Official recruitment for Greek life paused until spring, reps talk fall

Category:  News
Wednesday, August 26th, 2020 at 8:36 PM

Greek life is going to look much different this semester because of COVID-19.  

Since Edinboro University announced its plan for the fall semester back in July, most, if not all aspects of campus life have been rearranged to fit a remote format. As stated on the university's campus planning page: “a limited number of in-person events will be held for campus residents. All other face-to-face activities and events, both on and off campus, will be canceled.” 

According to Erika DePalma, president of Edinboro’s Delta Zeta chapter, all 11 Greek life organizations have decided to defer formal recruitment until spring 2021. Most groups will still be offering continuous open bidding, an informal version of recruitment, through online interaction. 

Recruitment for the Greek life organizations normally occurs within the first few weeks of the semester. DePalma explained that the groups are instead hoping to give recruits the full experience in the spring. Until then, there are several online events planned among the different groups; the current goal for many is to engage possible recruits and simply keep in touch.  

Although there is no set date for rush week or bid day, there are many activities, games, and information services available this semester through various online formats. Greek life organizations at Edinboro hope these efforts will keep their eventual recruitment numbers consistent. 

“Our biggest resource for keeping connected in a safe way is Zoom,” said Mariah Gareis, Panhellenic representative. “We have a lot to plan still.” 

Another Greek life representative referenced common reasoning behind joining the organizations, along with potential challenges of fall.  

“A lot of Greek life recruitment is based around meeting people and making connections, both of which are extremely hard to do in a virtual setting,” said Noah Morus, president of Lambda Chi Alpha.  

With official recruitment halted until spring, time will tell how recruitment numbers will be impacted and if there will be less interest in social clubs this year. 

The Spectator also spoke with David Goodwill, interim director of student life at Edinboro, regarding new stipulations clubs and organizations, including Greek Life, must follow this fall. 

“There are no approved face-to-face events. This applies to Greek organizations along with any other club,” he said.  

All houses used by fraternity and sorority groups are off campus and privately owned, which means there can be limits to what the university can enforce. In addition, Edinboro does not have the authority to assign capacity limits to the homes used for Greek life. 

 However, if groups are found to have violated the school and state guidelines, they can still be held accountable, according to Goodwill.  

“Organizations found to be in violation of unauthorized events are subject to disciplinary action. All students are required to follow Governor Wolf's guidelines regarding social distancing and mask wearing in public spaces,” he said. “Students found in violation of this directive are subject to disciplinary action through the student code of conduct.”  

The Code of Conduct identifies “creating a condition that endangers the health and safety of others” as a violation. 

Further, as stated in the university rules, “student groups held responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct” will be subject to penalties including: “Disciplinary Group Warning, Disciplinary Group Probation, Disciplinary Group Suspension, and Interim Group Action.” These penalties depend on the severity of the violation. 

Edinboro University President Dr. Guiyou Huang verified the school’s expectations in an email sent to all students on Friday, Aug. 21. 

“Any Edinboro University student determined to have organized, hosted or attended a party, gathering or event — on or off-campus — where attendees fail to adhere to...regulations related to COVID-19 will be considered in violation of the Student Code of Conduct.” 

Despite the generally uncertain future, Greek life chapter presidents DePalma and Morus remain optimistic. Members are eager to return to normalcy and in-person activities, but it is still uncertain when this will happen. In the words of David Goodwill, “This is very new territory for everyone.”

Julia Carden is a staff writer for The Spectator. She can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: greek life

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