Greek organizations adapt to COVID-19 restrictions

Courtesy art via Baylor Sigma Iota Alpha

By Saphiana Zamora | Reporter

Greek life is one of the largest forms of student activity on Baylor’s campus, according to the Student Activities webpage. Yet with the fall 2020 semester starting off with strict regulations due to COVID-19, Greek organizations must hold events differently.

According to Baylor University’s Interim COVID Policies, students are required to wear a face mask at all times in public settings such as classrooms, labs, cafeterias and other areas where foot traffic occurs.

Recently, Phi Gamma Delta was suspended due to an off-campus gathering that directly violated Baylor University’s COVID-19 rules. In response to this, Baylor University has increased police presence on campus to regulate campus activity and gatherings.

Aurora, Colo., junior Sam Onilenla, Baylor Phi Beta Sigma parliamentarian, said leaders in Greek organizations are discussing ways to stay safe from COVID-19.

“If we don’t follow the procedures that are set in place to protect us, we will be online for the remainder of the semester.” Onilenla said.

During move-in week, Onilenla explained that there was a required meeting for sorority and fraternity leaders to attend, hosted by Student Activities administrators, to explain the expected behavior of each organization.

Although Baylor has not released specific rules and guidelines that speak directly to fraternities and sororities, each organization is expected to follow the same rules already laid out by the university and McLennan County.

Fort Worth senior Victoria Espinoza, president of Baylor’s Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha, Inc. chapter, explained the process that her organization must go through in order to still be able to conduct events and meetings.

“We meet regularly with our advisers in order to think of creative ways to work around COVID-19 and all of its limitations,” Espinoza said. “SIA [Sigma Iota Alpha, Inc.] is struggling, but we are working and meeting with every council, not just the MGC [Multicultural Greek Council].”

A majority of this year’s events and interactions with Greek organizations will be moved online.

For example, Onilenla said that the introduction of their newest members was a different experience due to the social distancing and face masks required.

“It’s integrity based,” said Onilenla. “It’s up to each fraternity or sorority to hold themselves accountable during this time.”