One Year Later...
It’s been one year since the COVID-19 pandemic started. This time last year, states began enforcing lockdowns, businesses temporarily closed down, and students were put on a two-week break–or so they thought.
On March 15, 2020, the University of South Carolina’s president Bob Caslen notified students that all system institutions would be closed from March 16 through March 31, 2020. It was only four days later that President Caslen announced UofSC would extend remote learning through the remainder of the Spring semester.
We knew this decision–difficult but clear–was made to protect the health of the students, faculty, staff, and public. After all, safety and health should always be the top priority. However, this meant the second semester was going to be anything from traditional.
For seniors, they lost their in-person commencement. For the rest of the students, their semesters were cut short. For professors, they had to learn new technology and re-construct their entire teaching process. For greek life members, all events were canceled and those living in the houses had to move out prematurely. Everyone had to adapt and overcome various challenges.
Just like businesses, even the ADPi house on-campus had to change its procedures. Masks are required at all times except when eating in the dining room, which has been re-arranged to accommodate social distancing guidelines. Standing spots have been placed on the floor to keep girls six feet apart while they wait in line. Plexiglass has been installed between the sneeze guard and line.
Even the majority of the recruitment process for Fall 2020 was virtual. Potential new members were placed into groups with their Pi Chis and would eat together, bond with one another, and seek advice. But the PNMs did not go into each sorority’s house or meet any of the girls. Instead, all four rounds were conducted via Zoom. Each Zoom call typically consisted of the sororities showing a brief video about them then putting the PNMs into break-out rooms with current members.
Luckily, for bid day, it was in-person. However, the new members and their bid day buddies were given a 30-minute time slot to come to the house, meet other girls, and take pictures. Since then, any event held has been at reduced capacity with time slots. For example, we now are able to hold chapter in-person, but only 36 girls are allowed to attend, excluding the 14 executive members. It is live-streamed on Zoom for the rest of our members to watch.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to look on the bright side: we are resilient. Although this past year has been anything but easy, we all should proud of how well we have kept our heads up and adapted during these strange times. There really is a light at the end of this year-long tunnel.