It has become clear that we are in uncertain times, and in many ways, uncharted territory with the required responses that have and will continue to create new realities associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. As members of the fraternity and sorority community, we are accustomed to change and certainly understand the need to evolve to meet the ever-changing demands of our society. Even with that understanding, we recognize the era we are in is unprecedented and challenging for all of us.
The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life — with HUGE help from our brothers and sisters at Florida State University Fraternity and Sorority Life — is offering a one-stop shop full of resources to help you navigate the era of virtual engagement. We hope the resources below will help you maintain a strong sense of belonging, connection, and passion as you navigate a virtual fraternity and sorority experience.
► Facetime, Android Video Calling, Skype, Google Hangout are all great for one-on-one video calls.
► Through UNC Charlotte, all students have access to a Webex account, which does not have time limits for meetings and allows up to 1,000 people to be on a call. To access, go to webex.uncc.edu and log in with you NinerNET credentials and follow the prompts to set up an account.MEMBER ENGAGEMENT
► Consider how to adapt the ways your members connect to the current circumstances. For instance, you could hold Webex calls, use an app like Marco Polo so chapter members can stay up to date with each other, or watch Netflix together with the Chrome extension Netflix Party.
► If you have a brotherhood/sisterhood chair or committee, you can utilize them to check in on groups of members in the coming weeks. Consider hosting small virtual get-togethers. Split the chapter into smaller groups or even by new member class/line. Assign an executive board member to each of the groups and have them host/create programs for each of those groups based on what people are most interested in doing.
► If you are reminiscing on your time at the Atkins Library, consider hosting virtual study sessions or have a standing open Webex room specifically catered to study sessions. This will give you that great feeling of being in the library and encourage you to look at your books more than your timeline.
► Pair each member of the chapter together with someone they do not have a great opportunity to connect with throughout the year. Encourage them to connect at least once within the week either via phone or a video call. Check out this randomizer to make your life a little easier when randomizing parings or small groups. Rotate groups around every few weeks or so. This would be especially great for newer members the chapter may not know as well yet.
► If your chapter had new members/neos this semester, think about how you can intentionally reach out to them during this time. Excitement is often high after initiation, and you don’t want them to feel lost. Get them engaged with some virtual committees and meetings early on. See if there are any of them that want to continue to lead engagement for their new member class/line brothers/sisters throughout this virtual period. Encourage them to utilize some of the same resources the chapter leadership is using to maintain chapter engagement.
► Check in with your brothers/sisters to make sure they have the resources they need in this time. Refer them to https://emergency.uncc.edu/coronavirus or contact Michelle Guobadia, Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life at firstname.lastname@example.org, if they are having any issues with access to reliable internet, safe housing, experiencing food insecurity, or need to self-quarantine.
► Work with your advisor(s), headquarters or regional team, and/or chapter advisor when appropriate to ensure that official updates and communication are vetted and appropriate. Advisors are included on all communication and are great resources to help you manage the chapter.
► Consider free software that can help manage segmented communication. For example, Mailchimp can help you create specific communication to various groups (parents/families, chapter members, executive board members, advisors, etc.). Their free version allows you to create email templates and see who has opened your email and even clicked on the links you are providing. You can also use many versions of your university Google Drive account for information sharing.
► Through UNC Charlotte, all students have access to a Webex account, which does not have time limits for meetings and allows up to 1,000 people to be on a call. To access, go to webex.uncc.edu and log in with you NinerNET credentials and follow the prompts to set up an account.
► Niner Engage is a great place to connect with others and begin to plan upcoming programs. You can also use Niner Engage for upcoming elections. Click the hyperlink to learn more or log into ninerengage.uncc.edu using your NinerNET secure login information.
► It’s okay to say that you don’t know an answer or that the update does not address any concern - this is better than communicating information that you then have to rescind.
► Use preexisting forms of chapter communication (GroupMe, Facebook, email, Gin System, etc.) whenever possible to make the communication as seamless as possible.
