Out of an abundance of caution to keep the university community safe, Georgia Southern fraternity and sorority life councils voted last week to refrain from hosting social events and moved in-person organizational meetings and events to a virtual format through Oct. 1, 2020, on and off campus. The move followed a decision to host all recruitment events virtually during the summer months.

“As members of the Georgia Southern community and the fraternity and sorority community, the Panhellenic Association shares the responsibility to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by following all local, university, state, and federal guidelines pertaining to the pandemic,” said Hannah Conway, president of the Panhellenic Association on the Statesboro campus.

Samoria Smith, president of the Multicultural Greek Council on the Armstrong campus in Savannah added, “With all of the uncertainty going on in the world right now, our main focus is keeping students on both campuses safe.”

The actions taken by the six governing councils are welcomed by university leadership who have seen examples from other college towns where large off-campus gatherings have attracted unwanted attention and threatened a change to those universities’ operations.

“As a Greek woman, I know the tremendous impact Greek leaders have on our campus communities,” said Shay Little, Georgia Southern’s vice president for student affairs. “The collective action taken by our councils is exactly the bold leadership we need to slow the spread of COVID-19. I am proud of the Greek community’s leadership and vision to set high expectations to keep our communities safe and healthy.”

Georgia Southern is currently operating under the auspices of an extensive back-to-campus plan made in consultation with the University System of Georgia, and informed and guided by the university’s public health experts, the Georgia Department of Public Health, and the CDC.

Little pointed out the planning also comes with personal responsibility.

“Faculty and staff are working diligently to keep our campuses healthy and safe,” Little said. “The six councils have now stepped up and lived true to our fraternal values by setting expectations for behaviors to support a safe and healthy campus environment. Each of us must do our part to keep our community safe.”