Rush season is a staple of the fall semester at Oklahoma Christian University. It is the time when interested sophomores explore social service clubs, get to know upperclassmen and choose which Greek-lettered group they want to be a part of. However, COVID-19 has impacted all elements of student life on campus, and rush is no exception. Rush directors are under pressure as there are now more requirements to follow, a shorter time frame to work with and the added stress of living through a pandemic. Several directors agreed to answer questions about rushing a club during the coronavirus, and they shared their experiences as rush directors during this unique time.
What are Oklahoma Christian’s COVID-19 requirements for your rush events?
“Masks are required, social distancing is required, 6 feet apart.” – Mitchell Jones, Psi Epsilon
“We’re encouraged to have our events outdoors or virtually; we have done most of ours virtually.” – Logan Dick, Psi Epsilon
“We have to be really careful about what we serve food wise. For the most part, it has to be prepackaged or we need to serve it with gloves.” – Maisy Lewis, Lambda Chi Zeta
Normally if we were to have a rush event off campus, we would all carpool together. But this year, only people who live together can ride together and they have to wear their masks in the car.” – Kelly Webber, Gamma Rho
How are these requirements impacting your events?
“We’ve had to work a lot harder to get the word out [about events]. We passed out calendars to the dorms and we tried to email out a few. It’s just tough because there wasn’t a Club Night.”
– Riley Roper, Kappa Sigma Tau
“Baconator, that’s one event Psi does every year, was a big challenge because we had to serve food, but also social distance. We’re having to cook some of the food beforehand and some of it while we’re there and then we also have one person serving it, so it’s a lot to figure out.”
– Mitchell Jones, Psi Epsilon
“They’re all very sweaty [because they’re outdoors].” – Brynn Walker, Iota Kappa Phi
Are you seeing your rushee numbers impacted by COVID-19?
“Yes, there have been a couple rushees that have been in quarantine, so they haven’t been allowed to go. The other events we’ve done have been online or outside so people that can come and have a good time.” – Garret Overbey, Chi Lambda Phi
How are you getting to know sophomores with masks & social distancing in effect?
“That’s the hardest thing about it all. When you meet people, they have masks on so you’re like, ‘Who are you?’” – Mckenzie Jernigan, Lambda Chi Zeta
“I think the biggest way is through our social media. And then personally, just trying to make an effort as I see them around. Softball has also been a big way that we’ve tried to get more people involved in our club. We’re not playing for points so we just want anybody who wants to play with us to play with us.” – Allie Custer, Phi Omega Nu
How are you compensating for a lack of spring rush?
“Spring rush was difficult because we just wanted to make sure our name was out there. Everyone had heard about us but they weren’t sure who we really were. Luckily, we got to do a Zoom event but [the rushees] didn’t really know who was a part of it.” – Macy Lewis, Lambda Chi Zeta
“Since we weren’t able to do a spring rush, we created this website that girls could go on and post different things about them, giving us a little explanation of who they are, what their interests are and then Gamma girls were able to go on, comment, encourage them and create some community.” – Tessa Fewin, Gamma Rho
What are the impacts of a shortened rush season for you, your club & rushees?
“I remember being a sophomore and thinking, ‘There’s so much going on!’ [The sophomore rushees] have three events a week with us, then you add in everyone else’s calendar and they’re busy every night. I feel for them because they’re probably stressed out and overwhelmed.” – Emilie McBrayer, Iota Kappa Phi
“I want to take advantage of every single minute that I have in this season to try to show people what Phi is about and just love on anybody that is willing to let me love on them.” – Allie Custer, Phi Omega Nu
What is the greatest unexpected challenge or blessing that coronavirus has brought to your rush season?
“Normally, you get to do events with girls clubs and you get everybody to join in. And now, we’re down to two girls events because they don’t want to bring a massive group together. And I understand that, it’s just hard not being able to bring everyone together.” – Jonathan Olsson, Kappa Sigma Tau
“Everybody knows how stressful rush is anyways, then add COVID on top of that, and other members are very understanding of your needs. Everybody wants to be there for you.” – Jackie Kim, Iota Kappa Phi
Anything else?“I’m just happy that we’re having a rush, that OC is letting us have a rush. This could be a lot worse and we’re actually handling it decently well. The people and students of OC, we’re not being perfect, far from it, but we could all be handling it a lot worse. I’m proud of us.” – Tanner Bedford, Chi Lambda Phi