► The chapter's executive board should continue to meet regularly via WebEx, Google Hangouts, or other video conferencing software. Chapters are encouraged to establish a set time that works around every officer's schedule and make sure everyone attends from week to week. Utilize other communication platforms in between video meetings.
► Chapters should continue to engage chapter advisors in day to day chapter operations. Include advisors in the WebEx of Google Hangout meetings with the rest of the executive board.
► Chapter presidents are encouraged to meet with each executive board officer to discuss a plan for completing position duties virtually for this semester while planning for upcoming semesters.
► If any chapter officers will transition during spring 2020, consider modifying transition documents or creating online transition documents for future officers. Contemplate hosting several virtual transition meetings themed to several aspects of chapter management (i.e. finances, marketing & communication, member engagement, etc.).CHAPTER MANAGEMENT
► Keep up to date with your national organization’s expectations of the chapter. These may be shifting rapidly, but be sure to keep your chapter in good standing.
► Consider hosting virtual chapter meetings throughout this time to have the chapter connect with each other. Remember we all joined our chapters for human connection. It is even more important during this time to continue to encourage positive connection through strong chapter meetings/programming.
► Should the chapter need to conduct a vote for business, consider compiling the information to be voted on and send it to all voting members prior to the vote being conducted. Give members ample time to review the information you are sending over, preferably longer than 48 - 72 hours. Your chapter constitution & bylaws might already have a "reading" or "reviewing" period before votes or constitutional amendments can take place. Make sure to review those and stick to those even throughout this virtual period. You should ratify these votes at your next in-person chapter meeting in the fall. If you need to hold chapter elections during this time and do not have an electronic voting method, you can set one up through Niner Engage.
► Recruitment/ Rush/ Intake are currently scheduled to occur in-person next semester. Chapters should continue to hold their planning meetings, virtually, to prepare for new members in fall of 2020. Use this time to clean up your processes and hone in on the skills necessary for your chapter to have a successful recruitment period. Consider using WebEx to host recruitment training programs with your chapter. Check out this LinkedIn Learning session to learn how to design great training programs.
► Update all chapter websites and social media platforms to reflect the current chapter life. Incoming students, prospective students, and family members are looking at your websites and social media platforms to understand whether or not they are interested in joining your organization. Most websites are outdated and present very little information to the prospective member. Consider giving visitors to your website a better idea of what your organization values. Check out this Linked In Learning session to learn top digital marketing skills.
► While major operations - like events and programs - have ceased, you can use this time for planning with your executive board or officer team for the fall semester. Start to lay the foundation for how you will engage the chapter within the first month of in-person instruction. You may have new members then, and they may have all experienced this virtual period in various ways. Think about how to engage all these various constituents when you are all back in person.
► Think about what are things you always wish you had time to do, but never have the time to do so during the semester. Organizing think tanks, working on transition documents, brainstorming bylaws revisions, and cleaning up chapter files are all things that can now be more feasible.
► This is a great time for you to research whether your inter/national organization has an awards process and consider applying for one or all of the awards. Even if you choose not to submit an application for an award, your chapter can learn a lot from reviewing what is considered a great chapter by the standard of your inter/national organization. This is also a great opportunity to start mapping out the programs that your chapter will do to meet the 14 Basic Requirements during the fall. Completing the 14 Basic Requirements will give you a strong foundation for meeting the criteria for national awards.
► Your council advisors continue to be available to assist with chapter needs and goals. Advisors will be reaching out to provide a schedule for virtual office hours via WebEx. In the meantime, please reach out to them to schedule a call or feel free to contact them during their open office hours.
► Work with your executive board and chapter advisor to sketch out a return plan and priority list when operations resume. Construct your plan to be a day by day format with specific tasks and deadlines rather than specific calendar dates to allow for flexibility while accomplishing the tasks. Looking for funds? Remember, SGA is still giving out grant money for events for the fall semester, including Gold Rush Events! Find more information here.
