As we all know, COVID-19 has caused great change in everything including many clubs and organizations and today I am going to discuss the changes that it has had on Greek Life.
The first and most obvious change was being forced to quarantine back in the spring, which meant that I could not see any of my fraternity brothers who also make up some of my closest friends in the world. We would occasionally get together over Zoom to hang out, but similar to most people, it just wasn’t the same. This was especially tough because, oftentimes, they are the ones who get me through the rough times and I wasn’t able to actually see any of them during one of the toughest times there can be.
There was, however, no bigger relief than gradually getting to see everybody again over the course of the summer and beginning of this school year. I think most people can agree with me when I say that it certainly felt surreal finally seeing some of the most important people in your life again after the world practically turned on its head and brought (and continues to bring) so much uncertainty.
Along these lines, the way we spend time with each other has needed to change. Instead of just having our whole organization together whenever we want, we need to instead split people up into smaller groups to abide by the Keene State conduct policies. This has definitely been a little weird but it’s still a blast seeing any of my friends and it feels like we’re just picking up where we left off friendship wise. Another pretty big benefit is that many of us also live together in some kind of combination, which I’m sure we’re all very happy to have set up last year.
Besides this, the way we run things has drastically had to change in more ways than one. In terms of philanthropic activities, we have had to get very creative with the way we run things. Instead of the typical concerts and other big events that we do on campus we have to be a little more low-key and instead use social media to our advantage. Also with everything going on in the world, now is definitely the time to donate to many different causes and give back to people that truly need it.
Another big change has been recruitment season. As some may know and others may not, much of Greek Life’s semester plans revolve around getting new members. It gives the members something to look forward to, helps both the members and anybody who shows up meet new people and it’s just a lot of fun getting to do all sorts of activities over the course of two weeks.
This year, it’s a bit different but the idea is very much still the same. One big change to start is that instead of the typical two weeks for fraternity recruitment, it’s only one week. In addition, it has been done in a more hybrid-style with some virtual and some in-person to try to keep social distancing in place.
The only thing I was a little upset about is general communication in terms of what is actually allowed because there were some things such as outdoor games (non-contact obviously) that were said to not be allowed, but then the school went back on this. This was a little frustrating as more variety could have been added to our events, but I also understand that this is very much not the school’s top priority right now.
At the end of the day though, I have to say I was incredibly worried about the future of Greek Life with this pandemic and seeing the work that my fraternity along with other Greek Life organizations has put in to adapt is very inspiring. In my opinion, Greek Life is very much stigmatized but in a time of social distancing, I think we have a chance to show people who we really are by sticking to what we truly believe in: philanthropy, brother/sisterhood and being pillars of our communities through positive leadership.
DISCLAIMER: This article is the sole opinion of Cristian Valentin
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