A non-traditional Greek life initiation


Photo courtesy of Meg Frankenberger

Nicolette Noce, Campus Editor

Some John Carroll  sororities and fraternities are unable to initiate new members this semester. While it is up to each specific chapter to decide how they want to proceed with initiation, Panhellenic Vice President of Recruitment and Membership Elizabeth Forsyth explained, “Chapters are in contact with their national advisors and are figuring out if they are going to be doing virtual initiation or waiting until we can be in person in the Spring.” Other chapters have chosen a fully virtual approach, and some are conducting only the beginning of initiation online. 

 While chapters of sororities and fraternities are doing all they can to recruit in the midst of COVID-19, some say they are still searching for the best way to initiate their new members upon acceptance. Traditionally, initiation is an event that requires the participation of the entire chapter. With each chapter containing dozens of members, this would not be safe.

Forsyth explained, “As for the new initiates, every chapter has their own initiation process that they follow. Kappa Delta has already begun it’s process of initiating their members in steps over Zoom.”

 To practice safety guidelines while creating a community feel for new members, many chapters are inviting their new members to stay connected with their organizations virtually. 

  “Looking to the future, we can hand out bids, but we cannot initiate members because we have to go through our ritual process. Until it is safe to have gatherings again, our new members will have to wait to be fully initiated,” said Colin Hirsch, class of 2021 and director of recruitment for Delta Tau Delta. “This will not stop us from including them [new members] in certain chapter functions, such as brotherhood hangouts and chapter meetings.”

 Forsyth explained, “Kappa Kappa Gamma has pledged six new members and will be doing that again over Zoom for the new group that we just got.”

 With initiation in mind, chapters have continued with bid day plans, which will be held virtually as a way to welcome new members. This is typically a very festive and exciting day for sororities and fraternities.

“Chapters will still welcome their new members in a super fun way,” Forsyth said. “Unfortunately JCU students won’t be able to watch us all run on the quad, but that’s okay!”

 Despite the new process of recruitment and initiation Greek life has faced this semester, most have managed to maintain a positive outlook. 

 “None of us expected this outpour of support for our chapters and the enthusiasm from the freshmen and other new members.” explained Forsyth. “Without their understanding and excitement to become involved, we would be nowhere,” 

Despite confusion due to COVID-19, Greek Life is still finding ways to expand their groups on campus in unique and versatile ways.