The recent COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our world drastically: vacations canceled, remote classes, virtual chapter meetings, and so much more. Change is daunting, and it scares me like almost nothing else. It might be selfish, but I’m so mad at all the opportunities this pandemic has taken from me. Like many other leaders within chapters, my term just began this semester, and before I had the opportunity to create positive improvements, we were all sent home and dispersed across the country.
As part of the Executive Council of my chapter, I quickly realized the important role my position has in this pandemic. Normally, I am rather hands-off in my leadership style, however, when the pandemic hit, I became an integral part of inspiring connection during this extremely disconnected time. While it would be easy to throw in the towel, I saw this as an opportunity to be creative and rediscover the strengths of our sisterhood, and I immediately took it. How is it possible to feel the love and connection of sisterhood during this time of being so socially (and physically) distanced? And, how is it possible to lead the effort?
It's Your Time to Shine
You DON’T have to be a member of your chapter’s Executive Council or E-Board to be a leader through these scary times! It can be daunting sometimes to assume a leadership role, especially during times of uncertainty. However, anyone can take charge during this time to ensure their sisters feel connected. If you have a creative and unique idea to inspire connection, go for it! Whether it be hosting an online workout class, creating online karaoke, or even just setting up a Zoom meeting to hang out for forty minutes, your sisters will appreciate being given an opportunity to connect and feel your love and presence again. This is a great time to rediscover the glue that holds your sisterhood together. Maybe you’re all connected through personal experiences or values. Then you can create a social media campaign showing off what makes your sisterhood so special.
Personalization, Personality, and Positivity
It’s important for your sisters to feel valued and remembered during this time of distancing. Acknowledging the impact this separation could be having on my sisters, I encouraged my Executive Council to reach out personally to each of our chapter members. We all want to feel loved and appreciated for surviving all of the changes that are surrounding us day by day, and it’s important for our friends and sisters to know that we’re here supporting them every step along the way. However, the most important thing to remember during this time is to keep your info and communication with your sisters fresh! Make sure to ask them about class and their family instead of solely talking about this crazy coronavirus pandemic; it can get boring when your conversations only surround one topic. Keeping a positive perspective can influence your sisters to look optimistic on our current situation, and it also encourages both of you to enjoy your time together.
Connection, Connection, Connection
This is the perfect opportunity to create connections with your sisters on new social media platforms. Whether it is creating a Facebook group, adding multiple sisters to a Pinterest board, creating Tik Tok dances, or even connecting virtually over Zoom. The secret to curating a strong, successful sisterhood during this time is connection. It may seem repetitive to have multiple accounts and areas to connect online, but in this time of physical distancing, these are the ways to keep your interactions new and interesting. I know I’m not the only one who dreads logging onto the same platform for class every day. Eventually, these different virtual platforms become overused and, quite frankly, boring. By having connections set up on multiple platforms, you are able to switch up the types of events and have a variety of sisters join and engage in the activity or conversation. Plus, who doesn’t love a good Tik Tok dance?
When in Doubt, Always Reach Out
This is one crazy time we’re all living through, and it’s important for individuals to know that they have someone to turn to. Even if you’re unsure how to create connections for the entire sisterhood, it is just as important to create a connection with one other person. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you’re thinking about! In fact, I haven’t come across one person who hasn’t been thrilled to receive a text or phone call to just chat and check-in. Even a simple text asking how someone’s classes are going or how they are handling living at home can mean a lot to someone. One of the most important steps to building a connection is just being unafraid to reach out. Everyone is handling quarantine in a different way and receiving a quick text can be that one good thing that happens to them that day.
Lastly, remember the mental toll this pandemic is taking on your friends and sisters. This is the perfect time for us to show our families, friends, sisters, and the world a little more love. Our own selves and our sisters will come out of this so much stronger if they are reminded about how much they are loved. Being separated from my campus, routine, and my best friends has been so hard to adjust to, but the thought of being reunited with my sisters soon helps me to keep my head up. Remember the influence you have, and the leadership you can display, through this time, and never forget to show your sisters some love!
Xx, Nichole Mitchell
Valparaiso University, Pi Beta Phi