Greek life at Texas Tech is among many things that have changed on-campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chapter presidents continually have adjusted many aspects of how fraternity and sorority life operations work in accordance with CDC and campus guidelines.
“We tell all of our students, it’s the new normal,” Kimberly Thornton, senior director of the Center for Campus Life said. “I’ve been proud of how chapter presidents and members have adapted to the new things.”
Some of the major changes, were the limited capacity and changes in social gatherings, Thornton said. Many meetings are on Zoom and recruitment was different.
The chapters have had to be creative in what activities they plan out; they have to be safe and follow the safety protocols, Thornton said. She commends the individuals in leadership roles amid the pandemic.
“Everyone is definitely taking major health precaution,” Brandon Goad, president of Pi Kappa Alpha, said. “We are also trying to still stay engaged and connected.”
Recruitment was informal this year due to COVID-19, Goad, a senior majoring in marketing and business management from Boerne said. Typically, recruitment is formal with about 200- 300 students, but this year there were time slots available. Students would have to set up a time that works for them; only about 30 students were allowed to sign up for various times throughout recruitment week.
An unexpected surprise was the rise in fraternity members, Goad said. Everything that is going on was unknown on how this year would go, but it is going well.
"I would say our organization is really trying to show that Greek Life is taking the pandemic seriously," Goad said. "The main way for us to stay connected is through social media, texting, calling and Zoom meetings; we really have to take advantage of our online resources."
Some of the extra precautions taken include following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, taking temperatures (when meeting in person), and formatting events differently, Goad said.
The pandemic has tested Goad’s leadership skills, he said. No one expected the change in how things are done, but it had to be handled, and everyone is trying their best.
“We are really trying to show that we are all hands on deck, “ McKenna Thompson, president of Delta Gamma, said. “Everything is a bit different this year, and we are trying to make the best of it while being as safe as possible.”
Some of the changes include how recruitment was conducted, philanthropy events and chapter meetings, Thompson, a senior advertising major from Belton, said. Some of the changes have ended up working better than what the organization would do before.
One of the philanthropy events Delta Gamma has every year is ‘Deserts with DG,’ Thompson said. This year the event was hosted as a drive-thru, and it was the most successful that it has been. The event involved selling deserts, and it was pleasantly surprising in how well the event went.
“Something surprising with Zoom is how much more communicative we have been,” Thompson said. “Things are pretty casual, and I feel like everyone's like morale has changed like everyone is more comfortable with each other.”
The members can talk more individually virtually, which has normalized telling each other how they feel about things, Thompson said.
Overall, everyone is doing what needs to be done amid the pandemic, Thompson said. Greek life is different, but the atmosphere remains the same; many surprising positives have happened, and the members are happy to do what they need to do to be safe.