Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) at Salisbury University was forced to make changes for their events and rush process because of COVID-19 limitations.
Sororities like Delta Gamma struggled to plan campus events last year. Other FSL chapters, like Pi Lambda Phi and Alpha Sigma Phi, withdrew from rush processes.
Delta Gamma's Director of Primary Recruitment and Director of Rituals Elyse DeLauro, Delta Gamma Director of New Members Summer Carbaugh, Pi Lambda Phi President Lorenzo Brandani and Alpha Sigma Phi Director of Communications Charlie Gray, were affected by COVID-19.
“We weren’t really allowed to have any events last year, which was frustrating because we saw other clubs and organizations who were allowed to do that stuff that we weren’t allowed to really do much of anything."
Carbaugh further expressed how, "the lack of COVID-19 protocol for any SU related organizations was confusing and frustrating."
Students interested in becoming familar with different fraternities or sororities on campus can rush for those chapters, but COVID-19 and it's restrictions have made it difficult to become aquainted with the different chapters.
The restrictions fraternities and sororities faced affected rushing and the overall desire for potential new members to rush. Not only did all members discuss that it was harder to recruit and rush, but chapters also ended up with much smaller pledge classes then in previous years.
For Delta Gamma, Carbaugh commented the year before the pandemic DG recieved up to 41 new members. This past year, the sorority reached over 30 members. Carbaugh even said the recruitment numbers were "definitely fewer people than we hoped for."
"Oh, it was bad, it was really bad. It was absolutely awful, I think I'm speaking on behalf of everybody, I don’t think anybody really liked the virtual Meet the Brothers," Brandani said.
Pi Lambda Phi disliked the altered rushing process. The chapter withdrew completely from rush during the fall semester because they felt the experience would not be the same.
Gray discussed Alpha Sigma Phi, however, was especially unlucky last year because they were place under acedemic suspention the night before 2020's rush interviews due to COVID-19. Being unable to give out bids to potential new members caused a significant lack of recruits and a ‘hiccup’ in family lines regarding bigs and littles, according to Gray.
There was a learning curve for sororities and fraternities with zoom meetings and restricted social events. DeLauro, a senior sister in Delta Gamma, adapted to online events and fraternity and sorority life last year during the pandemic.
“It was really organized and we didn’t have any hiccups but it was really chaotic. It was really stressful and very unfamilar," DeLauro said.
Although FSL members faced challenges, there were benefits to adapting to the pandemic.
“COVID-19, believe it or not, made us evolve and adapt as we found better ways to do certain things, like community service hours," Brandani said. "We had up to 200 or more hours of community service, and that’s only one aspect of fraternity and sorority life that COVID-19 kind of helped us improve on. I feel we would not have been as inclined to do as many hours if we ... coordinat[ed] schedules [better] between every fraternity member in the organization."
As the community slowly returned to the way it was before COVID-19, last year’s events caused the chapters to become even more thankful for each other.
“The campus is a really fun environment and I really missed out on it last semester," Gray said. "It’s really fun to be back and say hi to everybody as you walk around, I love that. Last semester I didn’t get to see any members and it’s so much nicer just being able to see everybody that I missed."
Its no arument that SU's FSL adapted and changed their yearly traditions.
“Do I think [fraternity and sorority] life would be bigger right now if COVID-19 didn’t happen? Yes, without a doubt. Do I think we're in a horrible desperate position? No, I just think it set us back a little bit, but not a big issue in the long run.”
By HAYDEN TAHAVORI
Featured images courtesy of dgsalisbury and pilam_su instagram accounts.