Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Elena Trask was excited to direct recruitment this year for her sorority. Little did she know just how difficult that would be.
Recruitment by Zoom is a huge killer for boosting Greek chapters.
Each year, the eight sororities at Chapman recruit about 700 students. This year, cut that in half.
That’s right; just 350 were scheduled to join those 8 Greek homes. Nothing like recruiting in person on campus. But then here came COB to the rescue.
It stands for Continuous Open Bidding. Which means Greek houses could have special virtual events after recruitment week. Known as informal recruiting. The only sorority on campus that had enough recruits and didn’t have to do COB was Kappa Kappa Gamma, due to the fact they are they largest sorority on campus.
“After COB, we had an additional 100 people join,” said Megan Miller, Panhellenic’s vice president of recruitment.
That put the numbers at 450, well below a normal year, but at least a more respectable number.
All but one Greek house resorted to COB recruiting.
“Virtual recruitment is definitely not what I expected,” said Trask of Kappa Kappa Gamma. “Trying to stay connected was one of the biggest challenges and just trying to keep the energy flowing.”
Fully remote classes took a hit to the social aspects of recruiting. Greek life at Chapman, which includes one-third of the student body, was flipped upside down by COVID-19. Enter COB.
COB is defined by the website “Sorority Scoop,” as “a form of informal recruitment that sorority chapters can participate in at any time outside of primary recruitment.” It was rarely used at Chapman in the past because there was no need.
“Chapters participate in COB because they don’t hit ‘total’ which is the number of members they can have in the chapter. It’s also there to offer another way for any people who want to join a sorority who maybe didn’t feel comfortable doing formal recruitment.,”
Junior health science major, and new member to Pi Phi, Angelina Tran, was one of the Chapman students who decided to go through continuous open bidding this year.
“I wanted to get more involved in Chapman. I’ve been interested in activities that were more related towards my major,” Tran said. “But as a junior, there’s still more I wanted to do. I thought it would be a really good experience to branch out and be surrounded by so many women that will be there to support you.”
Here’s how she said it worked for her sorority:
“It was very casual, but it was also a very open and comfortable way to get to know the chapter. [Pi Phi] had two different events, and we went into Zoom breakout rooms. It made it a lot easier to talk to everyone, rather than going through the regular recruitment.”
Alpha Phi’s president Michaela Kearton said her sorority never has trouble recruiting, but had to resort to COB recruiting this year.
“We ended up COBing 10 amazing girls,” she said.
That put the sorority at 55 total recruits, still considerably smaller than previous years. But those 10 were a huge help.
She discovered that she became a fan of the whole COB process.
“It is such a different experience than it is in formal recruitment because it is very casual and you’re able to get very deep and get to know someone a lot faster for maybe a few hours within a couple days of conversation,” said Kearton.
Lastly, Kearton spoke about her concerns going into virtual recruitment.
Virtual recruitment before COB had worried her.
“I am a people person and so when I talk to someone, I love connecting face to face, and so I was worried I wasn’t going to connect with people.
But thanks to COB, she said, “Virtual recruiting ended up being more successful than everyone thought.”
Several noted that it was especially helpful to young women who don’t consider normal recruitment right for them.
Trask said of virtual recruitment: “This was all such uncharted territory.”