FSL COVID Plan - University of Houston
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FSL COVID Plan

Message from the Director

Good day everyone! Starting in March 2020, the Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life began to navigate through the possibility of an increasingly virtual fall semester. This included multiple critical conversations with our talented CFSL team around how we continue to deliver a high-quality fraternity/sorority experience in an increasingly virtual environment. This ‘one-stop shop’ attempts to be a central clearinghouse for many of the questions that you may have regarding how to meet, communicate, recruit, educate, and socialize within the context of the UH fraternity/sorority community.

We understand that this period of uncertainty has brought many questions; we also understand that many of your questions may be more specific and granular in nature. While we may not be able to provide a complete answer to every question in the moment, our team is working diligently to bring as much clarity as possible to a successful fall semester, whether that finds you learning in-person or learning from a distance. If you discover you have a question that has not been addressed here, please email cfsl@uh.edu to out that question on the radar of our CFSL team for clarification.

We appreciate your continued patience and support as we work to enhance the fraternity/sorority experience here at UH both in-person and from a distance.

Go Coogs,

Jason Bergeron
Director, Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life

Chapter Programs, Meetings, and Events

**It is important that chapters consult with their governing council before any planned events, as their governing council may provide guidance to their member chapters that may be more specific and/or rigid than the guidelines outlined in this resource.

Programs/Meetings/Events in the Student Center:

Chapter Meetings: It is highly recommended that chapters host larger chapter meetings (10+ members) in a virtual format. Chapters and councils may host in-person meetings following the University of Houston’s social/physical distancing guidelines and in cooperation with room capacities as identified by the Facility Manager. This includes required social/physical distancing, required face covers, and strict adherence to room capacities.

  • Chapters with a membership of 10+ members should host their chapter meetings in multiple rotating rounds to limit the amount of gathering/clustering of members.
  • Chapters hosting in-person meetings within the Student Center must work with their appropriate ‘Chapter Coach’ to ensure the appropriate precautions have been applied.
Chapter Programs/Events: It is highly recommended that chapters not host in-person events throughout the Fall 2020 semester. However, if absolutely critical to organizational sustainability, chapters and councils may host in-person meetings following the University of Houston’s social/physical distancing guidelines and in cooperation with room capacities as identified by the Facility Manager.

Chapters unable to effectively host programs/meetings/events within the Student Center under the aforementioned guidelines may lose their ability to host chapter programs/events/meetings for the remainder of the Fall semester, and both organizations and individuals may be cited for violations of the Student Code of Conduct.

Programs/Meetings/Events outside of the Student Center:

Programs/Meetings/Events in Academic Spaces: Chapters/councils will be unable to reserve space for programs/meetings/events in classroom spaces and other academic spaces for the Fall 2020 semester.

Programs/Meetings/Events in Outdoor Areas: Chapters/councils may reserve space to host small gatherings of 10 or less in outdoor spaces. The University of Houston’s social/physical distancing guidelines applies in these outdoor gathering spaces as well.

Membership Intake (NPHC, MGC, and UGC)

Registering Membership Intake for the Fall 2020 semester.

Chapters who have continued/completed new member education throughout the Spring/Summer but have yet to initiate:

It is recommended that chapters continue their member education program in a virtual format if they are able. If you are continuing member education virtually into the fall semester, please adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Continue education virtually through a platform such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, etc. Complete as much as you are able to without in-person meetings.
  • If presenting members formally through a new member/neophyte presentation, the 10 business day timeline between initiation and presentation still applies. Members must be presented digitally (if a summer initiation) no later than 10 business days after initiation.
  • If new member education is completed over the Spring/Summer, chapters waiting for a Fall initiation must initiate by no later than August 31, 2020, with a presentation date of no later than September 15, 2020 (10 business days after initiation deadline).
  • Chapters unable to do so will need to present those members in a virtual/digital format. Please reference CFSL’s ‘A Virtual New Member Presentation Guide’ resource for tips on how to present your new members/neophytes virtually/digitally.

