COVID-19 Resources

Main Content

It is very clear to us 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 no strangers 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. To this end, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs has worked to gather all COVID-19 related information in one place. This includes chapter resources, ideas for virtual engagement, university communications, FSA communications, and information for parents. We hope that these resources included here will help you maintain a strong sense of belonging, connection, and passion as you navigate a virtual fraternity and sorority experience.

For additional information the University’s Response and plans regarding COVID-19 please visit covid19.illinois.edu.

FSA has also put together an online dropbox with resources such as all FSA email communications dating back to March 2020, email communications from University leadership such as the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, and President regarding COVID-19, and other resources for chapter leaders to help with engagement and growth.

Resources

As this crisis evolves, we will continue to update this page with additional updates, information, and resources.

Chapter Officers

  • The chapter's executive board should continue to meet regularly via Zoom 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 Zoom meetings with the rest of the executive board.
  • Consider what other stakeholders should be Invited to conversations (I.e.: house corps presidents, HQ contacts, etc.)
  • 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 fall 2020, consider modifying transition documents or creating 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 all of us joined our chapters for human connection. It is even more important in 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 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, contact your chapter advisor for assistance.
  • 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.

Planning

  • As we prepare to return to the campus for fall, you and your executive board or officer team should begin to lay the foundation for how you will engage the chapter within the first month of hybrid 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 some of you are back in person and others are online.
  • 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.
  • Your council advisors and FSA liaison continue to be available to assist with chapter needs and goals. Should you need assistance, please reach out to them to schedule a Zoom call or feel free to contact them during their open office hours. Learn who your FSA Liaison (pdf) is.
  • 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.

Communication Software

  • Work with your advisor(s), headquarters or regional team, council advisor, and/or chapter liaison when appropriate to ensure that official updates and communication are vetted and appropriate. Be sure advisors are included on all communication. They 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 for 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.
  • If you want to create graphically stimulating content, Canva.com or even Gimp.org feature free graphic design software with templates to create your next masterpiece to share through social media. If you would like to pick up a new skill or do not know where to start when considering best practices in communication check out LinkedIn Learning.
  • Through the University of Illinois, all students have access to a pro-level Zoom account, which does not have time limits for meetings and allows up to 300 people to be on a call. To access, log on through the Illinois Zoom website. You can also access this directly through Zoom. To access, click “log in with SSO” on the Zoom website, and type in “Illinois” for the website. It will redirect you to log in with your Illinois credentials (Netid and password). With “zoom bombing” becoming a challenge during virtual meetings, the following tips should help keep your meeting secure:
  • Make sure to use your Illinois Zoom account for the meeting and ask all participants to do so as well.
  • Assign a co-host during the meeting to manage the waiting room feature and who can remove outside participants, if necessary.
  • Use the registration feature for the meeting – there are both automatic and manual invitation options.
  • More tips can be found on the ITS website.

Communication Practices

  • 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 incorrect information that you then have to rescind.
  • Use preexisting forms of chapter communication (GroupMe, Facebook, email, Omega One, etc.) whenever possible to make the communication as seamless as possible.

Meetings

  • One-On-One Meetings
  • Facetime, Android Video Calling, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout are all great for one-on-one video calls.

Group Meetings

  • Through the University of Illinois, all students have access to a pro-level Zoom account, which does not have time limits for meetings and allows up to 300 people to be on a call. To access, click “log in with SSO” on the Zoom website, and type in “Illinois” for the website. It will redirect you to log in with your Illinois credentials. You may also visit illinois.zoom.us/.
  • With “zoom bombing” becoming a challenge during virtual meetings, the following tips should help keep your meeting secure.
    • Make sure to use your University of Illinois Zoom account for the meeting, and ask all participants to do so as well.
    • Assign a co-host during the meeting to manage the waiting room feature and who can remove outside participants, if necessary.
    • Use the registration feature for the meeting – there are both automatic and manual invitation options.
    • More tips can be found on the ITS website

Member Engagement

  • Consider how to adapt the ways your members connect to the current circumstances. For instance, you could hold Zoom 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. Phired Up Productions has created a great resource that highlights 44 ways to foster brotherhood/sisterhood virtually (pdf).
  • If you have a brotherhood/sisterhood/retention chair or committee, you can utilize them to check in on groups of members in the coming weeks. Consider hosting small virtual get-togethers especially as members return to campus. 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. Check out resources in our online box folder for ideas.
  • If you are reminiscing on times spend studying with fellow members, consider hosting virtual study sessions or have a standing open Zoom 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 this semester, think about how you can intentionally reach out to them during this time. Excitement is often high after someone first joins, and you don’t want them to feel lost. Get them engaged with some virtual committees early on. See if there are any of them that want to continue to lead engagement for their new member class 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 at this time. You may also refer them to the Student Assistance Center.
  • Check out the COVID-19 Health and Wellness Resources for up-to-date information about campus services that are available online and even more ways to stay engaged during this virtual period.
  • The health and wellness of the Illinois community is McKinley Health Center's first priority. Services are available for acute care and via telehealth. Visit McKinley's New Student Welcome page for more information about available services, including speaking to a nurse, Telehealth, refilling medications, and some specific types of testing.
  • The Illinois Counseling Center will continue to offer services virtually during this time via Zoom, as well as, around the clock crisis, telephone support via (217) 333-3704.
  • Headspace is a great app that is offering some fantastic resources throughout this period of COVID-19.
  • 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 Resources for Daily Living remains available to provide information on access for students' nutritional needs and preserving food access.
  • Campus Recreation 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. Visit their Virtual Programming for online activities.

Resources

  • Your 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 Illini Alert messages by cellphone by texting “IlliniAlert” to 226787. Visit covid19.illinois.edu for the most up to date information as it relates to CODIV-19.
  • Your council advisors and FSA liaison continue to be available to assist with chapter needs and goals. Should you need assistance, please reach out to them to schedule a Zoom call or feel free to contact them during their open office hours. Learn who your FSA Liaison (pdf).

Meetings

  • One-On-One Meetings
    • Facetime, Android Video Calling, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout are all great for one-on-one video calls.
  • Group Meetings
    • Through the University of Illinois, all students have access to a pro-level Zoom account, which does not have time limits for meetings and allows up to 300 people to be on a call. Advisors are able to create a free Zoom account to be able to access meetings by visiting zoom.us and setting up an account.

University of Illinois Certified Housing

  • Certified Housing Standards document, dates & deadlines, Reciprocal Agreement, forms and other resources
  • There is a folder in this Box folder that include printable COVID safety signage for use in your facility.

National Fraternity/Sorority Housing COVID Resources

  • CSL Management
    Find resources and information about food service, chapter house operations, cleaning resources, employer resources, past webinar recordings and much more!
  • Alpha Fraternity Management
    Recordings of COVID-19 Webinars hosted by Alpha Fraternity Management.
  • Holmes Murphy (Insurance)
    The Holmes Murphy COVID-19 Resource Center provides insurance industry news, fraternity/sorority housing specific insurance related articles and webinar recordings.
  • James R. Favor & Company (Insurance)
    James R. Favor & Company COVID-19 Resource Guide includes detailed resources and instructions for individual members, chapters and house corporations. This guidance is based on advice tailored for the fraternity and sorority community’s unique needs. Includes links to products and other resources for chapters and house corporations.
  • MJ Insurance Sorority Division
    MJ’s COVID-19 Response page includes resources in many categories including employment, insurance coverage and financial considerations and webinars and virtual offerings.
  • Pennington & Company
    Blog articles, webinar recordings and other fundraising resources for house corporations.
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