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We know that many of our alumni Brothers have questions about how life at Pennsylvania Delta has changed given these uncertain times we’re living in. COVID-19 has changed the way we conduct our daily life, and the undergraduates are no exception. We reached out to Undergraduate President Janmiguel Gonzalez and asked him about what life as a SigEp at Penn is like nowadays.

 

Where are you originally from? How did you end up at Penn?  

I'm originally from Villa Clara, Cuba but I was raised in Miami, Florida since I moved to the United States in 2004. I chose Penn because of the deep history and prestige.  

Why did you decide to pledge at Penn? What drew you to the brotherhood?

I didn't decide that I wanted to join Penn Delta until I saw my future big (Ryan Furey '19) at a rush event in the spring. I met him at a political roundtable event during NSO my freshman fall and he made me feel welcome to Penn when I was questioning whether I belonged. Eventually he introduced me to more people in the brotherhood, and as I got to know them, I realized just how smart and kindhearted they all were. I respected the brotherhood because I knew that they are all good people with their heads in the right place. I knew I found a place at Penn.  

How long have you been involved with Sigma Phi Epsilon? What have you learned/gained from your involvement?

I joined my freshman spring in 2018. As VP of Communications and now President, I've learned how daunting it may seem to manage a large group of guys on a college campus, but also how rewarding it is when some of the brightest minds get together and do good things for our fraternity, and the community. I've gained knowledge and insights from my brothers that I otherwise may not have. I've been lost, and brothers have helped me find myself again. Overall, I gained true friends that I'll have for the rest of my life. 

What's your expected grad year from Penn? What are your area(s) of study?

I'll graduate in May 2021 with a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) and a minor in psychology.  

Are you involved in any extracurriculars? If so, could you tell us a little bit about your experiences? How are your extracurriculars changing in the coming school year, due to COVID-19?

I'm currently on the IFC board as VP of Recruitment and New Member Education and we've adjusted rather well, all things considered. We're making sure to provide the IFC chapters with enough virtual programming for a good fall rush season. It seems that in all my extracurriculars, everyone is just shifting the focus to virtual meetings and events.  

How does this fall’s rush process differ from past years? How has it altered to account for COVID-19? 

This semester we're relying heavily on our virtual recruitment efforts with a strong emphasis on the Balanced Man Scholarship compared to previous years. We see BMS as an opportunity for us to reach out to interested freshmen and grow our brotherhood despite COVID-19.  

Are there any events that you’ve had to cancel or alter due to the pandemic?

Our house is locked for the semester and almost all our programming is virtual, so we've had to change practically everything about how the chapter functions, emphasizing bro-d in order to maintain close brotherhood relations, and recruitment as a response to COVID-19 and the new sophomore housing rules that start next year. 

How is day-to-day life different this year from previous school years? What safety precautions are the brothers taking?  

I'm happy to say that there's a community of trust and respect regarding COVID-19. We stay below 10 people at any location where brothers are hanging out, we wear masks, and we're open and honest about any exposure. Naturally, we've emphasized the value of smaller programming events for the brotherhood. With no central location for brothers to hang out, we've kickstarted bro-d programming events with 6 person groups either going to a restaurant or cooking together, and have seen success so far. 

Do you have any post-grad plans at the moment?

Currently, my plans are to do marketing or brand strategy at a firm for several years and eventually pursue an MBA.