By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer
To preface, I genuinely appreciate the work that the school administration has been putting in day in and day out since we returned to campus for the fall 2020 semester. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to go to Baylor and even have the option to take in-person classes and attend school events. Many of my friends at other schools have been struggling with fully online school, whether they are at home or on campus. Thankfully, I’m not in the same boat because of the hard work and dedication to academics and student life at Baylor.
However, I am disappointed and frustrated at this point that I’m paying dues to be involved in a group that is very much limited in our capacity to get together and hold events while slews of sports fans can get together weekly with no recoil.
I’m not mad about paying dues because I agreed to the commitment, just like paying tuition. They still need the money to keep the organization going. People need to be paid. Our chapter rooms need to be kept open and so on.
What I’m mad about is that students are allowed to attend sports games, and undoubtedly, they do. I don’t understand how a big basketball stadium with two teams of sweaty athletes, coaches, referees and an in-person audience seems any more safe and COVID-19 friendly than a group of maybe only 100 to 200 girls at a time outside at an event or even indoors at a spacious location like the Ferrell Center.
I’m a junior in a sorority living off campus. I know for a fact that most students in Greek life live with their Greek brothers or sisters, which is all the more reason to be able to hold Greek events because that’s really only some 100 houses of girls at an event which are exposed to each other everyday.
In argument for fraternities too, they have much smaller pledge classes. They are considerably smaller than the sorority chapters and similarly live with each other. At a sports event, the fans come from all over. They may be students, parents, faculty or locals. You don’t know who you’re exposing, and you don’t know who is exposing you.
Think about all the people you come in contact with at a sports event. First, the people who scan your tickets and security guards, the people you have to walk past to get to your seats, then maybe you get hungry and want to buy a snack, you’re coming in contact with the concession clerks. Finally, as the game is ending, you hurriedly file out to your car along with the rest of the crowd thinking the same thing. All at once, the stadium halls are flooded with people eager to beat the crowd and be the first out of the parking lot.
Many spring events — formal dances, parent weekends, campus social events — are flexible and can be much better fitted to COVID-19 safety guidelines. And to reiterate, you most likely know the people you’re seeing at sorority events. You’ve seen them on the weekends, in restaurants, at their house. For formals, not everyone will bring a date, and if they do, it is likely they know this date too and have seen them outside of campus recently.
Greek events usually don’t last as long as sports games either, and people don’t stay as long. They might last two hours or four, but often they are “revolving door” types of events. People come and go. There are never too many people there, and they don’t stay for hours at a time. As for sports events, though, they last for an average of three to four hours and attendees all come and go around the same time.
Aside from that, students, faculty and staff are being tested weekly for COVID-19, and results have been returned in under 24 hours. If we are subject to weekly testing or else penalized for noncompliance, we should also be rewarded with events if case numbers are kept down. Especially for off-campus students who may not have many on-campus classes anyways, or a parking pass for that matter, I would like to think my efforts to make it to my testing appointment would be worth it.
Honestly, weekly testing is a luxury. It would be a shame to not take advantage of the freedom and peace of mind it allows us to safely hold in-person events and once again come together. If not for the sanity of the all the students out there chomping at the bit to enjoy their last likely four years of carefreeness and adolescence.
On-campus Greek life events are where I saw firsthand the sense of community here during my freshman year. Now, Student Activities has been scrambling to put together virtual events and special ways to contribute to student life in the pandemic. The attention to students is one of the many reasons I think Baylor is a top-tier school.
I recognize other students have been impacted greatly by different campus involvement, but it’s no secret that Greek life has a hold on student life here. Personally, it’s been a big part of my college experience, and where I met some of my lifelong friends.
The whole point of being in a sorority is being able to grow in your “sisterhood,” sharing quality time together, planning events on and off campus to show people how great it is to be in your sorority and celebrate my awesome friends. Regardless of the fun aspects, events raise money for the chapter philanthropy and uphold our Christian values of loving our neighbors.
Last semester, we weren’t able to hold any events due to COVID-19 policies. This semester still looks a little bleak, with no events officially planned. I’ve heard from girls in other sororities that some of their annual spring events have also been canceled.
Already, All-University Sing has been reduced to merely half of what it usually is, understandably, due to COVID-19. Though for my sorority, at least, this persuaded our chapter to not participate because there’s no motivation for long late night practices and eight counts if we can’t all be together to make it worthwhile.
Granted, Sing is somewhat of an exception because by nature it’s hard to translate into COVID-19 safety guidelines. That is one of the few events I can think of that is not as flexible though. In the past, we have held fundraisers with other fraternities and sold tickets and shirts for a big pasta dinner on campus.
We also have semi-formals and other “date” events which raise money by shirt sales for our philanthropy. All of which is not currently expected to happen again this semester. These are some of my favorite parts of Greek life because you get to meet new people who you might’ve not had the chance to in the past. It’s something to look forward to when the pressures of school and work seem endless. Now, I’ve been paying money for something I can’t even reap the rewards from.
I’m all for sports events and think it’s great we can actually cheer on our teams. Anyone who has played on a sports team knows how much energy an enthusiastic audience can feed into your game.
I just don’t see the logic behind not holding Greek life events for COVID-19 safety measures when similar size audiences of sports fans can congregate for hours under one roof while there are whole sororities and fraternities, surely recently tested, who want to hold events of equal or smaller proportions that can be fitted to safety guidelines.