Here’s how college Greek life is handling the coronavirus

Business News | 15 Oct |

Eyes have been on how college Greek life is handling the coronavirus protocols across the country since University of Texas had sorority group gatherings without masks.

Arizona State University is half way through its first semester back to campus after the coronavirus hit last spring and they are already seeing four Greek chapters facing investigation and temporary suspension for disobeying COVID-19 policies according to AZ Family.

Many executive members of sororities have been laying down the laws and maintaining transparency to keep everyone informed and safe. An email from ASU Panhellenic board to a chapter at ASU informs the group of what happens if violations occur. The email reads as follows:

Although housing for sororities puts lots of girls packed under one roof, Greek life has implemented parameters to keep students safe. Many sororities were given the housing policies regarding coronavirus safety rules during move in.

Residents of ASU’s Greek Life Leadership village are required to wear a mask whenever leaving their individual rooms and must be 6 feet from another person while eating to take their mask off according to the slideshow.

According to that same slideshow, students residing in ASU’s Greek Life village are not allowed any guests in the house.

Greek life recruitment and experiences look different this year as COVID-19 remains prevalent. Many colleges have chosen to do a virtual format for their Fall recruitment sessions, such as Arizona State University, Oregon State University and the University of Alabama.

“We did recruitment all via zoom. All the sororities had scheduled times when new members could run home so that the row was not filled, and people could distance more easily. It was also on executive members when the new members showed up and other members weren’t allowed so we could limit people,” said Gabby Horne, a member of Alpha Omicron Pi at the University of Alabama.

An anonymously ran Twitter account covers the COVID-19 cases and groups of students who are seen not following coronavirus safety guidelines at Arizona State University. One of their Tweets shows photos of some sorority members posing in photos in groups during recruitment week, which violates ASU’s COVID-19 policies.

Sororities are forced to get creative with how they engage their new and older members to keep their sisterhoods alive.

“Event wise we are trying to find things we can do on zoom like a virtual poker games or dance videos,” said Greta Puetz a member of Delta Gamma at Oregon State University.

“We make new members feel included by having more individual, one-on-one events with them so they feel included and get to meet a mix of girls in the chapter,” said Shelbi Stogdill, administrative vice president for Gamma Phi Beta at Midwestern State University.

Although colleges can give rules and implement the consequences associated with those rules, they are unable to control the student’s free will. College parties are still happening, as they fly under the radar, making it even harder to know who has been safe and who has not.

According to the ASU COVID Tracker Twitter account, Lambda Chi fraternity had their house closed at the Arizona State University Greek Life Village and were given 24 hours to leave due to the outbreaks of COVID-19.

In early September, the president of the University of New Hampshire condemned the people who attended a fraternity party that resulted in 11 positive coronavirus cases.

Another 177 positive cases were confirmed across 14 fraternities and sororities at University of Washington on Oct. 6. Students who tested positive are instructed to isolate in their current residence.

More universities across the nation are struggling with keeping students out of parties that seem to be breeding grounds for coronavirus.

“The best thing for Greek life to do is to have older members and the executive boards set a precedence. To ensure they follow the rules themselves. That way, they are enforcing the rules to create a culture of following COVID policies,” said Stogdill.

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