Sorority recruitment in the time of COVID: What it was like to go through rush at Auburn University during the pandemic

Girl at Auburn University game holding a sign
Photo courtesy of @maddyworleyy

This year has been a whirlwind for us all! Our lifestyles have been totally flipped upside down, and we’ve had to adapt to the times in a unique way due to COVID-19. Due to the pandemic, sorority recruitment was very different across the country, but PNMs still trusted the process and found their way home. So what was it like actually going through recruitment this year?

We sat down with Maddy Worley, a freshman at Auburn University, and learned all about her rush experience—an experience that proves everything happens for a reason. Not one knows what the future holds, but it’s looking more and more likely that social distancing regulations will continue throughout the spring. If you’re planning on going through deferred recruitment, be sure to read on to learn more about her experience and gather some great advice below!

What were your thoughts about starting college during this unique time?

“Starting my freshman year of college amid a pandemic was something I never thought would happen to me. When this became reality, I knew I was in for a whirlwind. Yes, this year has been full of many unexpected changes, but I wouldn’t want to experience it any differently! I knew before arriving at Auburn that I needed to focus on being open and embracing the experience. If I was constantly trying to compare my freshman year to a ‘normal’ freshman year, it would lead to a bunch of let downs and I would never be able to find the positive in anything.”

How would you describe your sorority recruitment experience at Auburn University?

“Sorority recruitment this year was unlike any before. Although, I had never experienced anything different, so to me it just felt normal! Being an out-of-state student, I had little-to-no knowledge about any of the sororities on campus, so it made having an open mind a lot easier. This being said, it did not make the process itself any easier. I came into the week with no expectations of who I might get dropped by and did my best to not let the drops get the best of me. But overall, I wouldn’t change a thing!”

What did each round of recruitment look like?

“Prior to beginning the recruitment process, we were told to film a 1-2 minute video of ourselves displaying our personality while talking about our favorite quote, experience or book. We did this without knowing it would ultimately turn into our first round of recruitment! Following my arrival in Auburn, Alabama, I was so scared that the two-minute video I had filmed months ago wouldn’t be enough to showcase my personality to all 18 sororities...but I couldn’t let that get me down.

Round 1: We started off the week with an ‘Ice Water Tea’ round where we watched videos of all the sororities and quickly made our preferences.

Round 2: Philanthropy round lasted 3 days and we had up to 13 houses back. We were finally able to talk to the active members on Zoom and get a feel for their personalities!

Round 3: The virtual sisterhood round started with preffing up to 8 houses. In this round, we were able to hear about what the active members loved in a sister and some of the many sisterhood events each chapter held.

Round 4: Concluding sisterhood round, we made our preference of up to 2 houses which was the scariest decision of them all. Preference round was where things got deeper than they had been all week, and you slightly voiced to each sorority where you might see yourself running home to on Bid Day! Then, we made our preferences for our first and second house. From there we would find out our final home the following day and finished out the week with fun Bid Day activities!”

What were the pros and cons of going through sorority recruitment during this pandemic?

“Cons: Not meeting many people in our pledge class, having various technical issues, and losing the more personal connection.

Pros: Less stress of having to meet someone new in-person and more people were able to attend the actual recruitment process.”

What did you do to stand out through the process while still being your authentic self?

“In order for me to stand out during recruitment via Zoom, I did two vital things. First, I always made sure I had my computer setup to video myself with a cute backdrop behind me. Whether that being a neatly made bed, or just a decorated wall with pictures/artwork that could spark a conversation, this was something that was important. Second, I tried to stand out through my jewelry! I made sure that I wore many cool pieces that would make a statement, which allowed several girls I talked to be able to remember me by.”

What safety precautions were taken to ensure current members and PNMs remained safe during the process?

“Many precautions were taken in order to ensure a safe and successful sorority recruitment experience for all. For instance, our first round of recruitment was pre-recorded, and all other rounds were held via Zoom. By partaking in these two major precautions, we were allowed to have our bid day in-person! Although, in order for Auburn Panhellenic to make this day the safest, it was held in shifts in the Auburn football stadium.”

What advice would you give to a young woman going through sorority recruitment during this unique time?

“I would tell a potential new member to not let any silly sorority letters define you! Be your true self and do not put on a front for any sorority. You will find your dream house where you can be your full unique self and not feel like you’re being judged by anyone else, but first and foremost trust the process. It will lead you in the right direction - always!”

To learn more about what sorority life is like on specific college campuses, check out these articles!

University of Texas

TCU Part 1

TCU Part 2

Girls posing at football game


Pinterest Sorority Graphic

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published