The experience in Greek Life for students in both this spring and last fall has been a rough journey for all chapters. Usually, each chapter in Greek life would be holding in-person events and pledging processes to acclimate new members and grow closer as a family. However due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all events were forced to be moved online. One of the big issues chapters had to deal with during this transition is having to do significantly less activities.
“There are some things that just don’t translate to online,” said Anna Klein, a senior and president of the chapter, Theta Nu Alpha. “That includes a lot of our fundraising and community service where we’d actually go out to the community and do things.”
All chapters are greatly involved in community service and philanthropic work and use these activities to help students within each chapter bond with each other. Not being able to do these bonding activities has taken its toll in the Greek life experience for students. There was an online survey issued to Greek life students asking to rate their experience through this semester or last semester from one being horrible, and ten being awesome. Out of the nine responses, seven of them were rated either a five or lower. Some students were just grateful to even see some of their members in their chapter online. But, the consensus among these students is because of being online, they couldn’t connect and interact normally with the others in their chapters.
“COVID-19 sucks in regards to all of us,” said Olivia Chau, president of the Pacific University Greek Life Senate. “It really did turn a lot of things that we found fun about Greek Life or what we enjoyed about it and shut it down.”
Despite the online struggles for Greek Life students, chapters have seen different results with numbers. Bob Sagers, a senior and the president of Pi Kappa Rho, reported that total active members now is 12 down from their average of 15, and the average number of those who join each semester has also dropped from five or six, to two or three. The chapter Alpha Kappa Delta, on the other hand, experienced a significant growth from last year as they amassed 25 members.
“We were dying out like two years ago,” said Sophia Mercado, a junior and president of the Alpha Kappa Delta. “So we were trying really hard to recruit and it paid off.”
In the face of all the struggles the transition from offline to online has placed on the chapters of Greek Life, many are hopeful as we move from extreme risk to high risk, and soon moving to moderate risk on February 26th. Many are hoping that next semester, Greek Life will return to semi-normalcy with in-person events that allow people from each chapter to once again connect and build bonds as a family. — Kaleb Makimoto
Photo: Most chapters in Pacific’s Greek Life have experienced difficulties in terms of rush week, bonding, and building family bonds since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (Kaleb Makimoto)