COLUMN: Spring rush proves to be beneficiary for potential new members during COVID-19

Many students participated in a stress-free, enjoyable virtual rush this January to join a sorority amid the pandemic.

Isabelle Marak is a first year journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about campus events, lifestyle and the arts.

In January, sororities welcomed MU students into their new prospective homes during spring Continuous Open Bidding . Though new members were unable to participate in the in-person informal recruitment events amid the pandemic, they were still welcomed into their sisterhoods. COVID-19 has had a strong impact on the way events run, but the pandemic did not put an end to the enjoyment that ensues from joining Greek life.

The recruitment process this spring was short-lived. Applicants filled out their interest forms and were contacted within a matter of days for a Zoom call if a sorority was impressed. The interest form members filled out this spring was a simple Google Form that asked for personal information and included a few thought-provoking questions to get to know the applicant.

After a Zoom call with current sorority members, potential members could accept or decline any extended bids if they made an impression on a recruitment board. Unlike past recruitment seasons, decisions made by the potential new members occurred in a span of 24 hours or less.Students in formal recruitment typically have about a week to narrow down their top sorority choices and accept any extended bids. The lengthy time frame allows applicants to fully consider their choices before accepting. In COB, the applicant has less time to meet with and accept a bid from an interested sorority but allows the applicant to move forward with recruitment more quickly.

When I received an email from Sigma Kappa inviting me to a group Zoom call, I jumped at the opportunity to meet with my first possible sorority. The Zoom itself was really laid back and informal, which made the whole recruitment process less stressful. I was not expecting to get a bid so soon after the Zoom call ended, but an hour later they extended a bid. I was given about an hour to decide if I wanted to accept it or not.

I liked talking to the girls and was overjoyed that they offered a bid, but was worried about having such a short period of time to decide when I had not met with any other sororities. I ended up accepting the bid after not hearing back in time from my other options, and do not regret my choice whatsoever.

When a potential member decides to accept a bid from a sorority during Continuous Open Bidding, they are later invited for a safer take on the typical Bid Day event due to COVID-19 precautions. This spring, Bid Day took place at sorority houses in small groups and time increments. Members took pictures in front of the sorority houses with their new letters, t-shirts and a limited number of new sisters.

Since I went through spring rush, I can testify that Bid Day was safe but also a lot of fun. When facing difficulty to build strong connections with like-minded people, having a group you can identify with makes rushing a sorority during a pandemic worthwhile.

Abbie Sutton, a MU freshman who participated in the spring recruitment process, described her experience as satisfactory.

“It was good,” Sutton said. “Just a little confusing with all the different Zoom times.” Still, she wishes that she had taken the opportunity to rush sooner because of the opportunities a sorority could give her.

Sororities not only provide the opportunity to build life-long friendships and connections with compatible people, but they also provide members with their own place on campus to call home.

“I thought I could meet people without being in a sorority but it turned out to be harder than I thought with COVID. I was looking for strong friendships and educational connections,” Sutton said.

The pandemic has impacted the way new students are able to meet people and how greek life can carry out their recruitment activities. All recruitment events took place virtually to honor social distancing practices and in-person events were limited to a few people at a time. Additionally, sororities implemented Zoom breakout rooms so new members could virtually meet their new sisters.

Zoom breakout rooms can be an unfortunate and borderline awkward way to meet people when it is not face-to-face. Although, in a setting that is not school-related, it is a lot easier to talk to people when you know you are all part of the same community.

Spring rush looked different this semester due to the COVID-19 virus, but the pandemic could not take away the community that Greek life provides. It is inspiring to know that in a time of uncertainty, you can still find a remarkable group of people and a place on a big campus to call home.

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Edited by Sofi Zeman |

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