Operating Virtually In The Center Of A Pandemic

Brotherhood does not stop in the toughest times. Phi Sigma Kappa always has, and always will, persist through wars, economic depressions, and now, a global pandemic. With life on campus coming to a physical stop, universities moved to online operations. Our brothers had to learn not only how to navigate online classes, but how to operate their chapters from a distance. This is especially difficult for two of our chapters in the epicenter of the pandemic, the Iota Chapter at Stevens Institute of Technology, and the Pi Tetarton Chapter at LIU/Post. 

Chapter Presidents Matthew Cohen (LIU/Post ‘22) and Devin Dragon (Stevens ‘20) worked diligently at the beginning of the pandemic to set their chapters up for success. The first thing on their minds was making sure the brothers were healthy, both mentally and physically. 

“We just hope that everybody is really safe and healthy at this time,” Cohen said. “I reach out to everybody once a week individually, just to make sure they are doing OK,” Dragon added.

The two chapters still have business to attend to during the remainder of the semester, so they have familiarized themselves with the video calling service, Zoom. Each of them have at least one Zoom call every two weeks with all brothers in attendance. Both Devin and Matt hold frequent Executive Board meetings to outline what needs to be done in the week ahead. 

The Iota Chapter scheduled elections for the end of the semester, and they plan to follow through with that plan. 

“We are going to have our nominations period as normal,” Dragon said. “I have broken elections up into two weeks. So everyone knows ahead of time what date their election is going to be on. It’s going to be similar to how we run it at the house. After speeches, they are going to have to leave the chat so we can talk about each candidate over Zoom. We are going to make polls in Zoom. We are going to do anonymous votes through Zoom.”

Even while conducting business, both brothers leave time for undergraduates to relax, catch up with each other, and joke around. “We are going to have a couple more hangouts but nothing too serious until we get to the end of the semester,” Dragon said. “Mainly, we have just been staying in touch over Zoom. We also have an open Zoom room that anyone can go to at any time if they want to hang out. It’s just an open link that we shared with the chapter.”

“We need to take this time to work on brotherhood and build on our relationships,” Cohen added. “It’s just simple things like reaching out to your brothers. I know from my perspective, I love it when people reach out to me. It makes you feel a little special.”

For now, our brothers remain apart physically. But Iota and Pi Tetarton are prime examples of brotherhood continuing through these trying times.