COVID-19

Chapter & House Corporation Guidance

The Fraternity is monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on our campus communities, prompting our host-institutions to alter their operations. This includes canceling in-person classes, limiting large gatherings and other steps which effectively close their campuses.  

Phi Gamma Delta is committed to supporting its members, chapters and house corporations as they work to adapt. Below you will find updates and key information for all members to consider. 

Current CDC Guidance

 International Headquarters Operations

  • The International Headquarters is closed in compliance with orders by the Governor of Kentucky
  • Staff members are working remotely and available to assist you during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm ET). You can reach any staff member via email or phone at 859-255-1848 (listen for prompts or press * for a directory).
  • We apologize for unavoidable delays in responding to mailed correspondence, sending mailed correspondence and shipping items from the International Headquarters.
  • Staff travel, including in-person Field Secretary visits, has been suspended. Field Secretaries and Chapter Services staff will conduct virtual visits and coaching for our chapters and colonies through the remainder of the spring.

 Undergraduate Chapter Operations

The decision to cancel or postpone any chapter event should be made by the Chapter Officers in consultation with your Purple Legionnaire, BCA and campus Fraternity/Sorority Life Advisor. Chapters should follow and consider all campus-provided guidelines. 

Please contact your Field Secretary or any member of the Headquarters staff with questions or concerns about potential long-term impacts on operations.

Chapter Meetings

  • Follow the recommendations made by your educational institution on regular gatherings for all registered student organizations. This includes canceling or postponing chapter meetings where instructed.
  • If your school recommends canceling all in-person meetings/gatherings, consult with your Purple Legionnaire, BCA and Field Secretary on how to conduct necessary chapter business remotely. The Fraternity can provide access to remote video conference software (contact your Field Secretary for details). We also recommend reading this article that highlights the best way to engage remote meetings.

Chapter Support/Staff Visits

  • Your Field Secretary should be your first point of contact for any questions. The Fraternity is adjusting staff schedules and travel to accommodate increased support for our chapters.
  • Field Secretary visits: Based on campus closure, your Field Secretary will be in contact with you to work through any potential changes. This could include continuing with a planned visit if students are on campus, rescheduling/canceling an in-person visit or conducting a virtual visit via Zoom.

New Member Education/Initiation

  • Many chapters are in the middle of your new member education process. We ask that you please review your New Member Education Facilitators Guide and: 
    • Identify any opportunity for remote learning for new member meetings that would traditionally take place in-person, please reach out to your Field Secretary to discuss running remote meetings or gaining access to our remote video conference software. 
    • Limit events where large numbers of members and guests might gather. 
  • If your institution moves to online learning for the remainder of the semester, consult with your Purple Legionnaire, BCA and Field Secretary on how to best keep your new members engaged. Please be sure to notify your Field Secretary so that the Headquarters staff can adjust expectations accordingly.
  • The Chapter is still required to report all new members at phigam.org/NewMemberReg and any initiations that have occurred on the roster at phigam.org. If the Chapter cannot conduct initiation this semester due to cancelled classes, the Chapter is expected to conduct and report the initiation at the earliest feasible date.

Recruitment

  • Most chapters are likely to have completed their spring recruitment at this point. However, the Chapter must ensure that those men are reported.
  • Consult with your campus advisor and Field Secretary regarding considerations for any remaining recruitment activities and/or summer plans.

Chapter Programming & Events

  • Follow the recommendations made by your educational institution regarding large gatherings and events for student organizations.
  • Keep in mind current guidance to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people and avoiding discretionary travel. This guidance extends past formal chapter activities to informal gatherings as well.
  • If your school recommends canceling all in-person meetings/gatherings, Chapter-sponsored events such as social events, brotherhood events, and philanthropy events should be considered non-essential.
  • Consult with your Purple Legionnaire and BCA regarding any existing contracts for space and events. Contracts should be reviewed by the booking party to review any “act of god” clause or otherwise to mitigate cost. Contact the appropriate staff member for additional guidance.

Educational Programs

  • Follow the recommendations made by your educational institution on regular gatherings for all registered student organizations.
  • If your school recommends canceling all in-person meetings/gathers, please reach out to Andrew Depew to discuss having the program facilitated remotely or canceling the program. If the Chapter is scheduled to conduct a non-Fraternity in-person program, reach out to the facilitator to discuss options.
  • GreekLifeEdu for new members is still required. If you are having difficulty with new members completing the course, please contact Andrew Depew.

