Potential sorority members logged onto Zoom this week in hopes of meeting their future sisters in the University's first virtual rush process.
To first-year Margaret Seets, a new member of UNC’s chapter of Phi Mu, the virtual rush process was fairly straightforward.
“We watched videos surrounding each sorority, and then based on that, we narrowed down the ones that we are interested in,” Seets said. “When we got to looking at specific sororities, we had individual Zoom meetings with girls in the sororities."
Seets would have preferred to rush in person, like she would during a traditional school year. Greek life has been a hot topic on campus, after COVID-19 clusters emerged in fraternity and sorority houses.
As an out-of-state student, Seets wishes that she could have accompanied the other new members in scheduling an appointment to visit the sorority house and take photos while social distancing. But Seets found the Zoom process to be less stressful than traditional rushing.
“A lot of people think it's based on looks, and I feel like it's almost more awkward,” Seets said. "Being on Zoom, everyone was just as confused as I was, and no one knew what was happening.”
These feelings of there being less judgment on Zoom also rings true for many non-Panhellenic sororities and their potential members.
Sophomore Allison Thorson and sisterhood co-chairperson of alpha Kappa Delta Phi, felt that the process was much simpler to conduct virtually. Alpha Kappa Delta Phi is an Asian-interest sorority, but it is not exclusive to members of that community.
Some aspects of in-person rushing, Thorson added, were maintained in the process even though they were all virtual.
“We knew it would be a lot harder to get to know people online than in person,” Thorson said. “On Zoom, we had a speed dating activity, a trivia night where we did a virtual jeopardy game and a TikTok dance workshop event, so there were still events.”
The virtual adaptations of the rushing journey did not stop there.
Senior Eva Moyer, the vice president of the Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority, is brainstorming ways to adapt Tau Beta Sigma’s traditional ceremony that they hold at the end of rush.
“Usually, TBS candidates have a probate at the end of the rush process where they present everything they’ve learned to their friends and family,” Moyer said. “We’re going to need to adapt and put the performance on Zoom, which could be very interesting with how we use technology.”
Despite the comparative simplicity of rushing through Zoom, many incumbent sorority members feel that they were not able to connect with the potential sisters as well as they could have in person.
“It’s harder to build relationships with people,” Thorson said. “We were also worried about the number of girls that would rush because I think a lot of people are kind of discouraged by the fact that everything would be online.”
Moyer has high hopes for the future.
"Overall, we are doing our best to host as many interactive Zooms as we can to keep everyone engaged and excited about rushing," Moyer said.
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