During the first few weeks of the Fall 2020 semester, Colgate Greek life organizations conducted virtual recruitment for potential new members (PNMs) interested in joining their organizations. All fraternities and sororities on campus utilized Zoom video conferencing and questionnaires to evaluate PNMs.
Fraternity recruitment took place virtually starting on Tuesday, Sept. 15 and ended Saturday, Sept. 19. Each of the men’s organizations sent out video presentations to give PNMs an opportunity to see each of the houses, meet members and get a feel for the organization.
The process was conducted entirely virtually to comply with University health and safety guidelines. President of the Interfraternity Council and senior Jack Flanagan indicated that the week was still successful in recruiting new members despite the altered format.
“Obviously it was very unfortunate to conduct a week that is so focused and reliant upon in-person interaction completely online,” Flanagan said. “However, given the cards we were dealt, the presidents, recruitment chairs and PNMs all did a great job buying into our plan and we were able to make the most out of fall recruitment.”
For fraternities on campus, the process was handled by chapters with the advice of the Center for Leadership and Student Involvement (CLSI) and the Interfraternity Council.
For sororities on campus — Tri Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Gamma Phi Beta — the rush process began on Wednesday, Sept. 23 and came to a close on Monday, Sept. 28. Over 280 PNMs registered to go through sorority recruitment, making it the highest registration since 2012.
Recruitment Chair for Kappa Kappa Gamma and junior Elisabeth Morin expressed satisfaction with how the recruitment process went despite challenges.
“Although recruitment was not as we expected it to be, we still had an amazing time meeting PNMs and the process was much more productive than we anticipated. All of our members missed the atmosphere of being in the house for recruitment, but I am so proud of our chapters enthusiasm and perseverance through these changes,” Morin said.
Although the chapters were able to conduct recruitment virtually, several recruitment counselors elected by Panhellenic Council expressed disappointment in the process and a lack of fairness towards potential new members.
“I think virtual recruitment was completely unsuccessful. Women got dropped from houses without even meeting some of the members. It’s also so much harder to make meaningful connections over Zoom and I could tell the women were nervous about it. Being a [Recruitment Counselor] as well was difficult because it felt less sincere reaching out. Texting my PNMs [about] how they were doing was so much less sincere than actually seeing them in person,” Senior Bella Gonzalez said.
PNMs submitted answers to a variety of questions with chapter members evaluating them on these responses for the first night of women’s recruitment. Following this night, PNMs were invited back to certain chapters based on their responses.
Senior Annie Knowles, who was a recruitment counselor for the PNMs, indicated disappointment with how the first night of recruitment and the evaluation process played out.
“While I think there is potential for virtual recruitment to be successful in that physical appearance may play less of an unfair, biased-based role (less concern over what to wear [and] being uncomfortable in heels [or] dresses) and the PNMs and chapter members can just focus on their conversations over the screen [or] in written form, I noticed frustrations from my PNMs regarding their inabilities to fully get to know a chapter without meeting members in person,” Knowles said.