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How Pi Sigma Epsilon plans to harbor a community amidst COVID-19

Greek life at Miami revolves around a sense of family between the brothers and sisters of the organization. That connection is now being challenged by the limitations on gathering and face-to-face contact.

Pi Sigma Epsilon (PSE), one of the biggest professional business fraternities on campus, will hold virtual information sessions at 7 p.m. on Sept. 2 and 8 for fall semester recruitment.

The fraternity acts as a small consulting firm for the Cincinnati area where members have the opportunity to work with real clients in professional business, like P&G and Adobe. Anyone is able to join. They want every student in the organization to feel confident going after their dream job. 

The fraternity’s president, senior Kelsey Sullivan, says the way it functions as a “small consulting firm” is why the culture stands out from the other business fraternities. 

“People are working with clients, working long hours on these projects and getting experience, so it creates a better culture and community,” Sullivan said. “Because we give our members those client experiences, and they go through that together, it creates close relationships.” 

While PSE is still focused on providing that experience to members, their semesterly recruitment process has changed because of COVID-19. Now, the organization will be utilizing Zoom for recruitment and future meetings. 

The director of recruitment, junior Will Murray, feels prepared for this semester’s recruitment after spending a lot of time getting things in order. 

“It was a daunting task at first,” Murray said. “But with some really dedicated members helping me, and enough time to figure out what we have to do, we’re pretty confident that we’ll get to meet as many amazing students across this campus as we usually do.”

Students join Greek life and other organizations to feel a sense of community, which is difficult when they have to talk to their friends through a screen. 

However, Carmen Perez, a senior in the chapter and a part of PSE’s professional development committee, is not worried about the loss of connection.

“I think, right now, a lot of people are learning, and even our organization is learning, that you don’t have to be in the same room as someone to have a good time,” Perez said. “It’s definitely different, but all of that love and that community is still there. That’s the one thing that hasn’t changed.” 

PSE plans to promote its familiarity and bonding among the members of the fraternity in order to assuage any skepticism or doubt new recruits may have. 

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“It will be a little different because we’re not sitting around a campfire, but we’ll still be able to create that sense of community and that sense of home for our new members,” Perez said.

Murray highlights the fraternity’s motive to help members develop life-long relationships. 

“PSE has this culture about it that I think is extremely special and something I try to convey to any potential new members,” Murray said. “We’re not just inclusive, but once you get in PSE, you’re taken care of, your needs are heard and you can make your life revolve around PSE in college if you wanted it to.”

Sullivan came up with a “buddy system” to bridge the gap between potential new members and the leadership team. They are paired with a member who is willing to help out, answer any questions and ease the pressure off the interview and recruitment process.

“Creating that buddy system will create a more personal way to get them excited about the chapter and have a better one-on-one connection,” Sullivan said.

Even with having to go remote, PSE has fun events planned for the members. The group has creative ways to keep members engaged such as game nights and family dinners via Zoom.

“Instead of just throwing people on Zoom calls and saying, ‘Hey, talk so you guys can get closer,’ we always think that there needs to be something else centered around that and then discussion will come,” Sullivan said. 

The leadership team will be using technology to its advantage to make interviews and meetings as engaging as possible. 

“We’re hoping the new protocols we’re going to set in place will not make it feel like you’re just hopping on a Zoom call and staring at a screen,” Murray said. “You’re actually interacting with our members, still getting the most out of the recruitment process and learning about who we are.”

Perez is optimistic about online meetings because having knowledge about the virtual world may be helpful, as a lot of companies have transferred to a remote work setting.

“Right now, in the business world, everything is online,” Perez said. “We’re learning how to interact with each other online, and these are skills that you might not learn if we didn’t have a pandemic.” 

PSE and other business fraternities are the first Greek life organizations to recruit during this school year. The fraternity hopes its virtual recruitment process can pave the way for other organizations to follow. 

“We don’t know how long this is going to last; we could be virtual next semester,” Sullivan said. “We want to give [students] opportunities to grow as a future business professional or whatever their career aspirations are.”

Murray and the rest of the recruitment team have been well-trained and prepared for the process. 

“Despite us not knowing what the next two weeks are going to look like, there is a way to manage it,” Murray said. “Even though it’s going to be completely different than what we’ve done in the past, it’s not impossible, and some of the best ideas come when the sky is falling.”

Perez, an art history major, mentioned she’s worked with students from every single college on campus. Because anyone is able to join, PSE’s members are still pumped to meet students with different majors during recruitment, even during COVID-19. 

“[PSE] teaches everyone that no matter what industry you want to go into, no matter what you’re passionate about, everyone needs to know how to feel confident in themselves and to go after what they want,” Perez said. “We want every single person to feel welcome and included.” 

Murray is excited to meet new people who are interested in joining the fraternity, despite the unusual times.

“We’re so excited,” Murray said. “To meet the students across campus that are passionate about becoming future leaders.”

freibell@miamioh.edu 

@lilyfreiberg 


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