The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted change in practically every area of student life this fall, and Greek-letter organizations are no exception.
Following guidance from the National Panhellenic Conference released Aug. 17, Mercer’s Panhellenic chapters—Alpha Delta Pi, Chi Omega, Alpha Gamma Delta and Phi Mu—will hold each of their three rounds of recruitment via Zoom.
“We care so much more about the safety of affiliated sorority women and the potential new members than we do about having an in-person recruitment,” said Mercer Panhellenic Vice President of Judicial Affairs Lauren Cheek. “We will be wholeheartedly complying with National Panhellenic Conference’s guidelines.”
Cheek said that Mercer Panhellenic is constantly updating their recruitment politics for the four chapters based on the development of coronavirus.
Emily Hartley, Mercer Panhellenic’s vice president of recruitment, said that adjustments have been made to ensure both members and rushees of chapters feel comfortable this semester.
“We’ve spent all summer gathering intel from other Panhellenic chapters around the country and really seeing what they’re doing,” Hartley said. “We’ve tried to find other (Panhellenic) chapters that are about the same size and in the same circumstances as Mercer to get a feel for what they’re doing.”
One change is that each potential new member will have the opportunity to upload a video introducing themselves to the chapters. Additionally, neither rushees nor members of any Panhellenic chapter will be required to attend in-person events if they are concerned about safety.
“We’re trying to keep the most authentic experience as we can while also maintaining social distancing guidelines, Mercer mandates and state mandates,” Hartley said.
At press time, 93 students were registered to participate. According to reports from Mercer Campus Life, in fall 2018, there were 142 new members of Panhellenic sororities. In fall 2017, there were 131.
Fall Panhellenic recruitment is set to take place Sunday, Sept. 6 through Friday, Sept. 11.
Mary Helene Hall ‘23 is a journalism and women’s and gender studies student who has worked for The Cluster throughout her time at Mercer. She has held internships at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and AL.com, where she covered a variety of topics including politics, crime and culture.