orgnight

Student Org Night typically takes place in person. However, this year, it's being done virtually.

In addition to the transition to online instruction, the coronavirus has caused all recruitment for clubs — and activities — to take place virtually.

As a result, some clubs have postponed recruitment.

Senior international business major Sophie Shidlovsky is president of Epsilon Nu Tau, a co-ed professional entrepreneurship fraternity. The fraternity is usually selective about its members, but because of COVID-19, she said they’ve decided to forgo their recruitment process for the semester. 

“We’re still going to be advertising about virtual events that we’re holding for people who are interested in us, but we’re not going to the formal selection process that we usually do,” Shidlovsky said.

An important part of fall recruitment for many organizations is Student Org Night. In the past, clubs were able to set up booths on campus to recruit new members. Because of the pandemic, it was reformatted to be completely virtual using an online platform where organizations have set up virtual booths.

ENT was still able to engage with numerous students despite not having in-person Student Org Night and not having an official recruitment process this fall, senior health service administration and recruitment chair Megan Shumate said.

“This was a great way for us to still have a way to find students who would be interested in becoming a part of our organization in the spring,” Shumate said.

Junior graphic design and School of Media Arts & Design major BJ Beckwith, who’s also the social chair of Club Cross Country and Track, was originally concerned that the number of new members would drop. However, the club ended up happy with how well Student Org Night went and the amount of interested members.

The club ended up being the fourth most clicked club based on the website data. 

Beckwith said that while they still weren’t able to do the usual recruitment, which includes Student Org Night and tabling in the commons, they were able to do Student Org Night and virtual recruitment events over zoom.

Delta Phi Epsilon Foreign Service Fraternity had gone into Student Org Night planning on doing a hybrid recruitment, with each event having an in-person  and virtual option, junior international affairs major and senior recruitment chair Kendra LaFave said. However, because of the shift online, their recruitment process was canceled.

“We held an open forum and vote,” LaFave said. “It was a result of collective decision-making within the brotherhood.”

LaFave said their main concern was “not recruitment itself but the pledging process.” In a normal semester, they typically gain around 50 new members in the fall. 

She explained that the brotherhood wanted to ensure that “new pledges got to meet the brothers in a memorable and effective way.” The organization still plans on holding events over the semester as well as hosting recruitment in the spring. 

With Student Org Night being virtual, in-person meetings banned and fears over COVID-19, recruitment could be a struggle for every organization.

“It’s a break from what we know as normal and conventional and a sure sign of the times we’re living in,” LaFave said.

Contact Eda Tercan at tercanea@dukes.jmu.edu. For more coverage of JMU and Harrisonburg news, follow the news desk on Twitter @BreezeNewsJMU.