O∆K to Allow Virtual Initiation Ceremonies
Omicron Delta Kappa is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 situation. We are receiving information about the impact of this international health crisis on the campuses where we have circles.
First and foremost, we are concerned about the health and safety of our members, prospective members, families, friends, and colleagues. We urge all circles and our members to serve as leaders in this time of concern by following campus directives and being circumspect in communications about this national concern.
Many campuses are reducing in-person classes for unspecified periods, restricting large gatherings, and closing all non-essential functions These actions clearly have an impact on circle operations, including initiation ceremonies. To help ease concern over recruitment and initiation and to maintain continuity of the circle, O∆K is providing three options if your circle must change its initiation plans:
Option 1. Reschedule the in-person initiation ceremony to later in the semester. We will work with your circle to meet the new deadlines. If we have already issued the official emblems of membership (certificates and pins), the original initiation date will stand as the “official” initiation date, so there will be no need to change materials. The rescheduled in-person ceremony should occur before June 30, 2020.
Option 2. If rescheduling an in-person ceremony is not possible for this year, plan a virtual ceremony. Since campuses are holding classes virtually, we believe a similar process could be used for a virtual initiation ceremony. The process for conducting a virtual ceremony is outlined below.
[Recorded ceremonies are on the OΔK YouTube Channel]
The O∆K National Bylaws and the Policies and Procedures Handbook require that all members must attend a ceremony to receive the emblems of members (certificate and pin) and sign the official circle record book. A virtual ceremony allows the circle to conduct the program via a web-video platform (WebEx, Zoom, Google Meet, etc.) where all candidates may participate in the ceremony without being in the same physical location. The following guidelines and restrictions apply:
- All candidates for initiation must be accounted for at the time of the ceremony. The circle officers must provide a “sign-in” record. This list can be through a secure login to the video meeting, a roll call of all candidates on the video call, a Google sheet sign-in, or another way to verify that the individuals initiated were present at the time of the ceremony.
- The circle will conduct the initiation ritual as established in the Initiation Handbook. If necessary, the program may be abbreviated to eliminate officer inductions and special remarks. An abbreviated program includes a brief introduction, review of the history and symbols, and the initiation ceremony with the voices (which may be solely read by the presiding officer) and the oath.
- After the ceremony, all members who attend should be instructed to come to a central office (circle coordinator, student activities office, etc.) where the individuals may collect their certificate and pin. It is also very important that each new initiate sign the official record book. For the national records, the “sign-in record” and official record books should match once all emblems are distributed.
NOTE: One suggestion would be to have an officer write all names of initiates attending the virtual ceremony in the official record book as a roll call at the time of the program. When the initiates come to collect their emblems, they would sign by their name in the record, thus ensuring all attendees sign the book.
Option 3. Our Society will, in the most extreme circumstances, consider allowing circles to initiate members without an in-person or virtual ceremony. If your circle cannot reschedule or hold a virtual ceremony, O∆K will consider, for this semester only, a one-time exception to the requirement that all members attend the initiation ceremony. If this applies to your circle, contact Timothy Reed, vice president for membership and operations, [email protected] or (540) 458-5345, as soon as possible to discuss the process.
It is vitally important that circles maintain continuity with officers and circle operations. By completing the initiation process for this year and electing new officers for next year, your circle will be ready for the coming academic year that will have its own special needs. The recognition and development of leaders are even more important in this modern era. We encourage you to continue supporting your circle, its current and new members, and its legacy on your campus.
Option 4. National Virtual Initiation Ceremony
We have planned for two National Virtual Initiation Ceremonies.
Tuesday, April 28, 7:00 p.m. Eastern
Thursday, May 14, 7:00 p.m. Eastern
Complete information is now available on the National Virtual Initiation Ceremony webpage.
If you need assistance or have any questions about recruitment and initiation, contact the National Headquarters (877) 635-6437, (540) 458-5336, [email protected]