► Check out the Niner Notice Website for up-to-date information about campus services that are available, online resources, and even more ways to stay engaged during this virtual period.
► The health and wellness of the UNC Charlotte community is the Student Health Center's first priority. Services are available for acute care, by appointment only, from 8:30a.m.-5:00p.m. Monday through Friday. To schedule an appointment, please call 704-687-7400. The SHC Pharmacy is also open from 8:30a.m.-5:00p.m. Virtual options are now available for nutrition counselling by request.
► CAPS will continue to offer services virtually during this time via phone and Telehealth to students in North Carolina. If you are outside of North Carolina, CAPS can provide a phone consultation to assess for needs and can assist you in identifying and connecting to services in your area. CAPS will continue to provide telephone crisis support outside of normal office hours via 704-687-0311. They will also offer tips and tricks for maintaining well-being on their Instagram page at @UNCCCAPS.
► Maintain, to the best of your ability, a schedule during the day. Tune into online classes at a table, desk, or outside instead of your bed or a couch to help with concentration and information retention.
► The Jamil Niner Student Pantry remains committed to supplementing students' nutritional needs and preserving food access. To ensure the Pantry can serve as many students as safely as possible, the Pantry will be open from 2:00p.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for pick-up only. Students must complete the online form to select food choices and sign up for an appointment slot by 11:59pm the evening before pick-up.
►UREC wants you to find what moves you wherever you are. Staying physically active, practicing mindfulness or meditation, and spending time outdoors in nature are proven ways to stay healthy and happy. Follow UREC on Instagram at @UNCCUREC and on their YouTube page for daily challenges, workouts, and more.
► Down Dog is an app that provides yoga workouts at all levels. Down Dog is offering free access to workouts for students and teachers through July 1st when you sign up with your .edu email address.
► Our office provides monthly Advisor Newsletters that focus on hot topics, resources and updates specifcally for you! Want to check out the latest Advisor Newsletter? Want to subscribe to the Advisor Newsletters? Click HERE. These newsletters are free and open to any of your chapter advisors.
► Students may be feeling anxious, nervous, scared, lost, etc. it is the job of the advisor to be the steadying force for the chapters. This is a chance for all advisors to step in and be that calming force and to support the executive board teams to maintain a "sense of normal" as best advisors can for the students. The advisors should be reaching out to the executive boards to regularly check in and see how they can be helpful.
► Ensure that you have signed up to receive NinerNotices. You can sign up HERE. This website provides the most up to date information as it relates to COVID-19.
► Your council advisors continue to be available to assist with chapter/council needs and goals. Chapter advisors have scheduled virtual meetings and/or phone calls with chapter presidents and council exectutive boards. If you have any questions, concerns or just want to chat please reach out to council advisors to schedule a phone call or virtual meeting.MEETINGS ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS GROUP MEETINGS
► Facetime, Android Video Calling, Skype, Google Hangout are all great for one-on-one video calls.
► WebEx, a web and video conference meeting service, is availiable to all faculty, staff, and students. No matter where you are, hold meetings with one person or to up to 1,000! WebEx allows you to hold an one on one meetings, hold chapter meetings, dicscuss idead around virtual brotherhood and sisterhood events, or even hold executive board elections...there are lots of possibilities.
► To get started, log in to webex.uncc.edu and use your NinerNET username and password to activate your account.
► Please continue to monitor the Emergency Mangement website and your email for the latest information regarding on-campus residence hall announcements.
► We know many of you live with brothers or sisters, and are quarantining with one another. Check out the Disinfection Guidelines for Fraternity and Sorority Life to help you stay safe and healthy.
► Prior to returning to your off-campus apartment, please check to ensure they will be open. Many apartments will have certain requirements and expectations for you to move-out.
► We are pleased to share that a number of local businesses have reached out to offer their support during this challenging time. Check out the supporting local businesses