Otterbein’s Greek Life plans to refund chapters their dues from the spring 2020 semester.
After students were sent home last spring, Greek Life on campus was put to a halt. Students were sent home from Greek houses, and every Greek event was cancelled, including Greek Week which was scheduled to start days after students were sent home. In-person gatherings became impossible to have due to social distancing regulations.
“Some of what dues go to are those in-person gatherings that are not feasible this term,” said Ashley Secord, Assistant Director of Programming, Center for Student Involvement. “Why are we paying for something that we may not be getting?”
Earlier this year, Greek Life councils held meetings to discuss what would happen financially during a pandemic. With no student or faculty members on campus in the late spring semester, it was important for active members to receive a refund.
“Both Panahellenic council and Interfraternal council decided in the spring to refund the full amount of dues to every chapter,” Secord said. “That is because mostly spring dues cover Greek Week costs, and Greek Week didn't happen.”
Individual active members of each chapter either had their dues from spring semester refunded or put towards their summer dues.
Greek chapters are feeling the financial loss due to the senior class of 2020 graduating and recruitment being pushed to the spring. In normal years the New Member Class taken in the fall would replace the graduated seniors from the spring, leading to little to no loss of dues. However, with recruitment, Greek Week and all other Greek activities in the spring now, that presents a different financial problem.
“If things hopefully go as planned [in the spring], we will be having Greek Week, recruitment, and other Greek life activities all in one semester,” said Emma Damon, senior nursing major and treasurer of Theta Nu. “This will force us to get a little creative with our funds.”
Getting creative with funds comes from fundraising, which Greek chapters have to also change. Most fundraisers have to be done virtually, compared to previous years when fundraisers were something that brought the Greek community together. Yearly fundraisers such as Phi Delta Theta’s “Pie A Phi” cannot happen due to social distancing guidelines. Because it’s hard to rally the Greek community through online fundraisers, less money is coming into the chapters.
“I have found it very difficult to do fundraisers that everyone can partake in or are even interested in,” said Ashley Granger, senior psychology major and fundraising chair of Theta Nu. “Our mask fundraisers have been a huge hit, but we can’t keep doing the same fundraisers over and over again.”
Granger isn’t sure what the future of fundraising will look like, but hopes the Greek community can come together in a way that benefits everyone. “This pandemic has strengthened the need for community not just in our chapter, but across the whole campus,” she said.
It was important for Greek Life on campus to take in consideration all of the changes with living during a pandemic.
“Panhel is working with the chapters and making sure we can accommodate for any needs or concerns they may have,” said Haley Klintworth, Panhellenic Council (Panhel) Treasurer. “Our line of communication has been very strong this semester.”
Panhel hopes that cutting the dues for each chapter will give active members and chapters a financial break. “We never want financial reasons to affect members’ experience and opportunities for Greek Life,” said Klintworth.
Panhel is also providing cleaning supplies to every sorority house to help with costs and maintenance of COVID-19 procedures.