FSL organizations modify policies and procedures to prevent COVID-19


Emily Rice

Sisters of Delta Delta Delta carry their letters on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, into Brooks Circle.

Fraternity & Sorority Life organizations on campus will have a modified Greek life experience due to the ongoing pandemic and new campus policies surrounding social gatherings and events. 

According to the Plans to Reopen Allegheny College, all students on campus must wear face coverings and obey physical distancing guidelines. Also, student organizations are unable to hold large social gatherings where physical distancing cannot be met to the state standards. The changes apply anywhere on campus that students and faculty may be in the presence of other community members.

Allegheny College has 12 operating Fraternity & Sorority Life student organizations. 10 of those organizations have formal residences on campus. Sororities have suites located on the fourth floor of Brooks Hall and most fraternities have separate residences. 

To ensure member safety, each chapter is planning to take the necessary precautions and follow the guidance provided by the college and the Allegheny College Health Agency. 

Members residing in the fraternity residence of PA-Delta chapter of Phi Delta Theta are expected to maintain physical distance and wear a mask at all times to prevent the spread of the disease, said President Raymond Englert, ’22. 

“(Members) can talk to each other in the hallway, but six feet apart with masks on,” Englert said. “(Members) should not be with each other for longer than 15 minutes. Basically, everything that one would do to limit exposure in a normal dorm, (they) have to do in the house right now.”

The Beta Chi chapter of Theta Chi has an off-campus fraternity residence, however, the members within the fraternity will continue to uphold the same safety standards established by the college in addition to new chapter policies, according to President Nicholas DeNardo IV, ’21.

“There is a two-week quarantine period, so there will be no guests,” DeNardo said. “Also, we have developed and implemented our own plans for inside of the house by limiting the number of guests a brother can have in his room and what guests can do in the house. (We) also are taking temperatures and wiping down high-contact areas at certain times throughout the day.”

Fraternities hold recruitment events during the fall semester and sororities host recruitment events at the beginning of the fall and spring semester. 

Students interested in joining a fraternity or sorority are eligible to participate in recruitment after completing one semester and obtaining the GPA requirement for the chapter they would like to join. No student is permitted to join a fraternity or sorority if their cumulative GPA is below a 2.25. 

On Saturday, Aug. 15, the Allegheny College Panhellenic Council, the governing body of sororities on campus, announced on their Instagram account that any eligible individual interested in joining a sorority this semester must email them.

“To the students interested in participating in Fall Recruitment, I would say to keep an open mind,” said President of the Mu chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta, Kayleigh Young, ’21. “Everything is starting to look different because of the pandemic, but we aren’t letting that stop us from connecting with students and creating a positive experience for all potential new members. Connections and friendships will still grow, even if we have to stay physically apart.”

Fall Recruitment will be an unprecedented experience as the college and FSL move to a more virtual and individualized procedure to limit the spread of disease. 

“My chapter is working towards giving new members the best possible bid day experience, which includes but is not limited to delivering gift baskets to new members, decorating the suite and allowing small, socially-distanced groups to take photos and hosting interactive virtual games and events,” Young said.

While fraternities do not have a unified, official recruitment event akin to sorority recruitment, the chapters will continue to reach out to potential new members on an individual basis. 

“The brothers of Phi Gamma Delta are taking the guidelines provided by the college very seriously,” said President Marcus Wolf, ’22. “The guidelines are going to mostly prevent larger gatherings which will have its greatest effects on recruitment. Recruitment is going to be both virtual and in small groups with masks. For those students who want to go Greek, do not be afraid to scan the QR code or show up to a location posted on a poster around campus.”

Phi Delta Theta will approach new members on an individual basis and utilize social media recruitment as well, Englert said. 

Individuals interested in Theta Chi fall recruitment are advised to reach out to a member of the organization or to utilize the fraternity’s social media accounts to gain more information about the organization and modified recruitment procedures, DeNardo said. 

There have yet to be any disclosed modifications regarding run out and bid day celebrations for fall 2020 from the college. Each chapter will have a unique method of handling recruitment and chapter-specific ceremonies. 

Kappa Alpha Theta will host all chapter meetings and ceremonies remotely due to the inability to physically distance in their designated suite. Similarly, Phi Delta Theta’s formal initiation and mandatory ceremonies will be postponed unless they can be performed in a safe manner that abides by social distancing guidelines.

