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Davis, California

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Students reflect on joining Greek life during a pandemic

Recently initiated sorority members share their experiences

For many students, joining Greek life is a way to find their community amid such a big student body at UC Davis. While Greek life has continued this year during the pandemic, the rush process and other in-person activities have been replaced with an online experience. As another remote quarter comes to an end, newly initiated sorority members reflect on their experiences this quarter. 

Susie Schaffer, a first-year chemical engineering major, is a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority at Davis. Schaffer joined a sorority in hopes of creating a bigger social circle that would share common interests. 

“I decided to join a sorority to make friends and to find a group of women who want to find a balance of having fun, being healthy and striving to be academically and professionally successful,” Schaffer said via email. 

In past years, the sorority rushing process involved physically going from house to house, over a period of several days, until each potential new member found their sisterhood. While Schaffer would have preferred the rushing process to be in-person, she stated that she appreciated the effort to create a welcoming environment for the new members this year. 

Schaffer is grateful for the bonds she has created throughout this process, as it has eased her transition to college. Among the new faces in Schaffer’s life is her “big,” with whom she has developed a close relationship. Schaffer looks forward to further connecting with her sisters in-person when it is safe to do so. 

“I definitely made more friends through this and found it easier to adjust to school because I knew I had a cohort of sisters who were dealing with the same struggles I was,” Schaffer said via email. “I also am very grateful to have such an engaged and fun big, who really helped me feel at home in Davis. I look forward to the time when we can all meet in person and make up for time lost in getting to know more of the Greek community.”

Izzy Pernoll, a first-year human development major, is a member of the Alpha Phi sorority at Davis. Pernoll decided to join a sorority to meet people with similar interests and give back to the surrounding community. 

Pernoll shared that while she didn’t have an in-person rush experience to compare it to, for her, there were many positive aspects of the online process.  

“We were being very safe, I didn’t have to worry about rushing to each house, the weather wouldn’t affect the experience,” Pernoll said via email. “I really enjoyed the entire process, each day was so exciting.”

Pernoll described her experience as she continues to integrate into the sorority as fun and loving.  

“I was able to find girls in my major and [with] similar interests,” Pernoll said via email. “I was able to get advice on what I should take next quarter from older girls. They shared their favorite restaurants with me and their fun experiences their first year. Being seven hours away from home, it was nice knowing I always have someone to talk to.”

Gabrielle Alperin, a first-year psychology major, joined Pi Beta Phi this fall. Alperin was inspired to join by her family members who were also in sororities, in addition to the desire to meet new people. 

Alperin shared that while it was harder to get to know people over Zoom, she liked that the whole rushing process was more casual and less overwhelming. Alperin also noted the effort the sororities made to reach out and be welcoming throughout recruitment. 

After bid day, her sorority hosted many online events in an effort to build connections with new members. 

“There were a lot of online Zoom events and activities they would do to bond and everything,” Alperin said. “It’s nice to get to know people through that and so we can see them in person at a later time.”

Above all, Alperin shared that she is happy with her decision to rush, especially given the circumstances of these isolating times during the pandemic. 

“I think COVID made me want to rush more,” Alperin said. “Because it’s harder to get to know people, now especially, so just having a group of people that you can get to know and be part of a community is really nice.” 

Alperin encouraged other students to rush and join greek life now, stating that it provides connections that will last beyond the pandemic.  

“I definitely recommend joining,” Alperin said. “It’s just nice to get to know people now, and when things open up, and when COVID is gone, hopefully soon, you’re going to have a really great community that you can spend time with.”
Written by: Nora Farahdel — features@theaggie.org


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