Updated Jan. 5 at 3:30 p.m.
Panhellenic formal recruitment, which was scheduled to begin Jan. 6, will now begin Jan. 13 due to flight cancellations and airport closures caused by inclement weather on the East Coast. Over 250 Panhellenic women and 100 potential new members informed the Greek life office that they would not be able to arrive back to Nashville until Jan. 8, representatives from the Office of Greek Life told recruitment chairs from each chapter on a conference call Jan. 4.
After discussing potential complications of both postponing and continuing on with recruitment as planned, those on the call concluded that they could not extend courtesy invites for the second weekend of recruitment to all of the women whose travel plans were impacted, making the schedule change necessary.
“Making this kind of a decision was not one that was made lightly. We considered all of options and implications of the move, knowing that this will have a significant impact on the campus community and on individual members,” said Director of Greek Life Kristin Torrey. “This kind of change will require grace and flexibility by everyone, but student safety had to be the priority. In addition, having a recruitment process that did not allow nearly 100 potential new members the opportunity to participate in the first two rounds of recruitment did not align with the goals of the process.”
Each of the two weekends of recruitment were pushed back by one week. PNMs were notified of the change via email Jan. 4.
“Due to the unprecedented inclement weather on the East coast, making it nearly impossible to return to Nashville safely due to flight cancellations and airport closures, the Panhellenic Council and the Office of Greek Life has decided to reschedule formal recruitment to January 13 -14 & 19-21 with the Pre-Recruitment Meeting taking place on January 12, 2018,” Assistant Director of Greek Life Katrina Crawford wrote in the email. “More information will be provided in the next few days. Please travel safely to Nashville. We will see you next week.”
Panhellenic women were also made aware of the change Jan. 4, although many had already returned to campus to prepare for the first weekend of formal recruitment. The schedule change caused complications, as chapter officers must change bid day venue reservations and many need to adjust initiation dates due to national rules that require a certain period of time between bid day and initiation. Additionally, because each sorority moves their house furniture into storage and rents out furniture to use for recruitment, they must extend those reservations as well, said Ryan Hanson, Panhellenic President.
“While there are many logistical challenges associated with moving such a large scale event, we have been able to secure reservations for the most critical spaces to host recruitment with the help of the Reservations & Events staff,” Torrey said. “Chapter recruitment teams have been working to move the Bid Day venues to accommodate the change.”
The Office of Greek Life has already contacted the bus company that provides transportation to bid day venues, and is currently working with other campus partners to accommodate changes in campus room rentals for meetings and for PNMs to fill out preference cards.
“Recruitment should function in the exact same manner that it has in the past, just pushed back a week,” Hanson said. “It has certainly been a lot for our chapters, Executive Board, and Office to deal with, but it all seems to be working out in the best interests of our PNMs and members who are having trouble getting to campus, which was our goal.”
Campus Editor Samantha Zern contributed to this report.