by Carole Jurenko Jones, Alpha Delta (U of Alabama), 2019-2021 NPC Chairman
As we all adapt to rapid change and prepare for the challenges that are ahead of us due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) is diligently preparing for the fall 2020 academic term and a Panhellenic recruitment that will most likely take place in a much different way, but one in which we will welcome new members into our chapters and Panhellenic community.
Members of the NPC Recruitment Contingencies Task Force, representing campus-based professionals, member organization staff, volunteers from NPC’s Panhellenic Recruitment and Panhellenic Release Figure (RFM) Committees and other experts from across our industry, have developed alternative recruitment models, which have been shared with College Panhellenics to assist their communities to continue to engage potential new members and share the message that sororities are an essential part of the college experience.
Just as institutions of higher education are scenario planning what the fall semester will look like, it’s our hope that College Panhellenics are scenario planning as well. If their plan of choice changes at the last minute, then they have a back-up plan ready to go. Making choices tied to one decision doesn’t preclude future choices changing as more information comes available in the coming weeks.
Additionally, with social distancing most likely remaining in place this summer and fall, College Panhellenic leaders will need to work with their host institutions on safety protocols that will vary from state to state. Depending upon what those protocols are, the number of people being able to participate in each recruitment round and in the designated recruitment space will most likely be impacted. All of us, collegiate and alumnae members alike, must acknowledge that physical distancing will require us to not only conduct meetings in a new way, but recruit new members differently – quite possibly virtually.
As we prepare our College Panhellenic leaders, chapter members, parents/caregivers and alumnae for new and innovative ways to attract new members, we should all remember the support we give one another as Panhellenic sisters enables us to meet the challenges we face in today’s world. And, it is that support that we wish to extend to other young women as they join our organizations.
This summer, as we prepare to bring new members into our organizations, it will be important to showcase the value of the sorority experience in a proactive way. I call on each of you to reach out to incoming and continuing students to share your sorority experience so the young women planning to, or thinking about, participating in recruitment will have heard about the benefits of being a sorority member before they step on campus or begin the fall term virtually.
Volunteerism, philanthropy, leadership development and friendship are a part of each of our sorority stories. It’s up to each of us to tell those stories and it’s more important than ever to promote the sorority experience!