By Lydia Simmons / Staff Writer
Socializing during this pandemic is something that many people have struggled with in a time when it’s required, and safer, to interact from a distance. For greek life at USM, socializing and making in person connections is a big part of the process. In the time of Covid-19 creativity and the internet have been key in making things run as smoothly as possible. For the USM sorority Alpha Xi Delta this meant cultivating and making the same connections, just doing so in a different way. Before the strike of the virus and the initiation of the regulations and the guidelines that have come with it, Alpha Xi Delta held all events in person including a weekly meetings, weekly sisterhood dinners, recruitments, and socials, including formals, theme nights, and group pictures. In true Covid fashion, all of these events were either cancelled or moved virtually online in order to cooperate with Covid restrictions and guidelines.
One of the biggest changes that had to be made this year was when it came to enlist the new recruits. Normally Alpha Xi Delta would rent out a room on the Gorham campus a Monday through Friday, and it would be an open invite to anyone interested. Each night would be themed, for example one night would be a formal night where everyone would dress up. Another night would be a philanthropy night where they would talk about the sororities philanthropy and the organization that they raise money for. When talking about the recruitment process during Covid, Alpha Xi Delta Chapter Life Vice President Trisha Trinidad said, “I think it actually made it easier to find girls who were interested because we were able to utilize our social media a lot more to get the word out there about us.” Instead girls had to sign up via a google link and provide their emails and contact info for Alpha Xi Delta to send them the Zoom link to participate in the recruitment events. Break out rooms were also used in order to facilitate more intimate conversation between current members and participants who were interested in joining.
Zoom continues to be an important role in holding events for Alpha Xi Delta, as it does for many other sororities and fraternities in this time, as the school year continues. One event that they have been able to hold included a presentation night via Zoom where all the sisters made a presentation on a topic of their choice and presented it to the group. Other fun times the girls at Alpha Xi Delta were able to have included watching a sunset outside in a park in Portland and apple picking, all done while adhering to social distancing and CDC guidelines.
Embracing greek life and joining a sorority or fraternity is a great way for students who are completely online, who live at home, or feel disconnected to feel more connected to the USM community. When talking about the setbacks Covid-19 has had on Alpha Xi Delta, Trinidad shared, “I don’t think there have been any major setbacks that have really affected us as a sorority, it hasn’t really affected our sorority’s development, or journey, or growth. We’ve had to cancel things, but to us that doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t that much of a setback to us. What’s more important is that all of us are safe and healthy and we’re keeping others safe and healthy.” The sorority is an example of how there are ways to stay connected with others in the time of Covid-19, while still keeping those around us safe.