How Chi Phi Succeeded in an Entirely Virtual Rush

Like many other long-standing traditions, Penn State’s Fall Rush was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the school year started, Penn State declared that fall rush would be entirely virtual. In response to that declaration, many fraternities opted not to participate. The Alpha Delta Chapter, however, decided to embrace the challenge. Working together, the active members were able to quickly adapt to the virtual environment. Their efforts paid off.

The Alpha Delta Chapter of the Chi Phi Fraternity is proud to welcome 8 new members, the Rho Class, to the brotherhood. Under normal conditions, 8 new members is an impressive Fall Rush class considering that freshmen are no longer allowed to participate. In an entirely virtual environment, it is outstanding.

So how did we do it?

Chi Phi started off strong by creating a virtual tour of the Chapter House (click HERE to view or click the picture above). The video, produced by Brother Johnny Scarpelli, features the active brothers and various rooms in House. The video was viewed over 2,000 times and drove many rushes to the Chapter’s virtual rush events.

The first rush event was a Monday Night Football watch party, held via Zoom. The event kick started rush by enabling brothers to meet many of the potential new members. The brothers quickly realized that, counter-intuitively, the virtual events enabled more 1-on-1 conversation. The nature of the virtual environment eliminated distractions and fostered more thoughtful conversations that might not have been possible under normal conditions.

Building on the momentum of the first event, the Chapter hosted a virtual “Casino Night.” During this event, brothers and rushes were able to converse while playing online poker games like Texas Hold Em (with fake money).

To close out Fall Rush, the executive board of the Chapter hosted an invite-only virtual meeting with the rushes. For this event, each member of the executive board and each rush introduced themselves to the group and told a joke or funny story. The event was a great way for the rushes to feel what it would be like to be a part of the Chi Phi brotherhood. It turned out to be the favorite event of many brothers and rushes.

Soon after the event, the brothers extended bids to the rushes. Every rush accepted his bid. The Chapter’s 100% bid acceptance rate is a testament to its success in adapting the rush process to a virtual world.

The young men in the Rho Class are exceptionally outgoing and loyal. The integrity and friendship they bring will strengthen the Chapter’s brotherhood for years to come. We could not be more excited for the Rho Class to join the Chapter.


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