Greek Life And COVID-19: How have chapters adapted?

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The past six months have been a rollercoaster to say the least. Times are changing, and now more than ever it’s important for students to create a support network. Over 2,700 students have found their home at the University of Connecticut through Greek Life. While things look very different for the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Development, each chapter has adapted to ensure that all members feel safe and informed. 

One of the most important aspects of COVID-19 prevention is backtracking and being informed. The sorority Kappa Alpha Theta quickly realized they needed to create an effective and efficient way to inform their members on who tests positive. The intention is not to invade people’s privacy, but rather inform others if they have recently come in contact with someone who has tested positive. After the first week of school, the girls realized that if no information is provided, everything becomes a game of telephone. Sixth-semester Psychology and Neuroscience double major Erika Miller, the Risk Chair for Kappa Alpha Theta, is now in charge of sending “COVID-19 Updates” emails to all members of the chapter.  

“[My goal is] to lift some of the pressure from the girls in Theta when it comes to dealing with COVID-19 cases,” Miller said. “We are already living through hard times. My position makes communication easy throughout the chapter and takes some of the responsibility off of the members.”  

Not only is it important to stay physically healthy, but mentally as well. These past several months have been emotionally taxing for many. Between being thrown into a completely new environment and changing one’s entire routine, everyone has had their share of ups and downs. Kappa Alpha Theta hopes to bring some ease to its members by being transparent. Rather than having to hear about coronavirus through the grapevine, girls now have a reliable source that can relay information in a timely and organized manner.  

“Being open with the chapter about COVID-19 cases among sisters creates a safe space for honest communication,” Miller said. “Transparency takes away the potential for rumors and uncertainty.”  

“Transparency takes away the potential for rumors and uncertainty.

Phi Delta Theta, a fraternity on campus, has also worked to be transparent. They too realized that the less ambiguity there is, the better. If a member tests positive, the chapter is notified, and all members who came into contact with that individual are strongly encouraged to get tested. Members who live in off-campus houses would organize days where the entire house could drive and get tested if UConn testing was unavailable.  

“One of the nice things about being a part of a fraternity is that you are able to get in contact with anyone easily,” Matthew Morganti, a seventh-semester Finance major, said. “I know who my friends are hanging out with, and I trust those people to be responsible. Everyone’s been very honest and upfront.”  

While I’m sure many did not imagine coming back to school this fall, it’s imperative everyone learns to navigate this new situation as they did back in March. The comfort of home and what is familiar is far different than the environment at a state university. However, one of life’s greatest skills is the ability to deal with the cards that are dealt. Kappa Alpha Theta and Phi Delta Theta are only two chapters in the Greek community that have worked to provide a supportive and comforting environment for their members during this historic time. A home away from home is not shaped by your physical environment, but by the people you surround yourself with.  

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