On Friday, Sept. 4, The University of Tampa Interfraternity Council announced on Instagram that fraternity recruitment is to be pushed online as a response to COVID-19. Following this announcement, sororities were told by the UT Panhellenic Executive Board they had to cease all in-person events on and off campus.
Sorority recruitment at UT will commence on Friday, Sept. 18, and will end with bid day on Sunday, Sept. 20.
UT Panhellenic has planned to hold virtual recruitment since June, as a response to COVID-19. However, they expressed to the chapters that they possibly could hold a socially distanced bid day on-campus, with individual members coming at different times as to not break COVID laws. With this new update ceasing all in-person bid day events, sororities are trying to figure out how to hold a virtual, but fun, bid day.
As a member of a sorority at UT, I think that it’s smart to have moved the majority of recruitment online. The first few rounds of recruitment are typically face-to-face, with sometimes hundreds of people in the same room, which would be hard to have in-person and socially distanced.
With having access to Zoom and other technologies, I believe it was necessary for Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) at UT to make the switch.
I have friends in sororities at state schools who had non-socially distant bid days, sometimes without masks on. Seeing these pictures on Instagram made me nervous, and sure enough, the COVID cases climbed in the following weeks.
I understand that this is not an option at UT, and would result in an increase in COVID cases. But with methodical precautions, I believe that sororities could have held small socially distanced bid days on-campus.
Bid day is one of the best memories most sorority members have from their college experience. It’s a day when you are welcomed into a new community with open arms.
“As nerve wracking as it was getting my bid day card, as soon as I opened it, it felt amazing,” said Jenna Hill, sophomore member of Delta Gamma. “You can’t really compare it to anything else. I feel bad for the new pledge class who doesn’t get to share that experience.”
With this new announcement, sororities at UT are getting creative, trying to make it as special as possible for the future new members.
“It’s not the easiest thing considering it’s all virtual this year, but I’ve planned some fun bonding activities via Zoom so we can all get to know each other better on the new members first special day in our sorority,” said Morgan Finger, junior member of Delta Zeta.
Fraternities at UT have also recently made the change to host all events over Zoom. Their recruitment week will commence Sunday, Sept. 20.
It’s not an ideal situation – members of these communities want to find new members that will reflect their values and will click with other members. It will be hard to get the best impression from someone through a laptop screen.
FSL at UT is doing all they can to decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19. They’ve been advocating for students to wear masks and threatening members and chapters with consequences if they break UT’s COVID rules. Although I believe bid day could be carried out in a socially distant and safe manner, I respect and trust this decision as they’re just looking out for the safety of the students.