STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia Southern fraternity and sorority life councils voted last week to suspend all social events and in-person meetings through Oct. 1 in response to COVID-19.
Organizational meetings will be held virtually. Before the start of classes, all recruitment events were also held virtually.
In the first week of classes, from Aug. 17 to Aug. 23, the university reported 71 confirmed cases of COVID-19 between its Statesboro and Armstrong campuses. No cases were reported on the Liberty campus.
Between Aug. 24 to Aug. 30, Georgia Southern reported 129 confirmed cases and a total of 379 self-reported cases. There are still no cases reported on the Liberty campus.
Georgia Southern says the decision was made “out of an abundance of caution to keep the university community safe.”
“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.”
Georgia Southern says university leadership supports the decision, especially after seeing other college towns attract “unwanted attention” and have to change operations following large off-campus gatherings.
“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.”
Little says that 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.”