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OU plans to kick off COVID-19-friendly Greek life recruitment events

In order to keep students safe this recruitment season, Ohio University has implemented numerous COVID-19-related requirements that both fraternities and sororities are expected to follow. 

The Women’s Panhellenic Association kicks off recruitment Friday, and the Interfraternity Council’s recruitment began Monday. 

Ariel Tarosky, director of Sorority and Fraternity Life at OU, said during recruitment events that will take place indoors, both potential and existing members will be required to wear masks regardless of their vaccination status, in accordance with university policy. Masks will not be required at events that take place on College Green. 

In order to perform contact tracing, potential new members are required to sign in when attending recruitment events on campus. 

“We've been working really hard to put all the systems and structures in place to make sure the potential new members … and our initiated folks are safe,” Tarosky said.

Jeremy Paul, assistant director of Sorority and Fraternity Life, said at IFC meetings being held inside thus far, the number of active members have been limited to fewer people in order to stay within the capacity restrictions of certain spaces. 

Despite the regulations in place, the number of students participating in the IFC recruitment process is significantly higher than last year.

“IFC really struggled with recruitment last year with the virtual environment. I would say we probably saw only 75 new members in the fall,” Paul said. “Now, even before we’ve gotten into the formal events for IFC next week for the chapters, we already have a list of over 150 potential members.”

Maggie Old, a senior studying visual communication who is also president of the WPA, believes this recruitment season will be easier for new members to get involved in the recruitment process, both virtually and in person. 

Last year, all formal recruitment events were held virtually, as the majority of the campus community was off-campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Virtual recruitment taught us a lot about how we can be more inclusive in our recruiting,” Old said. “So, if we need to include people virtually or if we need to include people who can't participate or who aren't comfortable or anything like that, we found ways to do that through the pandemic and through last year's recruitment.”

The rate at which Greek life is growing is not limited to fraternities and is also taking place within sororities. 

Tarosky said she has seen an increase in sign-ups for sororities, with as many as 30 women registering for recruitment every day. 

Old said being back on campus had helped re-establish the in-person aspect of sisterhood.

“With Zoom recruitment, it is really difficult to make connections with people,” Tarosky said. “With the sorority and even with the fraternity process, they are able to go into the house and see what the facility looks like because a lot of the students will be living in that house next year. It's just a totally different experience.”

Paul said the fraternity chapters will be hosting their own respective events — the majority of which will be held outdoors— the week of Sept. 20. If they are indoors at their own events, masks are •encouraged. 

Potential new members who engage in sorority recruitment and test positive for COVID-19 during recruitment can send in a video and engage in the process through a virtual setting, Tarosky said. Students who do not follow the requirements during recruitment events will be in violation of the Student Code of Conduct. 

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