Chapters who paused new member education from the Spring and intend to resume in the fall:

While it is important to stay connected through new member education, we understand some groups were unable to do so or do not have the resources at their disposal to deliver education in a virtual format. Chapters halting new member education should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Continue education as soon as they are able, whether virtual (recommended) or in-person (while adhering to all university COVID-19 guidelines).
  • If chapters are able to make multiple arrangements so that new members are completing the required in-person rituals, they are encouraged to do so under strict COVID-19 guidelines.
  • Chapters should complete education and initiate members by September 30, 2020, with a formal presentation date (if applicable) by October 14, 2020 (10 business days after initiation deadline).
  • Chapters unable to do so will need to present those members in a virtual/digital format.

Chapters who are beginning membership intake for the Fall 2020 semester:

Chapters planning on taking in members should follow the same reporting process outline in our ‘Membership Intake Policies’ section on our CFSL website. The same reporting guidelines should be followed as in previous semesters. Virtual intake education is highly recommended. Chapters wishing to host any in-person education sessions must consult with their respective chapter coach prior to submission of any intake reporting within the Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life to explore if appropriate distancing and face-covering can occur under the proposed.

New Member Presentations:

Chapters must formally present their new members to the campus community no later than 10 business days after the members are formally initiated. While this guidance is broad in nature, chapters should consult their governing council for guidance that may be stricter than the guidance provided here. Chapters may choose one of the following methods for their new member presentation:

  • Fully virtual/digital (recommended): Chapters are recommend to present members in a video and/or social media format on chapter social media platforms. Members being presented virtually should be identifiable by both name and face. Virtual/digital presentations must be posted no later than 10 business days after formal initiation.
  • Livestream: Chapters wishing to present live with no public/private audience may do so following the University of Houston’s social/physical distancing guidelines and in cooperation with room capacities as identified by the Facility Manager. Presentations done in this format would need to adhere to the new member presentation registration guidelines outlined in the New Member/Neophyte Presentation Policy.
  • In-Person with Audience: While not recommended, chapters may wish to host a traditional new member presentation. These events must comply with stated capacities as identified by the Facility Manager, must be operated under strict social/physical distancing and face covering guidelines following the University of Houston’s requirements, and must be invite only operating under a specific guest/invite list. Presentations done in this format would need to adhere to the new member presentation registration guidelines outlined in the New Member/Neophyte Presentation Policy.

Interfraternity Council Recruitment

Fall 2020 Recruitment Guidelines

In order to promote the health of our members, the Council’s Executive Board has adopted the following policies for the 2020 fall recruitment period.

Formal Recruitment

  1. IFC Formal Recruitment will be conducted online in its entirety.
  2. Students interested in participating in fraternity recruitment may register online.
  3. At this time the recruitment calendar stands as follows:
    1. Beginning of Chapter Recruitment Events – August 24th
    2. Open House – September 3rd (5:00 – 8:30 PM)
    3. Open House – September 8th (5:00 – 8:30 PM)
    4. Open House – September 15th (5:00 – 8:30 PM)
    5. Start of Virtual Bid Distribution – September 16th (5:00 PM)
    6. Bid List Due – September 20th (5:00 PM)
    7. PNM Bid Acceptance – September 20th (5:00 PM) – September 23rd (5:00 PM)
  4. In lieu of our previously scheduled Open House, a similar event will be carried out where each chapter will have the opportunity to give a presentation with more insight on their chapter to all eligible Potential New Members (PNMs).
    1. Chapters will be required to attend this event.
    2. This event will also serve as a round-table for PNMs to interact with each chapter more and ask any questions regarding IFC Recruitment.
  5. All North-American Interfraternity Conference, Interfraternity Council, and Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life policies will be followed as outlined by the Council’s Constitution and Bylaws.
  6. Chapter Presidents and Recruitment Chairs must attend a workshop to familiarize themselves with the recruitment structures set by the VP of Recruitment and VP of Standards
  7. An incident report form will be made available to all Presidents and on the council’s website for anyone to report a chapter’s activity that can be in violation of these guidelines.

Recruitment Events

The following guidance has been provided to all Interfraternity Council chapters regarding chapter recruitment events.

