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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

St. Joe’s student organizations return to in-person recruitment

PNMs and brothers have small group discussions at the PSP Diversity, Equity and Inclusion recruitment event. PHOTO: KELLY SHANNON ’24/THE HAWK

The need to quarantine and social distance over the last year has resulted in the loss of a sense of community on campus, especially in many campus organizations. The fall 2021 semester has allowed for fewer COVID-19 restrictions, brought more hustle and bustle back to campus, and with it, more opportunities to socialize.

In the past two weeks, business and honors fraternities have run their biannual recruitment process in person, and members of these organizations are thrilled to finally be face-to-face in their respective communities.

“It feels like college again with all these people you see,” said Vraj Thakar ’22, a member of the gender inclusive business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi (DSP). “Everyone [is] just smiling and hanging out with one another. Being together with our whole fraternity and just seeing our other friends is just a great feeling.”

Phi Sigma Pi (PSP), a honors gender-inclusive honors fraternity with 103 active brothers, also held their recruitment events recently. Both organizations have similar recruitment processes. Each runs an information session, a series of events and interviews for potential new members (PNMs).

Rachel Waro ’22, another member of DSP, said she appreciates being back on campus for this process but acknowledges some of the difficulties this semester poses.

“I think post-covid, it takes a little bit more for people to put themselves out there. There’s a new level of energy that people are aware of bringing to events to try to have people feel comfortable and excited again for this,” Waro said. “After dealing with covid for so long, people are ready to get involved.”

While the organizations adapted during COVID-19, those who joined in the past two semesters say they feel a sense of isolation because they were not able to meet in person.

“Everyone would talk about being really close with their pledge class, and I didn’t get to meet a whole lot of people over Zoom, so I feel like we weren’t as close,” said Clare Shiple ’23, who joined PSP during the pandemic. “Me and my one roommate were in the same pledge class, so we felt kind of disconnected from everyone once we were in it because we hadn’t met people in person.”

These feelings of disconnect were apparent to returning PSP members as well. At in-person recruitment events, potential new members (PNMs) have the opportunity to talk to brothers before and after events to get to know them on a deeper level. According to Alex Wilkes ’22, a member of PSP, this was not possible when the process was virtual.

“Through Zoom, there wasn’t really that opportunity to have those smaller conversations one-on-one with the PNM,” Wilkes said. “You don’t get to know them as well over Zoom because before the event started, there was really no time to talk.”

Despite the disruption the pandemic restrictions put on these organizations, members say they are excited and energetic about the return to campus. Amanda Fanning ’22 said she has already noticed a positive shift in energy.

“The Sunday we came back, we had our first chapter [meeting] and everyone was super excited to see each other,” Fanning said. “It was like a big reunion where we were able to meet the people who had joined while we were [on Zoom during] covid. It was like getting to meet them all over again.”

DSP members said they are happy to use in-person events to display aspects of their ongoing traditions, many of which they could not do last year, and thus not able to pass the torch to the next generation of DSP brothers.

“The hope this year is going to be to try to show people, to the greatest extent, what DSP looks like, so that they can mold it to be their own,” Waro said. “It is a hope that the people who pledged during the online covid session will bring their own spin to things, and their own insights and their own flexibility into DSP, which is the goal for it to evolve over time.”

While being back in-person is not without its difficulties, both organizations are excited to finally feel that sense of community and normalcy again which recruitment jump started.

“Just talking to all the new faces, seeing new faces; it just feels great to be getting back to what St. Joe’s is all about,” Thakar said. “These people are ones that you call your lifelong friends, so I’m just happy to finally be back to in-person events.”

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Natalie Nevins
Natalie Nevins, Copy Editor
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