Updated: Nov 24, 2020
For many students, fraternities and sororities are a staple of the college experience. They provide the opportunity to take part in exclusive events and allow members to make connections they may not otherwise have made.
But even these Greek life organizations, which have been around in America for more than a century, are not immune to the effects of this year’s COVID-19 pandemic.
Salisbury University’s fraternities and sororities have had to find creative ways to adapt to a world in which there is a disease traveling across the globe, a world in which face masks and social distancing are the norm and a world that everyone is doing their best to cope with.
Hannah Cleary, a junior and the public relations chair of Delta Gamma, expressed the struggle that Greek life organizations are currently going through due to COVID-19: “I feel like frat and sorority life as a whole ... is all kind of a little bit struggling just because we can’t meet due to capacity issues because everything is over Zoom.”
Besides holding weekly meetings over Zoom, the sisters of Delta Gamma created point teams where if the team members take certain actions, they will gain points. These actions are both virtual and in-person — for example, hanging out with a sister over Zoom or going to the library.
Members of Delta Gamma are also encouraged to check in on one another.
“I know that our sorority as a whole just tries to encourage checking in on each other cause it [dealing with COVID-19] can be hard,” Cleary explained. For sophomore Carleigh Stokes, director of merchandise and public relations for sorority Alpha Sigma Tau, her group initially struggled to adapt to COVID-19.
“So it’s definitely been a challenge at first. Obviously, we could’ve never seen something like this coming, and so it was really hard when it initially happened,” Stokes said.
Alpha Sigma Tau’s members are participating in both online and in-person events. One in-person event was a socially distanced scavenger hunt around Salisbury.
“It’s something that we probably would’ve never had the idea to do if it weren’t for COVID,” Stokes said.
In addition to holding their events, the sisters of Alpha Sigma Tau recognize one another for their accomplishments, despite the social distance between them.
“We do a lot of things just to like give sisters some recognition within our chapter because it’s kind of hard when you’re not in person ... Like, if you have classes with your sisters, they can’t like see your accomplishments face-to-face, so ... we’ve been trying to like recognize sisters on the side,” Stokes explained.
SU’s fraternities have also had to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senior Michael Ward, president of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. and treasurer for the
National Pan-Hellenic Council, expressed the shift to virtual events that resulted from the pandemic.
“Times where we usually meet people in person, we meet them over Zoom. Most of our events are through Zoom ... I think we’ve had one in-person event,” Ward explained.
Senior and Alpha Sigma Phi President Tim Jakubek is in a similar situation. He explained that his fraternity has had to transition to online meetings and other events.
“Everyone got together in person, and we’ve been doing that over Zoom now. We conducted interviews over Zoom, and we’re going to have elections next week over Zoom,” Jakubek stated.
One pandemic-related difficulty Jakubek has faced is getting to know members of the fraternity he is a part of.
“Like, you’ve got to get these kids to commit to you, and you as a chapter have to commit to them without really getting to know them all that well,” Jakubek commented.
Though this pandemic hasn’t been easy, it has brought out creativity and resiliency in the members of the SU community, including Greek life organizations.
While COVID-19 is here to stay, remember to stay safe, wash your hands and look to SU’s organizations as an example. Even though it may be harder to keep in touch with those you care about, it can be done safely and even in a fun way.
By ALLISON GUY
Staff graphic by Mac Cotterino