  1. No in-person recruitment events will be held by IFC chapters for the Fall 2020 semester. All chapter recruitment events will be fully virtual.
  2. Events such as, but not limited to: Bid Day, Big/Little Reveal, New Member Reveal, etc. must be fully virtual and cannot be conducted in person.

Houston Panhellenic Council Recruitment

Due to COVID-19 and the high risk it presents to potential new members, the Houston Panhellenic Council has decided to make decisions about the communities' formal recruitment process.

The Houston Panhellenic Council wants to make sure we are taking all the precautions we believe will be the best to keep everyone safe. The Houston Panhellenic Council would like to formally announce that the 2020 Formal Recruitment process will be held in an entirely virtual format. This decision was made with guidance from NPC to guarantee the safety of our Potential New Members, Chapter Members, Alumna, Advisors, Faculty, and Staff.

As a council, we will continue to work together with the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life (CFSL), National Panhellenic Council (NPC), and Panhellenic chapters and advisors to outline the intricacies of a virtual recruitment process to chapters and Potential New Members.

We will ensure that the University of Houston's Panhellenic Recruitment process will adhere to all federal, state, local, and University guidelines. We greatly value the recruitment experience and will work endlessly to ensure the same experience will be provided in a virtual format.

We are devoted to serving our community to the best of our ability. If you have any questions about the virtual recruitment process, please email VP Recruitment, Katie Blake, or Assistant VP, Hannah Felske if you have any questions or concerns.

Houston Panhellenic Council Recruitment Plan

  • Orientation (must attend a minimum of 1)
    • Wednesday, September 9th 6-8PM via Zoom
    • Thursday, September 10th 6-8PM via Zoom
    • Saturday, September 12th 6-8PM via Zoom
    • Tuesday, September 15th 6-8PM via Zoom
  • Sisterhood
    • Thursday, September 17th and Friday, September 18th, 2020 via Zoom
  • Philanthropy
    • Saturday, September 19th, 2020 via Zoom
  • Preference
    • Sunday, September 20th, 2020 via Zoom
  • Bid Day
    • Monday, September 21st, 2020 via Zoom

Additional Information for Potential New Members

  • Social Media/Email
    • The council uses its Instagram/Email communication as a primary source for the dissemination of recruitment information, tips, updates. Please ensure to check your email & follow the council's page at @uhpanhellenic for all applicable updates for the Fall 2020 recruitment process.
  • Panhellenic Picnic
    • September 11th 4-7PM via Zoom
      • Panhellenic Picnic is an opportunity for PNMs to get their first taste of the recruitment experience. They will able to interact with chapters in a practical manner. It is suggested that a PNM participate in this if they wish to gain a feel on what the virtual recruitment experience will look/feel.
  • Orientation (must attend a minimum of 1)
    • Wednesday, September 9th 6-8PM via Zoom
    • Thursday, September 10th 6-8PM via Zoom
    • Saturday, September 12th 6-8PM via Zoom
    • Tuesday, September 15th 6-8PM via Zoom
      • Potential New Member (PNM) Orientation will occur virtually through Zoom. Content will be released throughout the remainder of the summer & start of the school year for PNMs to attend an orientation of their choosing. PNM’s are only required to attend one orientation session but may participate in others if they choose. PNMs that register for recruitment will be added to a GroupMe with their assigned Recruitment Counselors. Their Recruitment Counselor will engage with the PNM throughout the summer and through recruitment to answer questions and develop relationships with PNMs.
  • Sisterhood
    • Thursday, September 17th and Friday, September 18th, 2020 via Zoom
      • Sisterhood Round will be conducted virtually. PNM’s will be sent information on how to set-up their zoom accounts & logistical outlines as the start of recruitment approaches. During this round, each PNM will have the opportunity to talk to multiple chapter women from every chapter. The PNM must attend every zoom event for every chapter during this round to persist to future recruitment rounds.
  • Philanthropy
    • Saturday, September 19th, 2020 via Zoom
      • Philanthropy Round will be conducted virtually. During this round, each PNM will have the opportunity to talk to multiple chapter women the chapters they are invited to attend. The PNM must attend every zoom event for every chapter during this round in order to persist to future recruitment rounds.
  • Preference
    • Sunday, September 20th, 2020 via Zoom
      • Preference Round will be conducted virtually. During this round, each PNM will have the opportunity to talk to multiple chapter women the chapters they are invited to attend. The PNM must attend every zoom event for every chapter during this round in order to persist to future recruitment rounds.
  • Bid Day
    • Monday, September 21st, 2020 via Zoom
      • The Houston Panhellenic Council will host the Bid Day Celebration in a virtual format
      • All member organizations will have a virtual bid day celebration available to all students. However, depending on the organization, there may be an in-person bid-day celebration available for a potential new member to participate in. All in-person Bid day celebrations will adhere to federal, city, county, and university social distancing guidelines.