Chapter Finances

  • Dues: Whether you are affected by a campus closure or not, dues collection should continue as planned. Chapter Treasurers should consult with your Purple Legionnaire and BCA if you need to consider prorating dues because of a campus closure, but make sure you are collecting enough to cover any fixed expenses.
  • Billing: Payments to the International Fraternity, including the liability insurance assessment, continue to be owed as planned. The Fraternity will work with chapters and colonies impacted by campus closures. Contact Amy Watson if you have any questions. 

International Awards

  • The Annual Awards applications are due April 16, 2020. Contact Bryan Hartzell if your campus closure impacts your ability to collaborate on your awards packet.

Alcohol-Free Housing Exemption Application

  • The deadline to submit the Alcohol-Free Housing Exemption application is still April 1. Contact Todd Rotgers if your campus closure impacts your ability to complete the educational program requirements.

 Pig Dinners & Similar Events

Many chapters plan to host their Pig Dinners and other graduate-focused events in the coming weeks. As you consider how to best proceed, we suggest the following:

  • Current guidance suggests avoiding gatherings of 10 or more people and avoiding discretionary travel to help limit the spread of coronavirus. With that in mind, we strongly encourage canceling or postponing near-term events and continuing to follow all directives from state/local authorities in the coming weeks.
  • The decision to continue or cancel/postpone a Pig Dinner should be made by the key organizers. If organized by the Chapter, be sure to consult with your Purple Legionnaire, BCA, campus Fraternity/Sorority Life professional and/or Headquarters staff.
  • Chapters should adhere to all guidelines provided by the host institution and be prepared to cancel or postpone the event if necessary or directed to do so.
  • Review all contracts for reserved spaces to review any “act of god” clauses and, if need be, plan to develop steps to otherwise mitigate costs.
  • If the chapter is considering canceling the upcoming event, please consider the following:
    • Consider rescheduling rather than canceling the event outright. Some venues / providers may be willing to waive or reduce cancellation fees if rescheduled.
    • The organizer’s decision should stand final. 
    • Communicate updates to your graduate network and appropriate staff member as soon as possible.

Contact Dio Protopapadakis with specific concerns and questions.

 House Corporations

We understand that house corporations will have questions and concerns about the potential spread of Coronavirus and best handling an unexpected closure of the facility. We suggest that you consider the following:

  • Follow all guidance provided by the CDC, state/province/local authorities and/or the college or university. If you have not already, we suggest that a member of the house corporation contact the college/university regarding recommendations specific to the campus.
  • Encourage members of the chapter to review the everyday preventive actions recommended by the CDC to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases.
  • In the case a member living in, or an employee working in, the housing facility is feeling ill, or is diagnosed with COVID-19, alert local officials and follow their recommendations.
  • Individuals should not be quarantined in a chapter house, nor would it be allowed if there was a known case of the coronavirus. Local authorities will be in the best position to provide guidance as to where members should/could be quarantined.
  • Should the coronavirus be present in any facility, the facility needs to be properly decontaminated prior to approved re-entry.
  • Review all contracts and contact your vendors (food service, cleaning, etc.) to understand your obligations and with any concerns or questions regarding scheduling impacts due to COVID-19.
  • Some providers, such as preferred partner Upper Crust, are proactively reaching out with information and guidance. If you've not received similar communication, contact your representative.

If the campus has taken steps to remove students from campus, contact campus officials for clarification and/or direction regarding chapter house facilities. We suggest that all chapters and house corporations follow the directions provided by host institutions.

  • House Corporation officers are responsible for making the decision to close a chapter facility in consultation with the chapter and campus.
  • Determine with campus officials if it is appropriate for students to remain in the facility if classes are cancelled or moved to online platforms. Also determine housing options for students who are not able to return home.
  • If closing the house, work to ensure the safety and security of the facility, referencing seasonal reminders for housing security.
  • If necessary, work to provide students the opportunity to retrieve personal property before returning home.
  • Review rental agreements/contracts and begin to develop a plan for collections and vendors in the event of a long-term closure.
  • Review any relevant or related insurance coverages.
  • Prior to reopening the property, ensure proper cleaning and regular opening procedures.

Contact Rob Caudill with specific concerns and questions.

 Upcoming Fraternity Events

Currently, all summer International Fraternity events are planned to continue as scheduled. The Fraternity staff will continue to monitor the situation and determine any additional action at the appropriate time. Below are updates regarding specific upcoming events. 

