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Sorority recruitment kicks off

The start of the spring semester marks the time for new professors, new classes and, of course, new greeks.

Sorority recruitment kicked off Saturday, when 404 freshmen and sophomores-nine less than last year-returned to campus early from winter break to participate in the process.

This marks the second year that sororities have returned for the first stages of recruitment before the start of spring classes.

Last year's process involved some difficulties. Although the problem of unaffiliated students moving back into dorms early in spite of University policy against it recurred this year, officials took steps to resolve a dilemma from last year's recruitment: the number of dining options available to students returning early.

During last year's recruitment, only four food vendors opened to accommodate the potential sisters and their sorority hosts. Alpine Atrium nearly ran out of food, and some students reported going a day without eating.

This past weekend, five additional vendors that normally would not have begun serving until Monday opened to the returning undergraduate women.

The dining changes were instituted in response to an uproar of complaints over last year's policy, explained Jim Wulforst, director of dining services.

This year he said he made sure that there were more options open, including Alpine Bagels, Armadillo Grill and the new Nasher Museum Cafe.

"I'm glad we opened. We've done a good job. Nobody's told us of any problems," Wulforst said, although he noted that Marketplace dinner Sunday was attended by less than 100 students.

Students said lines for dinner at campus eateries Tuesday night were nonetheless very long.

Another change for recruitment this year was the addition of buses that ran the East-West route for the sororities' theme parties Sunday.

Last year, some girls-many in high heels-were forced to walk the 1.2 miles from East to West campus for the sorority parties because there is no regular scheduled bus service on weekends during winter break.

Senior Esther Houseman, vice president of recruitment for the Panhellenic Association, maintained that the changes to the recruitment process have had a positive impact on the event.

Panhel also added a "hospitality room" in the lobby of the Women's Center where girls can relax if they do not have a party to go to, she said.

"In years past we haven't had a central location for girls to stop by in. That was a lot easier than last year," Houseman said.

Overall, the weekend's events were enhanced because of improved communication between Panhel and dining services, transportation services and the Women's Center, Houseman noted.

"I think it's all gone very smoothly," she said.

But the weekend was not all fun and games for unaffiliated students who tried to return to campus early when the dorms opened for sororities.

Some unaffiliated students said they were threatened with arrest when they tried to return over the weekend, and Houseman added that Residence Life and Housing Services considered those students trespassers.

Houseman said Panhel officials tried to stress to each sorority chapter that any non-members would have to wait until Monday to move back.

"We let them know that they're the only ones who are supposed to move back in, don't tell your friends that you can get them in the dorm early," she said.

Eddie Hull, dean of residence life and executive director of housing services, was unavailable for comment.