2022 Panhellenic Recruitment- Preference Round Announcement

January 14, 2022

The Panhellenic Recruitment Team, in conjunction with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, has made the difficult decision to shift Preference Round to a virtual format. This was a devastating decision for us to make, but we feel it is our responsibility to prioritize the health and safety of our community- even if that is the difficult choice.

Before making this decision, the Panhellenic Recruitment Team sought input from all chapters, advisors, and potential new members regarding their comfort level with in-person Preference. Many participants were concerned about the well-being of members and PNMs participating in Pref in person, even despite the mitigation measures we had put in place.  Additionally, there were concerns that participants might show up unwell or having tested positive in order to stay "competitive," thinking they would be at a disadvantage for participating virtually.  Ultimately, Panhellenic wanted to make sure that all involved are well and able to attend the first week of classes. 

As we shared with chapter leaders and advisors on Thursday, the winter weather also played a significant role in our decision.  While we adjusted the schedule to allow for additional travel time on Friday and we were fully prepared for in-person Preference options, leaders were concerned about making sure chapter members could get back to their homes on Saturday night before the storm begins. With a hybrid Pref modality, Preference events would have lasted until at least 8:40pm Saturday evening. After the last event, chapters begin their selection process which can take up to 6-8 hours, depending on the organization. Quite honestly, this became one of our main concerns with regards to the weather on Sunday- we didn’t want chapter members getting stuck in Oak Lane or trying to travel in the weather.

We know this this is not the recruitment experience anyone was planning for, and we are heartbroken and disappointed alongside our sisters. We have spent thousands of hours over the past year planning for a fully in-person recruitment. None of us could have ever imagined a new variant of COVID-19 and a potential blizzard, but we are proud to be known for our flexibility, strength, and resilience as Panhellenic women.

Schedule and Logistics for Saturday (Preference Round):

All PNMs will have a Zoom meeting with their Rho Gamma group at 8:00am on Saturday, where they will receive their schedules for all events during Preference Round. PNMs will attend a maximum of 2 events during Preference, and each event is one hour.

Immediately after their last event, PNMs will receive an email with a link to a Zoom meeting where they will learn about the Membership Recruitment Acceptance Binding Agreement (MRABA) and virtually sign it with a Fraternity and Sorority Life team member. These volunteers will be available to answer any questions and to provide support to PNMs as they are making their decisions.

Schedule and Logistics for Sunday (Bid Day):

The current forecast is for 9-16 inches of snow in Blacksburg on Sunday. Due to this weather event, Panhellenic Bid Day will be happening virtually. At 4:00pm, potential new members will join a Zoom event with their Rho Gamma group where they will celebrate Panhellenic Bid Day and receive their bids electronically. When PNMs receive their bids, they will receive information about their new chapter’s bid day celebration. Chapter celebrations will likely be virtual due to the weather, and we are encouraging chapters to celebrate together later this week once the weather has settled down.