Greek Life Recruitment Altered, Postponed After Case Surge


Valerie Deleon

RECRUITMENT RESCHEDULE: Colgate’s Interfraternity and Panhellenic councils announce new dates of fall rush in late September.

*This article was updated with the most recent information as of Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.* 

After announcing the postponement of fraternity and sorority recruitment last Sunday following a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases across the student body, the Panhellenic and Inter-Fraternity Councils announced dates and details for their respective recruitments in accordance with new COVID-19 guidance. Fraternity recruitment is set to begin Sept. 15 in a hybrid format while sorority recruitment will begin fully in-person, but with restrictions, on Sept. 29.

Both fraternity and sorority recruitment were initially set to begin on Wednesday, Sept. 7. Following the implementation of a universal mask mandate and a discouragement of in-person events for at least two weeks, both the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Council postponed recruitment indefinitely for at least two weeks, according to Panhellenic President senior Elisabeth Morin.

We have decided to postpone formal recruitment in light of the recent surge of COVID-19 cases out of concern for the health and safety of our community. Although this is upsetting to our chapters, it was the right decision and, at the end of the day, it’s all about giving the potential new members the best experience,” Morin said at the time of postponement. 

As of updated information on Sept. 14, fraternity recruitment will span Sept. 15 through Sept. 18 in a hybrid model, according to IFC President senior Kingston Perry. The last two days of recruitment will be permitted to occur in-person but must have no food present and take place outdoors with masking required, Perry added in an email to potential new members on Tuesday. IFC is also putting in place alternative virtual recruitment options for students who may be in quarantine or isolation to ensure they can participate in the recruitment process on the same timeline.

Sorority recruitment — intended to be fully in-person — is still pending approval by the University Task Force on Reopening and is set to take place Sept. 29 through Oct. 3, according to Morin. 

“We are fortunate to have last year’s model to fall back on, because last year’s model was completely virtual. It’s an ongoing process, recruitment leaders have expressed interest in amending certain aspects of the fully-virtual model, and some want recruitment to be different from the way we did it last year,” Morin added.

The push to delay recruitment was set with the intention to give potential new members a quality in-person experience and opportunity to visit the on-campus houses, while simultaneously prioritizing the health and safety of those participating, especially given the recent rise in circulating illnesses, including COVID-19. 

Phi Delta Theta President senior Chris Maffeo and stressed the importance of balancing the ongoing outbreak with the priorities of new member recruitment.

“It definitely threw a wrench in our plans, we were planning on having a full in-person recruitment, and that’s not happening anymore […] We’re going to try to maintain low COVID[-19 numbers throughout Rush week because we don’t want to be anymore cause for an outbreak more so than what’s already happened […] We’ve elected either a fully virtual, or, depending on permission from the school, hybrid-looking rush week for the fraternities, at least,” Maffeo said. 

The uncertainty surrounding recruitment timelines has served as a point of anxiety for potential new members looking to go through the formal recruitment process. 

Sophomore Noelle Kennedy is among many other peers in her grade affected by COVID-19’s pending recruitment guidelines.

“Waiting to hear back about when recruitment would be was stressful because I was excited to meet more people. It is nice now to know when it will be starting and have something to look forward to … I know many of the other sophomores wish it could have been sooner, but we are trying to remain understanding because of the covid outbreak,” Kennedy said. 

Following the shift in recruitment, subsequent shifts will also occur within the chapters.

“Given we have postponed formal recruitment, our chapters are pushing back the dates of the new member period to accommodate the shift. Some chapters are also adjusting semester dues for the new members to reflect the shorter amount of time they will spend as an affiliated member,” Morin said.