Student organizations at Texas A&M have made major changes to Howdy Week recruitment in order to ensure the safety of current and potential members.
Over the past few months, A&M has put many regulations in place to protect the students, faculty and staff from COVID-19, such as restrictions on gatherings and space reservations. Since many organizations do most of their yearly recruitment during Howdy Week, which is almost at an end, some face difficulty in finding ways to meet potential members.
Psychology junior Jenna Miller, a member of the Kappa Delta Sorority, said in a normal year, those rushing the sorority would walk around the houses to speak with the other members. However, the coronavirus caused some changes in the recruitment process.
“They’re still talking to us, but it’s just over Zoom,” Miller said. “The first two days that we had, we didn’t talk to them in person, they basically sent us all videos.”
Miller said she has not seen a decrease in women interested in joining Kappa Delta, though there is some difficulty making connections with them remotely as opposed to face-to-face.
“It’s definitely different because, obviously when you’re in person, you get to sense people’s body language a lot easier when you’re talking to them,” Miller said. “You can sense how they’re holding themselves a lot better.”
Political science senior Rachel Roberts, a member of the Freudian Slip Improvisational Comedy Troupe said this group, which customarily performs monthly shows, finds most of their new members during Howdy Week.
“In the fall, we’ll typically do a free Howdy Week show and then do an open house show as well, and auditions are after open house,” Roberts said. “So, we’ll usually do the majority of our recruitment during that Howdy Week show and during [MSC] Open House.”
Roberts said COVID-19 and the regulations from the university have changed the way Freudian Slip can exist as an organization. However, public health senior Sheil Choksi, social media director for Freudian Slip, said they have already made some changes to their plans for the semester, which still allows them to perform virtually.
“Instead of doing improv in front of an audience, we’re going to be doing it internet style,” Choksi said. “We’ll be writing sketches and putting them on YouTube [and] putting them on social media.”
Roberts said Freudian Slip is just one of many student groups experiencing difficulty with recruiting, but believes this particular organization will make it through.
“I think every organization at the moment is sort of struggling with how to figure out, ‘How can we make sure our members are still active and involved in the organization?’” Roberts said. “For improv, I think we’re uniquely suited to adapt to situations.”