Since the end of January, all Greek Life has been limited to virtual events. The executive decision by Governor Northam to transition into phase three has allowed for smaller events like fundraising or recruiting to be held in person at Virginia Wesleyan University. However, most events remain in the virtual format. There have been challenges and limitations for these leaders and organizations, but positivity has prevailed as these sororities and fraternities continue to brainstorm new ideas for events and also try to honor some old favorites for the VWU community.
Zeta Phi Beta leader, Analaysia Davis said that her favorite event was game night. “I think I can speak for our chapter when I say we loved the game night. It was really fun and we are all pretty competitive” Davis said.
The game plan for the Zeta Phi Betas is to organize and operate the events with “all hands on deck from all of the women, and to exemplify finer womanhood in all of our events. We also try to also uphold our principles, scholarship and service, with everything we do. COVID-19 is presenting a difficult time for the Zeta [Phi Beta]s in terms of hosting virtual events. Also, the hardest thing we are facing is getting the campus community to attend virtual events. It is important to stress that virtual doesn’t mean it can’t still be fun,” Davis said.
President Bria Covington of Tri-Sigma said, “I think this event had amazing timing. I, too, have been procrastinating some activities and things, and this is the best time to have everyone sit down together as students and get stuff done.”
The sorority’s brainstorming for this event took into consideration mental health and self care. “Our chapter places a huge emphasis and importance on mental health and self-care. The pandemic and academics have been draining for everyone so I thought that a self-care breakout room would be beneficial for everyone” Covington said.
Eric Fisher and the members of Kappa Alpha Psi have not hosted an event yet, but he said, “stay tuned, the school will not be disappointed.” Their events on campus were planned out to be bigger and closer in distance, but with the COVID-19 restrictions, these events have proven more difficult to accomplish.
“The lack of human interaction is the biggest challenge. Personally, I’m an extrovert and I enjoyed the in person interactions last year. Never took it for granted, but it’s so important to think about now. [We] can’t be too close to each other, [we] can’t throw the events we really want and have the turnout like we want, [because there are] so many guidelines and regulations to follow,” said Fisher.
In order to prepare for these different formatted events, each Greek-letter organization works with their team on how to interact with and welcome new members of the VWU community. Zeta Phi Beta is engaging with their members and other publics by making their events welcoming and genuine. “We host a variety of events that everyone on campus is welcome to attend. We try…to ensure that everyone can take something away from every event we hold. Our main focus is engaging with our community and giving back. Zeta also has ZNEF, which gives out hundreds of scholarships to people in the community,” Davis said.
Kappa Alpha Phi members feel like their energy is distinctive and that this is what then makes them engaging as a brotherhood on campus. “Every fraternity and sorority on campus has an impact and a presence, however with the Kappa[Alpha Psi]s, I think it’s just the vibe and energy we give off. We all have gravitating qualities and it shows when you see us interacting in public. Thursdays we dress up in suits and everybody takes notice–especially when we hand out carnations to the ladies,” Fisher said.
Tri-Sigma emphasizes quality time with prospective and current members. “Ideally, the game plan has been to host as many recruitment events as possible, as well as sisterhood events for our own chapter to have our bonding time as well, since the pandemic has kept us apart for so long,” Covington said.
All three organizations said that the way the school has been responding to COVID-19 has been reasonable. “I don’t think that the school is doing anything wrong with its response to COVID. We are all trying to do our best with the pandemic, and safety is the priority. I would love to see more outdoor activities when the weather gets nicer,” Davis said.
Director of Student Activities Sarah Guzzo has also been a bridge to making sure these events were organized efficiently and effectively, both virtually and in-person. “Sarah Guzzo and the Student Activities Office have been super efficient with giving us everything we need and want within the COVID-19 guidelines for campus,” Covington said.
COVID-19 restrictions have really slowed the number of new members these organizations have seen compared to a normal semester, but these leaders and organizations have been focusing on preparing their members to be successful in recruiting when they can and achieving academic and social excellence.
Greek Life continues to plan and host events, whether they be virtual or in-person, as a form of recruitment during the spring 2021 semester. For more information on how to participate, students should check the This Week email from Student Activities, or the current Student Activities Calendar available on the vwu.edu website. For specific information about Greek Life organizations, students can reach out to them via social media.
By Isaac Guzman