Make a decision – Prepare for an event that may determine the nature of your entire college career or spend the day participating in a national effort of community service and improvement. Unfortunately, many freshman girls may be facing such a situation.
A scheduling conflict that was first realized in May is now swiftly approaching: both sorority recruitment and the University-sponsored Freshman Day of Service will take place on this Friday. While sororities have made it a priority to accommodate freshmen interested in attending both, the entire conflict could have been managed more effectively by all parties involved.
Close to a year ago, the Panhellenic Association set their recruitment dates for this upcoming weekend, and in the spring of this year, officials from both Panhel and the University became aware of a major scheduling conflict. The day of service – a national effort that, for some, includes painting and coincides with the anniversary of Sept. 11 – was planned to take place on the same day as sorority recruitment. According to schedules for the two events, freshman girls who participate in the day of service have only 30 minutes to prepare for the evening.
All stereotypes aside, for an event as important to a college career as sorority recruitment, a girl could use more than half an hour to return to her dorm, get dressed and get to the Marvin Center. Based on the time frame, it would be easy to conclude that attending both events is not an option – a thought some freshmen have expressed.
While the two events have little time in between, it is extremely important that freshman girls know it is possible to participate in both events. Panhel has made it very clear to the recruitment counselors that accommodations need to be made for freshmen coming from the Day of Service. They have also made it clear that coming to recruitment directly from volunteering will not be penalized in any way. While these efforts are applaudable, it is still a game of catch-up that could have been avoided by more effective coordination.
We understand that Panhel was in a difficult situation – finding a suitable time for recruitment between Labor Day weekend and the Jewish holidays that follow shortly is not easy. At the same time, the University made an obligation to the nationally promoted Day of Service. A solution to this conflict called for more creativity and collaboration, but because this did not happen, both events will suffer.
The Day of Service has been a big initiative for President Knapp, who could have been more effective in resolving the issue. He has the pull and access to University resources to ensure that neither event loses participation to the other. Whether by rescheduling service events for earlier times, providing additional buses for freshman girls to return early, or even working with the Marvin Center to allow sororities to utilize the building for a longer period of time, more could have been done publicly to resolve the conflict.
Even without such high-level involvement, we still feel a better solution could have been found. The Office of Community Service and Panhel could both have been less rigid in their planning. It is hard to imagine that pushing either event an hour earlier or later would have been a substantial problem.
Although we feel this issue could have been dealt with in a more effective way, it seems Panhel is serious about accommodating attendees of both events. While it may be inconvenient, we highly encourage girls who are interested in service and sisterhood to do both on Friday.