With recruitment winding down on some campuses and chapters welcoming new women into their sisterhoods, Panhellenic alumnae who see Bid Day pictures and hear the stories can’t help but reminisce about their own collegiate days. No matter her chapter, a Panhellenic woman knows that sisterhood isn’t just for four years, but for life. Lifelong membership looks different for every sorority woman, but now that support is more important than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed unprecedented challenges on collegiate chapters. Alumnae can bring their own wisdom and experience to the table to help chapters overcome those obstacles and enrich their own bonds of sisterhood as they do.
For years, alumnae who live near collegiate chapters have served on chapter associations and regularly helped with their collegiate sisters recruitment, open houses, scholarship programs, special events and initiation. Many have created more personal forms of support, such as packing and shipping “survival kits” to new members during their first finals week.
Connecting with Collegians
Social media has created other avenues for alumnae to connect with their chapters, no matter where they are. Facebook groups created by collegiate chapters for alumnae to maintain connections to their chapters and to support collegiate members. These social media groups are invaluable in coordinating efforts like “buddy” programs, where alumnae send letters of encouragement to new members as well as a small gift to be presented at initiation. These groups are also where collegiate can ask for assist in preparing for recruitment. During this year’s recruitment season, alumnae helped chapters prepare by participating in mock virtual recruitment sessions or by providing refreshments for members during those busy days. Collegiate members often reach out through these groups to invite alumnae to special events like homecoming, open houses or fundraising events.
Using Social Media to Make Connections
Alumnae often create and maintain their own unsponsored Facebook pages where they share pictures, memories and updates about their chapters, strengthening the bonds forged during college days. They also create Facebook pages for all alumnae in a specific community, regardless of collegiate affiliation. These pages can be a valuable networking resource for both recent graduates and alumnae, who network for jobs, advertise their businesses, or seek advice on neighborhoods and schools when moving to a new area. Members frequently plan “girls’ nights” so they can catch up and reminisce about college days – or, in the age of COVID-19, “meet up” on a Zoom call. Many of these women organize group participation in service projects and philanthropy activities in their communities.
All these pathways encourage women to broaden their definition of sisterhood and see how it transcends the individual chapter.
Written by: Rosalyn Dunn