Last weekend, Colgate’s five official fraternities completed a “hybrid” recruitment process with both online and in-person components, while the recruitment process for sororities has been postponed to a Sept. 29 start date following Homecoming. Scheduling decisions were made in conjunction between the governing bodies of fraternities and sororities, the Inter-Fraternity (IFC) and Panhellenic councils, and university administration, and in response to the recent COVID-19 outbreak on campus and the cancellation of in-person events.
IFC President senior Kingston Perry explained how the process was not able to occur as originally planned, fully in-person and mask optional, which would have more closely resembled recruitment in the past. The postponement of all large in-person indoor gatherings, though, required them to readjust, as well as being pushed back a week.
“It’s [COVID-19], and things change, and the health and safety of the Colgate and greater Hamilton community is the most important thing, so we had to come up with a safer option,” Perry said.
After postponing formal recruitment for a week, each fraternity voted in favor of holding recruitment this week, regardless of the virtual, or “hybrid” restrictions.
“Last year we did a fully virtual recruitment and it had its hiccups, but overall went well. I met with Dean Spencer and proposed to him a few plans for a new recruitment process … And what we got, and what the Colgate [Health Analytics Team] voted to allow, was all events in-person, outdoor, fully masked, and without food or drinks being served, and with fully virtual options and alternatives available,” Perry said. “I think it was the best option because it allowed for a more positive recruitment process than being completely over zoom, and for people to actually be together in person, but was also designed to be safer. ”
The Panhellenic Council, the governing body for sororities on campus, was not willing to host a completely virtual recruitment.
“We are trying to avoid virtual recruitment at all costs because we feel strongly that the in-person recruitment experience is incredibly valuable. We want to prioritize the Potential New Member (PNM) experience, and we want them to be able to experience recruitment in person, especially given that their entire first year experience was virtual,” Panhellenic President senior Elisabeth Morin said.
Morin explained that the sororities are still figuring out how best to comply with university regulations while still prioritizing the preferences of each sorority.
“We have been in multiple meetings with the administration to propose plans and go over various approvals for future plans. The Panhellenic [Council] has been working diligently with chapter representatives to hear everyone’s voices and make sure this is an equitable decision … all of the Panhellenic organizations spoke in favor of an in-person recruitment and we are grateful that all organizations have been on the same page,” Morin said. “The biggest need that has been voiced is the need for constant communication and transparency, which we have been trying to provide. As we know information we are quickly sharing it with the chapters so that everyone can be on the same page and on top of planning to ensure everything runs smoothly.”
Delta Delta Delta House Manager Samantha Giuntini explained how her sorority communicated their preferences to the Panhellenic Council.
“In a Zoom call we basically went over the new dates and then all the possible different options (totally virtual, in-person, hybrid, etc.) and then we filled out a form to vote. But we weren’t making the decision there. Ultimately it was up to the Panhellenic Council, and our vote was to determine our chapter’s preference,” Giuntini said.
Perry said that the hybrid format seemed to work well for fraternities this year.
“I thought the weekend was successful. I think that the fraternities did a good job adhering to those guidelines that were set forth by the school for our hybrid form of recruitment. I think what went really well was that we were able to have in person interactions and keep them all outside,” Perry said.
Sophomore Chris Mardirossian, who went through fraternity recruitment last weekend, agreed that the process seemed to work well.
“I didn’t feel like [the hybrid process] was that weird,” he said. “I think this is the new normal.”
Meanwhile, Morin voiced high hopes for the upcoming sorority recruitment process.
“For recruitment I would love to see all the potential new members getting to know everyone and wholeheartedly enjoy the experience in person. I still have memories from when I was a PNM two years ago that have stuck with me to this day, and I want nothing more than for them to be able to have those memories, too.”