Programming may look a bit different this year. This page answers questions about mental health resources, division conferences, hybrid or virtual new member programs, Ritual or Rite of Iris ceremonies and tips on following local and CDC guidelines.

Q: What resources does the Fraternity have in regard to mental health of its members?

A: The Fraternity will continue to provide Talkspace for all Delt undergraduates. Talkspace makes it simple and convenient to connect with fully licensed, highly respected counselors via text, audio or video messages from your browser or smartphone—in the library, over the weekend or between classes. Undergraduate members have access to Talkspace for up to three consecutive months at no cost. Talkspace is completely optional and more importantly, 100 percent anonymous and secure. Visit Talkspace to learn how to access to this benefit of membership.

The Fraternity offers ULifeline for all of its members. The Delt ULifeline is an online resource center that provides members with information and resources regarding emotional and mental health issues, including a confidential mental health self-screening tool. All resources are free for individual and chapter use.

Staff and volunteers will also prioritize assisting members with identifying local community and campus resources they can access. Local leadership is encouraged to contact the host institution for available resources to provide chapter members. Chapters can contact its chapter support coordinator and colonies can contact its leadership consultant with questions about this resource.  

Q: How should a chapter conduct the new member ceremony, Rite of Iris, or the Ritual?

A: First always make sure to follow local guidance on how many people can meet in one place. These ordinances will dictate the number of people able to meet for each gathering.

Any chapters not able to meet in person or have new members from that need to be initiated and are not on campus should contact nick.yarbrough@delts.org

If a chapter is able to meet, but has limitations on gathering sizes, formal Fraternity ceremonies require no more than eleven people to perform. That number may be less depending on the ceremony.

Roles without formal speaking parts may not be necessary. If local guidance restricts gatherings larger than the respective ceremony, then the ceremony can be performed multiple times and done as many times as needed. For the new member ceremony and Rite of Iris a chapter could reserve multiple spaces and hold the ceremonies in smaller groups at the same time.

Consider whether ceremonial handshakes are appropriate or if descriptions in the ceremonies will suffice. Regardless, members should wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior and after each ceremony.

Because the blindfolds used in Fraternity ceremonies are symbolic, rather than utilizing blindfolds ask new members to close their eyes to minimize men touching their face.

Now we will need to perform full, in-person ceremonies this fall, at a time when many of our experienced ritualists have graduated. In some chapters, the majority of the brotherhood has not seen the full ceremony, or at best may have only seen it once. In response, the Fraternity is preparing regional, ritual boot camps to be held this fall. Watch for details coming soon. 

Q: How can a chapter provide a virtual or hybrid new member experience?

A: Let’s acknowledge a virtual or hybrid new member experience is not the option any of us would first choose. However, if your chapter has men looking for the Delt experience and he meets the qualifications of membership we should provide him the opportunity, even if it is in a unique setting.

Preparing new members to be initiated focuses on developing their knowledge, skill and commitment to Delta Tau Delta. DTAA and the Good Delt program are the starting points for building knowledge about the Fraternity, which they will still have access to. The new member meetings are then used to expand on those concepts and introduce information about the local chapter. In larger chapters, if the size of the new member class is larger than what local guidance allows, multiple new member meetings covering the same content can be held at the same time. If your chapter is virtual or hybrid, while again not ideal, these meetings can be conducted through a virtual platform.

Develop relationships between the new member class by having each of them paired with one other person and give them three discussion points to discuss between new member meetings. If the chapter is operating in a hybrid model, pair a person that is on campus with someone that is virtual.

A chapter’s big brother program could be even more important. Chapters may want to consider moving this earlier or assigning new members an “onboarding mentor” until they receive their big brother. This provides the individuals, someone they can ask questions to beyond their new member educator or class. Big brothers should contact their little brother on a weekly basis and new member educators should provide the big brothers one talking point to discuss each week.

The Fraternity will also be piloting new strategies for new member education with a few chapters this year. If your chapter is interested in receiving this additional support please reach out to Vice President of Membership doug.russell@delts.org.