment with our MGC Zoom Q&A. In this recording, our council members shared their experiences and answered questions about being a part of a multicultural Greek organization,” Plata said via email. “The video can be found on our website for anyone interested in learning more. Students can expect the same welcoming energy come fall.”
Tim Shelton, a fourth-year business administration major and president of the Interfraternity Council said the recruitment process has changed to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19.
“We have been recruiting people [remotely] to reduce risk as much as possible—so for example, we are not doing any in-person meetings. We are not doing any house tours,” Shelton said.
One of the initiatives that the Interfraternity Council has taken is to create a fraternity recruitment registration list to ease the transition for incoming freshmen and anyone interested in joining the recruitment process can contact the Interfraternity Council recruitment marketing vice president at (760) 246-2196, Shelton said via email.
Leslie Schacht Drey, associate dean of Student Life and director of the Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life, said in an email the student leaders of the various governing councils are currently outlining plans based on the guidance for fall term 2020 provided by OSU, and the details will be announced on the Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life website in future weeks.
“Fraternity & Sorority Life is hoping to welcome new students to join chapters in the fall term. Individual governing councils are working on plans for the fall term for each of their own processes,” said Schacht Drey via email. “The Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life will participate in virtual summer START sessions being planned so that incoming transfer and new students have the chance to learn more about opportunities to join these student organizations.”
While the Interfraternity Council is brainstorming how to plan new events that are exciting and safe for students, the recruitment team is still currently focused on remote summer recruiting, Shelton said in an email.
“This next recruitment cycle will be the most exciting and fresh session we’ve had in years. Essentially we’re getting creative about how to give both recruits and chapters the best experience,” Shelton said via email.