Push back Stevens Institute of Technology Panhellenic Formal Recruitment to after 1/31

Push back Stevens Institute of Technology Panhellenic Formal Recruitment to after 1/31

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Petition to
Stevens Institute of Technology

Why this petition matters

Started by Sydney Linford

Dear Stevens Institute of Technology administration,

We are requesting that Stevens Institute of Technology administration and the Director of Fraternity & Sorority life Kevin Grunder push back the dates for Formal Panhellenic Recruitment from 1/15/22 to after our return to campus on 1/31/22, following a similar schedule to last year’s recruitment season, which took place on 1/30/21 through 2/2/21. According to the National Panhellenic Conference Manual of Information, “The purpose of recruitment is for potential new members and chapter members to get to know each other well enough for both to take the first step toward an important lifetime choice”. It is not in the best interest of potential new members, many of whom are freshman or sophomores who had a mostly online college experience, to have recruitment online, as it is difficult to get to know the members of each organization well enough over Zoom to make an informed decision on where they will spend their college years and beyond as an alumni. Panhellenic Formal Recruitment is defined as “values based recruitment” - this does not adapt well to an online format. Last year, many women who were signed up for formal recruitment dropped out because it was being held online. We predict the same thing will happen this year, seeing as the women who signed up expected an in-person formal recruitment experience and now, at the last minute, will have to go through recruitment online. Sororities including Theta Phi Alpha, Delta Phi Epsilon, and Sigma Delta Tau saw 27% to 63% of the amount of women who joined in person in Spring 2020 join in Spring 2021 online, for an average of 50%. When Theta Phi Alpha held informal recruitment this fall in person, we had 10 women join - more than double our amount when we held recruitment online. Holding recruitment online for a second year means the sophomore women in our community who had signed up expecting an in-person experience after either dropping or deciding not to sign up for online recruitment last year could lose another year of being able to participate in recruitment and joining a sorority. In addition to the loss in the number of women expected to join our sisterhoods, supplies, decorations, and apparel have already been purchased for formal recruitment and we are unable to return these items and recover the money we will lose from our chapter budgets. Months of planning have gone into preparations for an in-person formal recruitment. If Stevens puts formal recruitment online, it will be extremely last minute for us to plan a whole new recruitment experience in an online environment with new crafts, activities, games, and components of our themes. Most of our preparations from the past three months will be wasted as they will be unable to be used in an online environment. Components that could be included have also been left in Hoboken due to anticipating in person recruitment. Holding recruitment online also introduces the problem of technical difficulties, which we’ve seen throughout formal recruitment last year. Not only is it difficult to meet new people and have more than a one-on-one conversation over Zoom, many sisters and PNMs have unreliable Wifi or do not have a quiet space to be on Zoom for many hours. Nothing ruins an online conversation more than one person dropping out of the call due to connection issues, or loud dogs or children in the background. Additionally, many of our organizations will lose the experiences, knowledge, and unwritten traditions of the older classes if we do not hold recruitment in person. For many of us, most if not all of the sisters who had experienced formal recruitment in person (Spring 2020) from the perspective of an initiated sister will be graduating in May of 2022. This can already be seen in the online formal recruitment of the 2021 class - we have never experienced formal recruitment, myself included, and we missed out on many crucial traditions. Many of us in that class are or will be new Executive Board and Recruitment Chairs, and yet we have never experienced an in-person formal recruitment. Since we have already experienced holding formal recruitment late last year, having held it from 1/30/21 to 2/2/21, New Member processes and initiation dates should be easily adjustable and based on last year’s timeline. Although I joined Theta Phi Alpha during formal recruitment online last year, I was initiated March 14th, which gave plenty of time for the new member process. 

 We have planned to abide by COVID guidelines, including double masking, providing hand sanitizer, cleaning the rooms and sanitizing supplies between rounds, and ordering COVID-related supplies. According to the email announcement sent out today, “in-season athletes may return to campus and move-in to Stevens Housing before January 27th following previously planned timelines for return”. If student athletes are able to be on campus and practice their (winter, indoor) sport safely, as well as travel to games, we should be able to hold formal recruitment in person safely after our return to campus. Our organizations are prepared to enforce masking at formal recruitment events, and Theta Phi Alpha was able to hold informal recruitment in the fall safely in person with no COVID cases, showing that steps can be taken to stop the spread while still holding events in person. When I reached out to a Stevens administrator about students not following mask requirements during classes back in September, I was told in writing “it would be great if you could remind the students to put a mask on yourself,” and “it’s on all of us to help everyone remain in compliance with the masking policy”. We are determined to hold recruitment in-person safely and will take on the responsibility of making sure all sisters and PNMs remain in compliance with the masking policies and health guidelines Stevens has published. We are confident we will be able to safely hold an in-person formal recruitment after our return to campus and are respectfully urging Stevens to consider the ramifications of holding 2022 formal recruitment online, and consider pushing back the dates for formal recruitment to 1/29/22 or 2/5/22.


Sydney Linford, Theta Phi Alpha Recruitment Chair 2022

Amanda Schmitt, Theta Phi Alpha Recruitment Chair 2021



204 have signed. Let’s get to 500!