Lehigh’s move to remote learning for the semester came just one week after the month-long pause on Greek life was lifted, which puts Greek chapters on hiatus once again.
Current and new Greek life members have already paid their financial dues for the spring semester. New member education programs and initiations, and all other on-campus activities, however, have no choice but to be postponed until the fall semester.
This leaves members wondering of the purpose of their financial contributions to their chapters, with no events or activities to plan or fund. Different chapters are dealing with the issue with different policies.
Grace Kim, ’21, is Alpha Gamma Delta’s vice president of finance. She said she talks to her adviser often about how the chapter plans to deal with dues this semester. She has also been working with their international headquarters and fraternity housing corporation to figure out the best way to refund members.
“Lehigh just sent an email about how they’re going to refund students for meal points and housing — I assume we’re going to do something similar,” said Kim. “I’m still not 100 percent sure what we’re going to do, but we’re looking toward refunding members the best that we can.”
Brian Buzgo, ’22, serves as Delta Upsilon’s vice president of finance. He said the chapter still has to turn in mandatory dues to the national fraternity organization. If they don’t, he is going to have to completely turn the issue over to nationals.
Buzgo said he does not want to threaten this possibility to his fraternity members, but that he needs to make sure the outstanding dues are paid.
“It’s just going to be very difficult,” Buzgo said. “I know there’s going to be a lot of pushback because the guys who haven’t paid dues yet are the ones that usually don’t pay dues on time, and now they have way less incentive to pay.”
Buzgo has been working closely with his alumni adviser, and it appears that no refunds will be issued to chapter members for the spring semester.
He said he thinks there should be some reimbursement. He doesn’t think his chapter will use the amount of funds that they would have if they were operating fully.
It would be hard to work out how much to actually refund people, Buzgo said. He has yet to develop a complete plan to send out to chapter members.
Kimberly Markowitz, ‘23, a new member of Alpha Phi, said their nationals are not issuing refunds to members.
“I’m going to try to fight it and talk to nationals because I don’t think that we should be paying that much for something that we had for one week,” Markowitz said. “We maybe went to chapter at the house two times, and we’re paying almost $1,500. It’s kind of ridiculous. We definitely should be refunded.”
Kim said she is trying her best to remind her chapter that this issue is not being forgotten about.
Markowitz said the current situation is confusing for her and the other new members, but explained that their chapter is doing its best to stay in contact with the new members, and make sure all of their questions are answered.
Markowitz said the most disappointing part about losing time on campus is not getting to bond with her chapter. She said she was looking forward to a change in routine and meeting new people during the spring semester.
“When we joined Greek life, I met so many new people, and it was so exciting — I could feel that things were going to change, and everyone was so much more open to meeting different people,” Markowitz said. “I was very excited for the change and to experience a whole different side of the school — and we never got that.”
Delta Upsilon also had a comprehensive plan set up for their new member education, but the introduction of remote learning is a large obstacle for their program. Buzgo said the chapter is working on possibly using Zoom to still do some things they had planned for the semester.
“Not being on campus for the rest of this semester is definitely going to affect our relationship with the new members,” Buzgo said. “But we’ll get through it. We’ll figure it out.”