Sorority recruitment works around weather-related travel delays
For the more than 300 students who underwent formal recruitment last week, the stress began before arriving at the University.
The storm that blanketed the eastern U.S. with more than a foot of snow disrupted air traffic nationally, raising significant difficulties for students attempting to return early to the University.
According to Lucy Morlan, coordinator of student involvement and leadership for the Greek Life Office (GLO) and adviser to the Women’s Panhellenic Association, the snow only prevented three of 344 students from going through the formal recruitment process, and delays weren’t significant.
“I think there were only two who were delayed; they just started in the next round. Some of them were just delayed in the morning, but they didn’t have to miss any events for it,” Morlan said. “Overall, everything went really, really well.”
Freshman Amanda Whalen was one of the students unable to attend formal recruitment. She spent her week in Chattanooga, Tenn., where all flights were canceled for the entire week.
“Delta decided that since it was such a small airport, and there was snow and no plows, just to cancel all their flights indefinitely,” Whalen said. “By the time they moved the flight to Thursday, I decided that since I’d completely missed rush, I would just drive up over the weekend.”
Whalen says that her Gamma Chis—sorority members who help freshmen through the recruitment process—did their best to help her, but ultimately there was little that they could offer.
“I called my Gamma Chi because I was going to try to buy a new plane ticket with a different airline, but the earliest thing I could get was Wednesday morning. She said I could come but [that I] would definitely be at a disadvantage,” Whalen said. “I just decided not to bother.”
Although she did not attend any part of formal recruitment, Whalen was unable to get her $90 fee back from the GLO.
“They didn’t say anything about refunding me,” Whalen said. “But I understand if they won’t because it’s mostly for food and stuff which they’d already have gotten.”
Several students who went through the formal recruitment process noted that the Gamma Chis did an effective job of making the process smoother, even as some pledges arrived later in the week because of flight delays.
“I was texting my Gamma Chis the whole time at the airport,” freshman Neha Mukunda said. “They were so nice; they told me they’d figure something out, and it would be fine if I came late.” Mukunda’s flight from Newark, N.J. on Jan. 10 was canceled because the plane couldn’t arrive from Atlanta.
Mukunda was able to get onto another flight as a standby passenger. Although she arrived in St. Louis after the week’s events began at 5 p.m., she still made the end of the introductory dinner and was able to participate in the rest of formal recruitment.
“Some girls who came late did all seven [sororities] in one day, instead of three one day and then four the next. They were really accommodating; they never told any girl that she couldn’t rush just because she came in late,” Mukunda said. “I don’t think anyone had any serious problems making it.”