Considerations for Virtual Events

  • Virtual Considerations
    • Zoom:
      • Zoom will be the central platform the Houston Panhellenic Council will utilize for all recruitment efforts
      • All member organizations & Council will be utilizing all necessary security/safety measures to ensure only approved PNM’s are attending each event.
      • Closed Captioning will be turned on for every event
      • Any virtual recruitment accommodations, a PNM may need to be successful in the virtual recruitment process, should be annotated within the PNM recruitment application
      • the virtual recruitment process, should be annotated within the PNM recruitment application
    • Each chapter will host a Zoom event for each day. PNMs will receive the link to their scheduled events through Campus Director.

Considerations for In-Person Events

  • The Houston Panhellenic Council will not be hosting any in-person recruitment events. All recruitment events will be held within a virtual format, including Continuous Open Bidding Recruitment Events (COB)

Fraternity/Sorority Housing in Bayou Oaks

Capacities in Bayou Oaks Townhomes

In accordance with the university’s social distancing standard of one individual per 40 sq. ft., chapters must keep a maximum capacity of 20 people or less within the first floor including the chapter room, adjoining study, and kitchen/foyer areas.

Physical Distancing within Townhouses

Additionally, students must wear face coverings while in their townhouse and adhere to the appropriate physical distancing guidelines of 6 ft. between people as set by the university. Please make sure that this physical distancing is applied throughout the townhouses and that clustering is prohibited.

Registered Events in Bayou Oaks

Under normal conditions, chapters who reside in Bayou Oaks are able to register social events with alcohol under the Bayou Oaks Townhouse Event Policy, philanthropy events, and other events that are social or educational in nature.

For the Fall 2020 semester, no social events within the townhouses will be permitted. Therefore, the university will not be registering any social events with alcohol, philanthropy events, or other large-scale programs to be hosted within the Bayou Oaks townhomes. Additionally, the university will not be registering any buses to pull up on Bayou Oaks property with the purposes of transporting students to off-campus venues.

Chapters wishing to host small in-person gatherings (chapter meetings, committee meetings, etc.) under the university’s social distancing guidelines and under the capacity of 20 people at one time should work with Javon Miller, Fraternity/Sorority Housing Coordinator, to inform the university and to ensure proper COVID protocols are being followed. Javon can be reached at jfmiller4@uh.edu.

Registered Events in Outdoor Bayou Oaks Spaces

As an outdoor space, gatherings in ‘the pit’ may not exceed the current Texas state guidance of 10 people. If under 10 people, chapters can register these gatherings with the Bayou Oaks office.

Social Events outside of Bayou Oaks

Again, chapters are encouraged to follow the current guidance provided by the state of Texas, limiting social gatherings to 10 people or less. It is important to connect with your governing council about any additional guidance/directive they have set around social events for the Fall semester.

Conclusion

Thank you for your attention to the details communicated within the plan. We encourage you to continue to reference this website throughout the Fall 2020 semester as changes in our university environment, the city, state, and nation may warrant changes to our COVID-19 response. It is our hope that, while certainly different than anticipated, that we are able to continue to deliver a tier-one fraternity/sorority experience. If you continue to have questions about this plan, please email cfsl@uh.edu so that your questions can be recorded and answered.