Hitting the books again can be a major drag, but one of the perks of going back to school in college is rush week. Especially at an L.A. university, with so many students and so many things to do, Greek life reigns supreme. But as we’ve learned, coronavirus-tainted 2020 is making things quite different in all aspects of life—sorority recruitment included.
Because of the importance this plays at prominent L.A. schools, we just had to know how the process will go down this year. So we reached out to Ryley Holdridge, Vice President of Membership, UCLA Panhellenic Council.
Keep reading to learn about all the changes prospective (and current) Panhellenic sorority sisters will experience during rush this year.
skyelyfe: What is the present living situation with Panhellenic sororities? Given the pandemic, are people currently staying in houses together?
Ryley Holdridge: The housing situation will differ depending on the sorority. Some have decreased the amount of women living there, so that less people share a room. Others have decided to close the chapter facility entirely, so that no members will be living there in the fall.
SL: Will 2020 recruitment still take place during the normally scheduled time of year?
RH: Fall 2020 recruitment will take place during the normally scheduled time, from Sept. 28 to Oct. 4.
SL: If so, what will that process look like now compared to “normal” years in the past?
RH: Clearly, the biggest difference is that recruitment will be virtual. Besides that we are mirroring the same four-round, multiple-theme structure, and emphasizing a values-based recruitment as in past years. The first round is the only significant departure from normal recruitment, and will consist of interview-style videos from both the chapters and the potential new members, answering the same five questions.
SL: What other changes will there be with Panhellenic sororities in general, given the present times?
RH: UCLA Panhellenic has prioritized creating a community of inclusivity. We want to hold ourselves accountable, continue to educate our members, and progress towards a more diverse and welcoming organization. For example, we created an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. Led by two of our Panhellenic Executive board members, they are working on a recruitment recommendations letter, in addition to having regular meetings to discuss crucial issues in our community. Furthermore, for recruitment this year we are providing implicit bias training for all chapters, potential new members, and recruitment counselors. These actions are only a small part of the long term change we are hoping to make in the UCLA Panhellenic community.
SL: Has interest in joining a house decreased due to the present circumstances?
RH: The number of women registered for recruitment is lower this year, likely due to the lack of in-person events and UCLA closing the dorms. However, a virtual format makes it accessible for more women to go through the process and has allowed us to significantly lower the registration fee, which may help spike interest.
SL: How are houses ensuring safety at this time?
RH: As mentioned above, some chapter facilities are completely closing, but even ones that are staying open are limiting who can enter the house, only allowing members living in to eat meals, and other safety measures. For events, chapters are abiding by UCLA and L.A. County regulations, and will hold mostly or entirely virtual events this upcoming fall.
SL: Is there anything else you’d like readers or perspective pledges to know about this matter?
RH: Although the Panhellenic community looks drastically different this year, there’s a reason we’re still operating and engaging our members. This organization is much more than our in-person social events—we strive to empower our women, providing them with a support system as they navigate the challenges of college life, in addition to academic, and professional opportunities. Especially in these uncertain times, I believe Panhellenic will continue to impact the lives of our members and the larger Bruin community.
For more coronavirus-related content, THESE are the five stores we’re most devastated about closing permanently due to the pandemic.