Sisters of Alpha Phi dance

Sisters of Alpha Phi dance behind the Mountainlair on Bid Day, February 2nd, 2020.

WVU’s Greek organizations are in the midst of spring recruitment, and this is the first primary recruitment season to take place in an all-virtual setting.

According to Matthew Richardson, director of the Center for Fraternal Values and Leadership, recruitment numbers from fall 2019 to fall 2020 are up more than 120%. Richardson believes this influx of membership comes from students’ desire to be more involved during the pandemic. He said that membership increases are not happening nationwide, and pointed out the benefits of holding primary recruitment in the spring.

“Everyone else has their primary recruitment in the fall," Richardson said. "Well in the fall, there wasn’t a lot of time to plan for virtual and things like that, so we've been able to work with our Big 12 counterparts and learn from them."

According to Richardson, 377 women registered for Panhellenic recruitment —  about 40 more than last spring.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Greek organizations have had to adapt to the need for social distancing by holding online events for both recruitment and new member education.

Joanna Switala, a junior political science and religious studies student, said that her sorority, Omega Phi Alpha, plans to hold each of their recruitment nights, including information, sisterhood, service and interview night, over Zoom.

Switala also said that some of the sorority’s other traditions, including big little reveals, are also taking place virtually. Switala named one virtual big little reveal as one of her favorite sorority memories.

“It was kind of like a game show, where it was guess who your big is, and there were three or four of us as, we all had our camera’s off, and we didn’t have our names on there,” Switala said. “[The little] would ask questions, and we would all answer and she’d have to guess who her big was at the end.”

Richardson said that while the pandemic has made it hard to gather, it revealed the possibility of virtual recruitment and the existence of Greek Life online.

“I think that this has really made us take a few steps back and think about the Greek experience in general and realize that we still can exist without formal social events functioning and happening,” Richardson said.

Richardson also emphasized that there is a place in Greek life for any student who desires to take part. The different types of Greek organizations that WVU has to offer includes the Interfraternity Council, which consists of traditional fraternities, the Panhellenic Association, which consists of traditional sororities, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, as well as professional fraternities and sororities.

“If you want to have a place in Greek Life, I firmly believe that there is a place somewhere for you, so you can be your most authentic self and live your truth, and that’ll be celebrated in our community somewhere,” Richardson said.

Students that are interested in joining can find more information at the WVU Greek Life website.

Staff Writer

Lara Bonatesta is new to the DA this year. She is from Branchburg, New Jersey and is a sophomore journalism major and minor in trumpet performance.