With Sigma Chi host institutions facing an array of different educational schedules this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sigma Chi International Fraternity has placed an emphasis on training undergraduate members to recruit remotely should on-campus recruitment events become impractical during the 2020 to 2021 academic year.
Each of Sigma Chi’s regional chapter support coordinators has been training members of the chapters they mentor using the Sigma Chi Leadership Institute’s Mission 365 remote recruitment training module, as well as the new recruitment guide provided by the Fraternity in recent weeks.
“The chapters are hungry for ways to recruit in this new environment, and this helps give them some tools to get the job done,” says Chris Hicks, GEORGIA SOUTHWESTERN 1996, who is the regional chapter support coordinator for the southeast.
More than 200 chapters will have received training by the regional chapter support team by the start of the fall semester.
“Our chapters appreciate proactive coaching with usable tools,” says Art Berg, OHIO 1982, who is the regional chapter support coordinator for the mid-Atlantic region. “The remote recruitment module reinforces our Mission 365 program and provides tools useful in today's ever-changing COVID-19 world. From what I've been told by our undergrads, the [chapter support] program and the recruitment coaching is light-years ahead of what's being offered to their friends in other fraternities.”
The first phase of training, through July 17, included each of Sigma Chi’s 61 chapters and colonies with academic calendars starting prior to Labor Day. Following the virtual Krach Transformational Leaders Workshop, which concludes on Aug. 8, training will resume for chapters whose academic calendars begin after Labor Day or those who were unable to schedule within the first phase.
“There are some chapters that were already finished or mostly finished with recruitment by the time we started Phase One [of recruitment training],” says Order of Constantine Sig Dan Mathewson, PUGET SOUND 1986, senior director of chapter support. “We will schedule them during the fall 2020 semester and get them trained [on the program].”
Should the pandemic create further changes on campuses for the spring semester, each chapter will have received the training needed to navigate their specific situations.
“Our chapters are prepared and engaging,” says Order of Constantine Sig Don McKinney, TULSA 1984, who is the regional chapter support coordinator for the south-central region. “This program highlights better questions and provides a multi-platform approach to engage prospective pledges.”
Across Sigma Chi, undergraduate chapters have been receptive to the materials and are prepared to engage in socially distant recruitment.
“While many of our chapters spend significant time preparing for fall recruitment, all of their firm traditional plans have been interrupted with the pandemic,” adds Michael Berger, SOUTH CAROLINA 2001, who is the regional chapter support coordinator for the northwest region. “Being able to provide them with a well–thought–out skeleton plan to navigate these murky waters has been eye opening for them and greatly beneficial.”
Chris Terzic, CAL. STATE-LONG BEACH 2018, regional chapter support coordinator for the southwest, says it has been impressive to see undergraduate leaders rise to the new recruitment challenges and use lessons learned from the program to benefit their campuses’ Greek-letter life communities.
“Many of them are taking the lessons and best practices developed by Sigma Chi and are truly leading their Interfraternity Councils and Greek Life offices by voicing their opinions on how to best design a virtual recruitment system for their specific community,” Terzic adds. “Our undergraduate brothers are focusing on our fraternal values and how to best virtually apply The Jordan Standard, and their peers have begun to take notice of their success.”