The Pi chapter of Phi Gamma Delta will also hold hybrid chapter meetings via Zoom or Google Meet; however, more important meetings will be conducted in person with proper social distancing and personal protective equipment will be used. Theta Chi will continue to hold in-person chapter meetings as the organization is an appropriate size for indoor socially distanced activities. If the fraternity gains more members in the 2020-21 academic year, this arrangement may change to a virtual setting similar to the plan to host virtual alumni meetings, DeNardo added. 

Each chapter has responded to new COVID-19 policies and social distancing guidelines in different ways. Through guidance from the College and their respective international headquarters, the chapters have added new policies and regulations to ensure member safety and community well-being. 

Phi Delta Theta, under the guidance of its international headquarters, has established a new position dedicated to ensuring that all members abide by the policies set in place for COVID-19 prevention. Masks have been provided by the international headquarters to encourage all members to wear one, Englert said.

“International headquarters requested that we create a position solely dedicated to enforcing any of the college, state or national COVID-19 policies so we have created that and filled that,” Englert said. “That person will report to a Resident Assistant or the school if policies are being violated, but they will also inform people of the school’s policies and the state’s policies. A lot of the information that I have been receiving has come from this individual, if not the school.”

Members of Phi Delta Theta have also been active on campus to ensure that the campus community remains healthy and safe. Englert partook in a college-sponsored video to encourage all students to take the necessary precautions against COVID-19 and explained the four pillars of the school’s COVID-19 safety policies. Fellow fraternity members have also been vocal proponents for all state and College policies for disease prevention, Englert added. 

“I want people to know that we all are taking this seriously,” Englert said. “We all want to stay here and have a good semester.”

On Wednesday, Aug. 26, the Epsilon Iota chapter of Delta Delta Delta released a statement on their Instagram account reminding members and students to wear a mask while on campus. 

“With students returning to campus, please be courteous of others and wear your mask as directed,” the statement read. “Our time together was cut short in the spring and it would be heartbreaking to have to go through again. By wearing your mask in public you are not only helping your fellow peers stay healthy but you are helping the entire Meadville community remain healthy.”

FSL philanthropy and fundraising events will be modified to adhere to new state and college policies regarding COVID-19 and social gatherings. 

“While Crawford County is in the ‘green phase,’ all campus events or gatherings with greater than 250 people should be canceled,” according to the Plan to Reopen Allegheny College. “Additionally, all events need to be organized in such a way that physical distancing and face-covering requirements are met.”

Kappa Alpha Theta’s annual philanthropy event, Tacos for CASA, will look very different this year. Tacos for CASA will be pre-packaged and available to go as opposed to the traditional dining experience, Young said. The chapter intends to host their other fundraising events outside to avoid indoor, in-person gatherings.

Theta Chi participates in the annual Women’s March and will continue to work with partners in the community to the extent possible in a safe manner, Denardo said. The chapter may also have tabling or an outside fundraising event within the parameters of social distancing guidelines.

Delta Delta Delta hosted a virtual philanthropy event called “Mask up for St. Jude” ahead of the fall semester that provided each FSL organization the opportunity to purchase a mask with their respective logos on the front. 

“All the fraternities and sororities are very active around campus and the local Meadville community whether it is contributing to our philanthropies or doing community service,” Wolf said. “As a community, we provide an amazing opportunity to connect with people you might never have considered connecting with before. As usual, the brothers of FIJI will be hosting a blood drive later in the semester and it is highly encouraged that everyone on campus donates blood.”

The chapter will use the spring for philanthropy events and will utilize a more online approach with email and social media drives, according to Wolf.

“The Allegheny community can expect my chapter to uphold all campus and CDC guidelines,” Young said. “The health and safety of our members, the Allegheny community and the Meadville community are of the utmost importance to us, which is why we are expecting the majority of our biggest events and meetings to be virtual. But this will not stop us from continuing to have a positive impact on our community and strengthening our friendships.”

COVID-19 and social-distancing guidelines have changed the 2020-21 FSL experience; however, the organizations are dedicated to community well-being.

“One of our mottos and founding ideas is to create resolute men and I think that there is no better opportunity to show ourselves and prove ourselves to be resolute men than in an era and a time of great strife, which is what we find ourselves in right now,” DeNardo said. “The support, the familial connection and the love that I have seen just with communicating with my brothers during the COVID-19 quarantine via Zoom — I think that says a lot about the men in my organization and how much we are going to do, have done and will do not only for ourselves but for the campus as well.”