  • The Summit is scheduled for June 26-28 in Lexington, Kentucky. The registration fee is not billed to the Chapter until after the event. If you are interested in attending, please apply! The Fraternity does not plan to make a decision about the event until the event is closer. If you were planning on flying to The Summit, given the uncertainty of future developments, it may be wise to delay buying airline tickets. For more information, please visit the Summit event page.
  • The Leadership Institute is scheduled for July 8-12 in Wilmore, Kentucky. The registration, lodging and travel is free to the attendee. If you are interested in attending, apply! The Fraternity will not book travel until the event gets closer, so there is still plenty of time for us to make a decision on the event. For more information about the program, please visit the Institute event page.
  • Ekklesia is scheduled for August 6-9 in Phoenix, Arizona. We have not yet decided to cancel or significantly alter the planned Ekklesia. We hope to make a decision regarding the Ekklesia by late May. The staff will continue to evaluate alternative options to handle necessary Fraternity business if the Ekklesia is cancelled or significantly modified. For more information, please visit the Ekklesia event page.

Contact Todd Rotgers with specific concerns and questions.

 Volunteer Travel

  • Effective March 20, the Fraternity is temporarily suspending volunteer travel and travel reimbursement. This includes, but is not limited to, Section Chief visits, travel to Pig Dinners and other events, and purchasing travel for the 172nd Ekklesia.
  • We fully encourage and ask Purple Legionnaires to remain connected to their chapters and chapter officers through virtual means – Skype, Zoom, telephone, email, text, etc. Likewise, we ask Section Chiefs to continue to support their chapters, advisors and House Corporations through similar means.
 

Virtual Town Halls

Town Hall for Officers & Advisors:
Navigating the COVID-19 Crisis
March 23, 2020
 
Town Hall for House Corporations:
Navigating the COVID-19 Crisis
March 25, 2020
 

Taking Care of Yourself & Your Community

 Be Your Brother's Keeper

In times of uncertainty and recommended social distancing, it is more important now than ever to stay connected, check in on one another and foster the sense of belonging.

  • Keep Regular Contact with Close Friends: Post updates in your GroupMe, Snap group, group text. Play online video games or gamepigeon text games.
  • Reach Out to Those Outside Your Close Circle: Be intentional about asking how your brothers are really doing.
  • Use Video When Possible: Utilize FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, etc. instead of only calls or texts. It’s the next best thing to actual human interaction.
  • Ask the Tough Questions: Dive below the surface – ask how your brothers are handling any loneliness, anxiety or any emotions through this time. Encourage brothers to seek help if needed.
  • Have Meaningful Conversations: Here a few links to help with this: How To Make Close Friendships and How To Connect Deeply Quickly (the title says romantic relationships, but these questions also work for friendships).

 Mental Health Tips

Times of uncertainty and stress can be overwhelming. Consider these tips and resources to help you and others cope with anxiety and stress.

  1. Stay Informed with reliable sources, such as the CDC.
  2. Preserve Daily Routines as much as possible.
  3. Take a Break from social media and news; do not overexpose yourself to too much information.
  4. Maintain a Healthy Diet, engage in regular Exercise and get enough Sleep.
  5. Take advantage of Outdoor Activities while still maintaining Social Distancing.
  6. Do NOT Isolate! Connect with other through appropriate Social Distancing or Virtual Opportunities.
  7. Practice Gratitude and focus on the Positive. Where your attention goes, your energy flows. 

More Mental Health Resources:

 Help Your Community

While many chapters' in-person philanthropy events and community service projects have been canceled, the need for community service and support is greater than ever. We encourage our brothers and chapters to consider new ways to make a positive impact in your local community. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Donate Blood: The Red Cross is urging healthy Americans to donate blood to prevent a shortage during the coronavirus scare. Organize your brothers to donate and encourage others if they are able. To make an appointment to donate blood, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2726).
  • Become a Virtual Advocate: Advocate for service organizations like Donate Life and The USO on your social media and encourage donation from friends and family.
  • Be My Eyes: This app connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers through a live video call: www.bemyeyes.com.
  • Help with Local Food Distributors: Organizations like Meals on Wheels help deliver meals to senior citizens. You can donate or volunteer here: www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org Check with similar local community organizations like food banks or churches that may have special programs like this.
  • United Way: Check in with your local United Way.
 


This is a rapidly evolving situation. The Fraternity will continue to monitor developments and provide updated guidance. Contact us with questions.