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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at RIT chapter.

Fall semester 2020 has been an interesting roller coaster ride for all of us. Whether we are freshmen, who’s college journey is just starting off, or we are seniors who are trying to prepare for the new working environment. All of us have experienced some sort of change on one level or another. One major organization on campus that also felt the impact of new COVID-19 regulations enforced by the college was the sororities on campus.


Fall is a major recruitment time for Panhellenic chapters at RIT. Normally fall recruitment would be a three-day long event, usually held on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It consists of Potential New Members (PNMs) interacting face-to-face with the five sororities on campus to get a feel for what chapter the PNMs believe they will feel at home with. This year the entire fall recruitment process was held over zoom and spread out to about 2 weeks instead of three days. I talked with both Ashley Rezendes, the President of RIT’s chapter Sigma Sigma Sigma and Emily Carter, the Recruitment director, to see what their feelings were on the new recruitment process for the Fall 2020.


When comparing this recruitment process to past recruitment processes, Ashley said, I feel that this fall recruitment was less stressful and more stressful in both ways.” She continued by adding, “It was less stressful for some PNMs who may have been afraid or shy to meet some new people in person. It made it more stressful to plan and recruit women overall.” Emily agreed with Ashley that the whole process was “a little more stressful,” but not on just the chapters when planning the recruitment process but also “on PNMs because of how long of a process it was compared to the 3 days.” Overall, Emily believes that “it went well and there were benefits to this.” She added that, “During normal fall, it’s nice to witness conversations around you and see everyone smiling and laughing. Over zoom you only see the people in your breakout room which made it easier to talk within your group though because there weren’t distractions from outside conversations.”


As with many clubs this semester, having people attend a zoom meeting after attending classes all day can be hard. The sororities on campus ran into this same problem. Emily believes, “That it was easier for PNMs and sisters to meet and get to know each other better instead of normal when chapters use some form of bump groups to move sisters so PNMs meet more people but that can get confusing and mixed up. With breakout rooms someone had constant control over how things were moving. And if something went wrong somewhere, they could pop in a room quickly if someone pressed the help button, for example.” Ashley disagrees with Emily. “We didn’t get to meet and get to know the PNMs as well as we would have liked” and added that even though this was the case, “We still got amazing new members!” Emily did add that “While we were able to have more one-on-one conversations, we weren’t able to read body language and connect the same way over zoom compared to in person.” Since the recruitment process for the five chapters were all on zoom and almost totaled another 2 hours on top of whatever zoom calls PNMs were required to attend for class, they both agreed: “We didn’t have that many girls go through recruitment as we normally do because of the strain zoom has been putting on us lately.”


Now, while the physical length of the recruitment process was lengthened, the day-to-day time spent at the recruitment meetings with the five chapters was shorter than normal. Ashley mentioned that “Normally sisters would be in recruitment from 5-9 pm recruiting and then would have to stay after until 11pm/12am to clean up and then vote.” According to Ashley this was a pro to the general recruitment process even though it did not have the same structure as past rush weeks.


As we head towards the end of the fall semester, planning for the spring semester is underway. But executive members are still waiting for schedule updates due to the possibility of COVID-19 still being around and affecting the way college activities are held. Ashley and Emily both mentioned that “If COVID-19 stays the way it is, then the spring recruitment will probably look the same.” Then mentioned: “We have learned a lot from this fall so going into spring we will know how to improve.” Emily believes that, “The College Panhellenic Council (CPC) and the PNMs have both learned a lot from the whole process and if this happens in the spring, we will be more prepared for next time.”


When asked about her thoughts on improving the recruitment process for next time, Emily said, “Communication.” She believes that “Communication between all parties can be improved. Things got lost in translation and nobody was really on the same page. If we can clearly communicate plans better, we’ll be off to a great start.” When asking Ashley, the same question on how she believes the recruitment process should be improved, she mentioned a couple of different ideas. First being that she believes, “We can improve on what we do during recruitment rounds.” She hopes, “In the future, I’d want us to find fun things to do during rounds so sisters and PNMs don’t feel as bored.” We all know that over zoom it can be hard to capture the attention of 40+ girls for close to 2 hours. She also mentioned that “I want to find ways to connect with PNMs better than we did this fall.” She is optimistic about the future and believes that: “There’s always room for improvement!”

Article written by Sinclaire Ogof

I'm a creative writer at heart and love to write about my experiences around me! My only flaw about this, is I tend to procrastinate sitting down and writing it out!
Mackenzie (Kenzie) is the Campus Correspondent for Her Campus @ RIT. She is studying English and Creative Writing, with a minor in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Kenzie's goal is to become an editor in the Young Adult publishing scene and to provide more accurate representation of intersecting identities.