Our fraternity chapters across the US experience different crises, and each exists in a different campus environment. But in the current COVID-19 pandemic, everyone has similar questions, fears, and concerns. Here are specific instructions for our chapters at this time, as well as direction for how to continue to receive updates as the situation changes.
First, Follow Campus Instructions
Many universities have already cancelled in-person classes and group activities. All chapters should comply with the directives of the school first and foremost, as the university will know what is appropriate for your state and locality. All of the Alpha Kappa Psi headquarters staff, as well as our network of volunteers, are available to help chapter leaders brainstorm and organize their compliance with those instructions. Chapter meetings and events are important, but not more important than health and public safety.
Fraternity Events During Online-Only Classes
If and when your campus makes the decision to switch to online classes or take other public safety measures, the first step for an Alpha Kappa Psi chapter is to email CERC@akpsi.org for support. From hurricanes, to earthquakes, to forest fires and beyond, we have supported each other through it all and will continue to do so.
Chapter meetings and chapter continuing education through our bridge program can all be joined virtually. Pledge meetings and pledge education can also be conducted online if this is accessible to all who need to attend. We even trust our pledges and pledge educators to report the results of fraternal exams that may need to happen during this virtual time. After all, if we can’t rely on the honor system, what would be the strength of our brotherhood? Lastly, any midterm or end-of-semester meetings that need to occur between the Chapter and Nationals can easily be conducted via Zoom.
Any electives scheduled for your chapter during this period should be cancelled, NOT postponed. First, it is unclear when your campus will resume activities, so you don’t want to have to conduct a whole semester worth of pledge activities in a few weeks. This will be especially true if the rest of the academic workload is ramping up, too. Chapter education electives can be completed next semester after the new members have been initiated.
Alpha Kappa Psi Initiation During COVID-19
At this time, we are providing chapters with the flexibility to suspend the 5-week pledge period and move up initiation to a date they deem appropriate. This is permitted with the expectation that the educational portion of the pledge period will be completed at a later time. We highly recommend that all chapters move up initiation to allow the opportunity for new members to join during the current semester.
We advise making revisions to the initiation process that are in line with the current best practices from the Center for Disease Control. These may include, but should not be limited to:
Demonstrate the Fraternity grip without shaking hands
Limit attendance to only the Ritual team and new initiates
Conduct multiple ceremonies for smaller groups to control group size
Please use your best judgment and discretion in ensuring the ceremony is safe for everyone involved. This applies to all other chapter activities as well. Our Board of Directors is in close communication with each other and our peer organizations to collaborate and apply the best practices in this evolving situation.
For frequent updates, please continue to log in to the MyAKPsi Community. Our top priority during this time is the safety and health of our members, pledges, and the greater campus communities that sustain their development. The Management Team and HC Staff are prepared to support collegiate chapter leaders in whatever ways needed to mitigate the mental, emotional, and physical strains caused by the COVID-19 issue.