There’s no question that COVID-19 has made a huge impact on many aspects of our lives for the past year and a half. For a long time, large gatherings weren’t allowed — which included all kinds of college activities, most specifically, Greek life.
Sororities and fraternities are a pretty big part of college life whether you’re in them or not. These organizations hold all kinds of events such as philanthropy activities, campus community relations gatherings, and community service functions. The ongoing pandemic, when at its worst, changed the way organizations did events, if they held them at all.
“The last year and a half has been tough,” said Emma Ryan, Alpha Phi president at SUNY Plattsburgh. “A big part of the fraternity and sorority life community is based around these events we hold.”
On top of the on-campus and philanthropy events, there are also many off-campus events held that help bring different organizations together that weren’t able to be held due to the restrictions.
As vaccines are more widely available and COVID cases are down significantly, college campus life is thrown back into more normal habits. On-campus buildings are busy and full again and while students are still required to wear masks at most schools, everything else is nearly the same.
Rush events, events for organizations to meet possible new members, are finally all in person after having Zoom events for the last three semesters.
“It’s so nice to finally be able to meet these new girls in person,” Ryan said. “Making those connections is so much harder through a computer screen than in person.”
Fraternity and sorority members are able to interact with one another and with other students in these social events now, helping create stronger bonds between organizations. Being able to attend Greek life activities, such as philanthropy events, helps create new relationships and build on old ones.
Philanthropy events are when an organization will raise money for different causes, such as fundraisers for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and women’s heart health. Raising money for these causes are one of the biggest pieces of sorority and fraternity life. Some of these events include sports tournaments, pageants and restaurant fundraisers.
“We love to host our philanthropy events and attend other organizations’ events,” Ryan said. “They’re always a lot of fun and we’re able to raise a lot of money for important causes.”
While all of these events are great for fraternities and sororities, it also helps boost campus involvement, which is great to get any student or faculty member involved.
Another part of Greek life that is going back to normal is community service. Many community service opportunities weren’t available or were limited. Now, fraternities and sororities are able to get back into community service full swing and are able to attend these opportunities together.
A common community service opportunity that fraternities and sororities attend together is Adopt-A-Highway; this is when organizations sign up to pick up trash off the side of the road, usually state roads. It’s a good way to bring organizations together while also doing something good for the community.
COVID-19 changed a lot of parts of our lives over the last year. Even though we still face some requirements, like masks and vaccinations, fraternity and sorority life is nearly back to normal.