Featured Image: Alpha Sigma Alpha and Sigma Sigma Sigma hang out at The Cove during Recruitment. MacKenzie Osborne|Courtesy
The week of Sept. 19-23 was reserved for Recruitment Week this year at Virginia Wesleyan University. The week proved successful with a large turnout at events held by all participating Greek organizations. These organizations included fraternities Sigma Nu and Phi Kappa Tau, along with sororities Alpha Sigma Alpha and Sigma Sigma Sigma.
With this year being the first to return completely back to normal following COVID-19, each organization was eager for Recruitment Week to get started.
“[Recruitment] this year is different because the fraternity energy is different this year. While we are aware of our current global health situation, there are no restrictions placed by the school this semester for the first time in over two years,” senior and President of the Epsilon Delta chapter of Phi Kappa Tau James Johnson said. “There is a sentiment from all of our brothers, especially our seniors, to get back to pre-COVID campus life.”
Due to COVID-19, this year is special for all graduating seniors involved in Greek Life.
“I am super excited to meet our new pledge class and to get to know them all on a personal level,” senior and President of the Zeta Pi chapter of Sigma Sigma Sigma Bria Covington said. “It is my senior year this year and I am in my second term of presidency, so I really want to make this recruitment season count.”
All Greek organizations took advantage of this year’s face-to-face Recruitment Week. Events were held Monday through Friday by each organization.
Fraternities Phi Kappa Tau and Sigma Nu hosted sporting events like beach volleyball, dodgeball and golf. Phi Kappa Tau also held a night by the firepit, and Sigma Nu had a milkshake meet-up and grill and chill.
“For us, [recruitment] this year was super smooth. We planned out our [Recruitment] Week during the summer and really tried to tailor the events to balance fun and connections with the potential new members,” senior and President of the Iota Beta chapter of Sigma Nu Tucker Barco said.
Equally excited, sororities Alpha Sigma Alpha and Sigma Sigma Sigma put on daily events as well. This year, however, sororities were encouraged to host events together.
“I wish organizations were viewed as better and friendlier instead of the huge stereotypes of VCU or Alabama,” senior and President of the Epsilon Eta chapter of Alpha Sigma Alpha MacKenzie Osborne said.
Covington shared similar views.
“I think something that is different about [recruitment] this year is that there is a bit of a stigma that sororities face based off of other horror stories that have been shared by girls at other universities on social media platforms like TikTok,” Covington said.
Rather than following the stereotypes surrounding these other organizations, both Alpha Sigma Alpha and Sigma Sigma Sigma strive to follow the model set by the National Panhellenic Conference Manual of Information. In accordance with the manual, both organizations believe “positive Panhellenic contact and promotion of the sorority experience does not mean creating an unfair advantage for a particular NPC member organization. It does mean promoting sorority membership in general, not a particular organization”— hence their decision to hold events together while also hosting staggered separate events.
“If we are hosting an event, we just have to make sure it’s not at the same time, and it’s kind of staggered,” Osborne said. “That way, there’s an equal opportunity for girls to attend both events, so they can get a feeling for everyone in each chapter.”
To make what used to be known as “Rush” even more welcoming, VWU adopted a new term for the week: “Recruitment.” All Greek organizations here at VWU welcome any and all interests, and this change embodies just that.
Adding to this, the style of recruitment this year is also different. Rather than only recruiting new members during Recruitment Week at the beginning of each fall semester, our organizations are following a continuous open bidding (COB) format.
According to the National Panhellenic Conference Manual of Information, “The purpose of COB is to enable those chapters that did not pledge to quota or pledged quota but did not reach total, to pledge additional new members immediately following the primary membership recruitment period.”
VWU adopted this model in hopes of increasing interest in Greek Life and allowing potential new members more time to explore each organization.
“I definitely wish that we were still in formal recruitment instead of taking new members year round, solely because it makes things a bit harder on our end in the new member process and for financial reasons,” Covington said. “However, I will always be welcome to add another sister into our organization.”
Anyone who is interested in joining Greek Life here at VWU or just wants to know more about it is encouraged to reach out to current members and attend Greek events.
By Carey Seay