Rush Week activities bring new members to Greek Life

Although much has changed since Marlins returned to campus in August, the presence of Greek life and their rush weeks have not. Many students found themselves interested in “Going Greek” this semester. Among the fraternities and sororities interviewed, all reported higher than normal turnout rates at their events. 

Sigma Sigma Sigma 

Allison Churchman, President of Sigma Sigma Sigma, expressed how the major change for this semester was having to hold virtual events for the first time in their history. The initial events included a hybrid (in-person and virtual) recruitment period during the third week of school. Although many of the events were virtual, the sorority was still able to conduct their big/little reveal in person. Due to COVID-19, they have also had to conduct virtual ritual ceremonies, which have never been done before. 

The chapter is looking to hold elections soon. These also must be conducted online with their respective speeches. Churchman noted they had 16 girls interested in their recruitment kickoff event. She also doesn’t believe that COVID-19 has had many effects on the interest of girls joining. She stated that if anything, it probably increased their interest, as Greek Life is a great way to make friends and meet new people. 

The sorority had three new members join to bring the overall total to twenty girls in this chapter of Tri Sigma. She expects the sorority to be at 24 members in May. 

Alpha Sigma Alpha 

Caroline Domo, President of Alpha Sigma Alpha, was thrilled with the turnout of interested members this semester. So far, the sorority has conducted many events to include virtual game nights and Netflix parties, “tagging” of the Greek Life surfboard, in-person bracelet making, sisterhood pizza night with new members and virtual chapter meetings. She is proudest of the sorority’s “DoT” day. The “Donating our Time” day consisted of sisters volunteering across the Virginia Beach area for organizations they are passionate about.

She stated everything, even with the COVID-19 regulations, has been overwhelmingly positive. She prefers having events in-person but believes virtual events bring a newfound sense of belonging. The sorority was able to conduct in-person events by maintaining six girls or less at any given time with alternating timeslots. ASA also split events between in-person and virtual for residential and commuter students, respectively. 

The sorority’s size has doubled since the beginning of the semester. There are 20 members now involved with this chapter of ASA. Domo believes virtual events make girls more confident and willing to show up, as opposed to interacting with random people for the first time. She stated that over the past four years, this year had the biggest turnout for recruitment.  She believes the general consensus of new members is that the joining process was very smooth this year despite regulations. 

Sigma Nu 

Sigma Nu decided to host all virtual events for their rush week this semester. The rush events included a Jackbox Party night, Among Us night, Minecraft/Risk/Catan night and a Netflix movie party. Jackson Simmons, president of Sigma Nu, revealed the fraternity created a Discord server to have these events occur as smoothly as possible. 

He believes the biggest change this year, given the restrictions, is holding all events virtually with a decreased sense of social interaction. He believes that in some cases it is now easier to get together, given the accessibility of virtual events. The only activity the fraternity is still conducting in-person is the delivery of bids to new members. Sigma Nu gathers a group of five to six members to personally deliver the new bids. 

Simmons was surprised with the event turnout rate given the circumstances. He said it was worth noting that the bids given to acceptance rate was especially high. He acknowledged that the virtual events have been more sparsely attended due to their specialized nature. Overall, he believes new brothers are still making those lifelong connections and utilized rush week to the best of their ability.

Phi Kappa Tau 

Phi Kappa Tau elected to hold a hybrid of virtual and in-person events for their rush week. These events included a cookout, virtual game night, virtual questions and answers night and a campfire to round out the rush week. In addition to these rush events, the fraternity has been holding virtual chapter meetings every Sunday and a variety of in-person brotherhood events. 

Dakota Felkins-Beach, president of Phi Kappa Tau, explained that weekly chapter meetings used to be secretive, in-person events, whereas now they are only held virtually. He believes the meetings lose some of their value since they are no longer able to be held in-person. 

However, he noted that the event turnout for this semester has been “tremendous.” The in-person events were set up to flow; potential members can come for a period time and leave to allow other interested members an opportunity. In comparison to years past, this event turnout is fairly typical for PKT. The downside is not being able to hold large social gatherings, as the fraternity is known for these. Felkins-Beach noted that all of the brothers are missing the lifelong interpersonal relationships that they would typically build upon. 

He strongly believes the rush week and its events were as good as possible but felt bad because new members haven’t been afforded the same opportunities as prior rush classes. He stated, “it was the absolute best we could give them.” The fraternity extended eight bids and currently has 25 members. Felkins-Beach would like to remind everyone that, in his opinion, PKT is still the best fraternity on-campus.

By Jack Palmer