Greek Life sees slight drop in recruitment numbers

The organizations have managed to welcome new pledge classes safely, but not without difficulties

University campuses around the country have seen an all-time low campus engagement this year, and Trinity has been no different. On occasion, and in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) health and safety guidelines, an event pops up that allows students an opportunity to socialize safely. This year’s Greek Life recruitment and Bid Day offered the chance for students to engage in the social interactions that typically characterize the ideal college experience, with a few changes.

For Collin Adams, a first-year fraternity recruit, the limitations of the pandemic made participating in Greek life more urgent.

“I already figured that I wanted to rush coming into college… [Rushing] became probably more pressing to me because of the COVID stuff,” said Adams.

For the first-year, rushing a fraternity has proven to be one of their only social interactions.

“To some extent [rush] was my only social interaction… it’s so hard to meet people, classes are online, Mabee is grab and go so you don’t really get the opportunity to interact with other people, so it ended up being this huge social outlet for me,” Adams said.

As Recruitment Co-chair for Greek Council, Dylan Stansbury observed, recruitment has been “beneficial to [students’] psyche,” and freeing from the everyday monotony of Zoom classes.

With limited campus activities, Noor Rahman, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair for Sigma Theta Tau, noted that the first-years were relatively positive and made the most of their situations.

“Something I’ve really noticed with some of the people rushing this year is how positive they’ve been,” said Rahman. “That was something that was unexpected, but that I’m happy to see.”

To the excitement of both recruits and active members, Greek organizations were able to host in-person “rush dates” in compliance with Trinity University health and safety guidelines. At these events, one or two recruits were able to interact with active members on picnics, while watching sports games, or getting coffee together.

Anya Parag, a first-year recruit interested in global health, shared that early in the rush process she had concerns about spreading COVID-19 during in-person rush dates and thus opted to meet online.

“Everybody was really understanding and receptive,” Anya said. The first-year said she was thankful for the hybrid format that was offered to students who didn’t want to meet in-person.

Kelli Steward, President of Sigma Theta Tau, added that planning in-person events was made difficult because of time constraints. This semester, the process of rush has been shortened to only two rounds, instead of the typical three, which left actives with little time to plan in-person events. Rahman echoed a similar sentiment.

“Some ways we’ve been trying to make sure everyone gets familiar with each other is we will make sure that in zoom breakout rooms will make sure there is someone who is a senior, someone who is a junior, someone who’s a sophomore, so the people who are rushing feel like they know who is in the club, so [recruits] can make the most informed decision that they can,” Rahman said.

Stansbury described the “all in this together” approach Greek leadership has taken on to adjust the recruitment process this year. There seemed to be some concerns in regards to the number of incoming recruits toward the beginning of the year as numbers were reportedly half of what they usually are.

“I know numbers are definitely down this year than they were in past years, especially for fraternities. I remember at the beginning of the year they were about half of what they usually are but I think it has definitely caught up since then, but it’s lower than usual for sure,” Rahman said.

In addition, Rahman emphasized the effort to make this year’s rushing experiences as engaging as possible.

“The main concern is making sure that people who are at home feel as included as people that are on campus,” Rahman said.

Ensuring that every organization was able to recruit enough new members this year was a big concern given the public health circumstances and lack of Greek life presence on campus.

Concerns are certainly ongoing, but have been lessened this semester as recruit numbers have increased. Nevertheless, as bid day approaches, Stansbury shared, Greek leadership is excited to “see how the numbers will look like toward the end of the finish line.”