Due to a winter storm that struck the greater Tompkins area Saturday night, Cornell University’s Panhellenic Council and Interfraternity Council had to make changes to their recruitment timelines, including pushing timelines back a week.
Students participating in the rush process have to walk from house to house during recruitment rounds. Many current Greek sorority members either drive or walk to their houses, which posed another risk for recruitment during last weekend’s heavy snowfall.
Maya Cutforth ’20, incoming president of the Panhel — which oversees social sororities on campus — said that all sorority chapters delayed recruitment, pushing recruitment activities scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 20 to Saturday, Jan. 26.
“[Last Sunday] was supposed to be our final round of recruitment, which is called preference,” Cutforth said. The council made the choice to push the events to “ensure that everyone is safe and that no one is too cold.”
Bid Night, a celebratory event for sororities in which potential new members find out which houses have given them a bid, was originally scheduled for Monday, Jan. 21. It has been moved to Sunday, Jan. 27.
Incoming Interfraternity Council president Cristian Gonzalez ’20 said that his fraternity Pi Kappa Phi decided to move one of its contact times from Saturday evening to Sunday afternoon in order to “avoid the crazier parts of the storm.”
The “contact” period of Greek fraternity recruitment involves current chapter brothers visiting potential new members in their residence halls at a designated time, according to Gonzalez.
Despite the date changes, the recruitment daytime schedule will remain the same, as will the number of rounds students will go through.
Sachi Rai ’21, a potential new member this year, found both the weather conditions and the decision to postpone recruitment unfavorable.
“If they had held it and made me walk around in the cold, I would have been upset. But because they moved it, I have to stress about it for an extra week while avoiding girls in sororities,” Rai told The Sun.
Chapters can be fined and face repercussions if current members and potential new members have any contact during rush. Because PHC guidelines restrict discussion, Rai felt that the decision to postpone recruitment affected her social interactions throughout the week since classes have started.
“I think it’s weird and uncomfortable,” she said. “For example, today in class, I sat next to a girl who is in a house I’m rushing. I felt like I had to control what I said around her.”
Cutforth said that the chapters were flexible and adapted quickly to ensure that no one was unsafe during this recruitment season after putting in a lot of time to plan recruitment.
“We are very grateful to the individual chapters’ leadership in how amazing and resilient they are being through this process,” she said. “Everyone has been really great about safety being the first priority.”