Greek Life Provides Important Social Support

Apr 06, 2020

Sororities and fraternities at Cal U are staying connected as students finish spring classes online.

greek life

A second family and a support system.

The fraternities and sororities at Cal U are continuing to provide both kinds of connections to their members as students finish the spring semester online.

The Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic executive board meetings resumed meetings via video conferencing in late March, and the majority of the 16 sororities and fraternities are holding their regular meetings through Zoom, Microsoft Teams and email.

“Now that everything has moved online, the leadership from each fraternity and sorority is working with members to stay connected in ways that work best for the group,” said Joy Helsel, director of Fraternity and Sorority Life.

Interactive educational components are being offered by GreekLifeEdu.

 “Greek Life is an important part of the fabric at Cal U, and I’ve been impressed with their responses,” Helsel said. “Involvement in a fraternity or sorority provides students with a support system, a family away from home.”Brett Bieber, president of IFC and past president of Phi Gamma Delta, said his fraternity has kept its regular meeting time via Zoom.

“We feel like this is one of the few consistent things that our brothers could hold on to during these times, and before we begin any fraternity business we take the first 10 minutes and talk about our adjustments to the virtual schooling as well as home life,” said Bieber, a junior studying mathematics education.

“It is a great opportunity to see our brothers and unload some stress before the meeting truly begins.”  

Junior communication studies major Maggie Cave, president of Alpha Sigma Tau sorority, and her sisters meet weekly via Zoom.

“It's during times like these that the true bonds of a sisterhood are revealed,” said Cave, who is also vice president of the Student Honors Advisory Board and a Student Ambassador Leader.

“Everyone is happily pausing their evenings to continue to meet, being understanding that some things just aren't happening, and being patient as we change things up.”

McKenna Feris, president of the Panhellenic Council, said they are meeting through Zoom conference calls at 8 p.m. Tuesdays, right after the executive board meets at 7:30 p.m. Each week, they have an agenda and continue sending weekly minutes to all the women on the Panhellenic Council.

“We have heard great feedback, and the executive board is already coming up with fun ways and ideas to keep everyone involved,” said Ferris, a senior majoring in education. “It’s important to continue as normally as we can.”

Ferris added that later this month they will hold elections for four open Panhellenic Council positions via Zoom and begin online trainings for those who are elected so they can start the fall semester with the knowledge they need to succeed.  

While traditional activities such as Greek Weekend and The Big Event will not take place this spring, the Greeks are making the most of the situation.

Helsel said that several of the sororities are coming up with creative ways to reveal big/little sister pairings remotely. Big sisters in Phi Sigma Sigma and Sigma Kappa are anonymously mailing gifts to their “littles” and are planning an online event to reveal the big-little pairs. Cave said Alpha Sigma Tau is planning to have virtual birthday parties for some of their sisters.

“Some of our beloved traditions are being taken virtual, and while this isn't ideal, it’s allowing us to stay connected, stay together and continue to support one another,” Cave said.

“I would not be able to do what I am doing without the support of each one of my sisters, and it is amazing what technology can do for us.”