COVID-19 has changed the way every SigEp chapter operates. Because of the pandemic, it became obvious over the summer to the brothers at Wisconsin-Platteville that fall 2020 would look different. They wouldn’t be able hang out together, invite guests over to the chapter house or recruit like they used to. But in July, with university officials still developing guidelines to help students and organizations safely navigate the return to campus, brothers also weren’t exactly sure what they could do.
Chapter leaders decided it was important that they create COVID-19 guidelines of their own as soon as possible to ensure the safety of their brothers and remain a leading fraternity on their campus. Members of the executive board took action as soon as the summer began so that they’d have enough time to order supplies, make necessary preparations and educate members.
The chapter’s measures were patterned after the Centers for Disease Control guidelines and adapted to suit situations brothers would encounter when they returned to school. The group spent several weeks developing its guidelines, taking into consideration all areas of operations, like housing, events and recruitment. They discussed cleaning the chapter home, wearing masks, and recruitment safety protocols for brothers and potential members.
In early August, the chapter held a special meeting to review and vote on the policies before the school year started. The vote was favorable, and the chapter added the new policies to its standing rules.
“It was not easy to carry out such a task, but we put blood sweat and tears into this so our brothers could thrive during the pandemic,” Chaplin Jacob Ubl, Wisconsin-Platteville ’21, stated. “COVID-19 provided a lot of uncertainty in our lives and taking initiative was important to us as a chapter, because we wanted our brothers to feel safe and for them to feel prepared for the upcoming academic year,” Ubl added.
The effort that went into creating the policies and procedures not only resulted in guidance for Wisconsin Theta, but also helped make campus safer for the entire Greek community.
“The document [of protocols] is the model we provided to other chapters, and they fully adopted the model for their houses,” said Becky Hass, who serves as Wisconsin-Platteville’s involvement coordinator for student organizations. Hass praised the chapter’s collaboration with the university and added, “The Wisconsin Theta chapter of SigEp has done outstanding in its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The chapter’s leadership worked closely with the university to understand the requirements for student organizations and fraternities and sororities.”
Creating policies that promote safety not only for their own chapter, but for the entire of the Greek community is something the brothers of Wisconsin-Theta will continue to take pride in long after the pandemic is over.