Feelings of deprivation and misfortune flooded Oklahoma State’s Greek Row as the annual homecoming celebration came to a halt.
The Gamma Phi Beta sorority house is one of several experiencing the rippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues on without a definitive end. Homecoming 2020, which would have featured a special centennial celebration, has been pushed to 2021.
“It’s been an overall depressing experience,” said Lexie Austin, a freshman member of Gamma Phi Beta. “Homecoming is all you hear about before coming to OSU, now I feel as if I am being robbed of a memorable freshman experience.”
The frustration doesn’t just rest within the freshman class. Homecoming directors and public relations officials are all experiencing the repercussions of a global health crisis. As rush week unfolded, so did the distress of bad news regarding the cancellation of an event cherished by many.
“The news was brought to my attention toward the middle of rush week,” said Haley Jones, Gamma Phi Beta's homecoming director. “As I was checking my email during my typical morning routine, I came across the cancellation letter which left me feeling empty.”
As the annual homecoming celebration gets shelved until 2021, Stillwater has to cope with the fact that there will be no students, family, or faculty parading in the streets in awe of the country’s largest collegiate homecoming gathering.
Fraternities and sororities take pride in their artistic homecoming contribution by delivering several months of challenging work, which in turn molds work ethic and allows students to form life-long connections that can further them toward success in the future.
“It’s a great opportunity to get more involved in OSU, to meet new people, and to challenge myself and my chapter to do something great,” Jones said.
However, the focus of Greek Row shifts toward alternate ways to maintain perspective on still delivering an optimistic 2020 school year.
The outlook and expectations for this year have been drastically altered for everyone on Oklahoma State’s campus. Academics and building stronger relationships among is now a focus due to the sudden restrictions set in a time centered around hardship and misfortune.
“I’ve seen the cohesiveness of the girls consistently increasing at a pace faster than several years in the past,” said Lindsey McSparrin, Gamma Phi Beta's public relations vice president. “Our girls have really come together and made the most of the situation."