Campus looks much different this fall with students attending classes from their dorm rooms or homes.
For students who are stepping foot in a classroom, class sizes are smaller and students are spread out. And when it comes to the sorority experience our sisters are separated by state lines and connecting with each other through technology rather than in those in-person spaces.
Not only are we navigating how to be a student in today’s world, but we’re also navigating virtual recruitment and virtual membership experiences. Several campuses have already completed virtual recruitment and are shifting their focus to their new members and how to help them feel connected to their chapter’s sisterhood. But, chapters may not know how to create a strong bond in these new times. Although, we may not all be living on campus and able to visit with the entire chapter in the same room there are still ways to stay connected during this time that don’t come with the dreaded Zoom fatigue.
Review Previous Practices
First, see if your member organization has released any guidance on how to conduct the new member program. Then, review what your chapter has done in the past for new member experiences and go through each activity to see what can be adapted and what needs to go. For example, when I was an advisor, the chapter I advised would have active members sign up for coffee dates with new members to get to know them better and start building relationships. You may not be able to go to a coffee shop with each new member, but you can still have a coffee date over the phone or video.
Second, think outside the box. During the spring semester and summer, your chapter most likely experimented with different virtual activities or ways to connect. Continue to be creative and ask your members to send in ideas on how they would like to continue building connections. This is also a great way to engage your members virtually.
Utilize Your Network
Third, crowdsource. Utilize your Panhellenic network on campus and within alumnae groups. Every chapter is navigating sisterhood during this time and ideas can become better with more minds at work.
Reflect on Your Experiences
Fourth, remember your why for joining your sorority and how you connected with members to form lasting relationships. By remembering your experiences as a new member, you can be more in touch with what current new members need and want.
Making Connections and Having Fun
Fifth, laugh, have fun and be kind. Retention is important, but at the end of the day being part of a sorority is about finding connection with women who share your values, challenge you and are others you can laugh with. Take off the pressure and remember that at the end of the day it is about those connections.
If you need more specific ideas, you can find a list of fun ways to engage members here.