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DECISIONS
Women take on K-State's sorority recruitment week

Lidia Ragland hadn’t been at K-State more than a week, and she was already pacing around a basketball court thinking over decisions that would affect her entire college career.

Ragland, a freshman from Prairie Village, was going through K-State’s sorority recruitment week, and as part of that process, she and almost 700 other women were touring and learning about K-State’s 11 Panhellenic sororities.

At K-State, though, the sororities’ formal recruitment process relies on mutual selection, which means that just as the sororities pick women who best exemplify their stated values, the women themselves rank the sororities based on their conversations and experiences during the week.

Piper Coen, director of external recruitment for the Panhellenic Council, said not all universities recruit this way, but at K-State, they’ve found success with mutual selection.

“We make sure that women go to chapters that want them to be there,” Coen said. “The women go to chapters and base their opinions on the conversations and connections they have on items like philanthropy and community service. They also do sisterhood days and house tours so they can see every aspect of a chapter throughout the week, and they can figure out the best way they can fit in.”

Despite much of the inevitable chaos that goes on when managing hundreds of mostly freshmen, the coordination behind planning bus transportation routes, activities and itineraries for 700 people is a logistics feat that takes months of preparation, Coen said. This year, the council had to rent out buses from Kansas City instead of locally since the Manhattan-Ogden school district started earlier.

The women started their week with open houses and general tours of all of the sororities, but as the days went on, both the sororities and the recruits ranked each other daily, and by the end of the week, each was left with a narrower preference list. The week was set to culminate Friday evening when sororities present their chosen recruits with bids, or invitations to join the sororities.

With Friday on their minds, the week can be stressful for the women.

“The hardest part is when someone finds out when they come back the next day and not as many chapters invited them back as they might’ve expected,” Coen said. “And it’s really hard to explain to a potential new member why they didn’t get invited back to a certain chapter.”

For that reason, the sororities provide recruitment guides, members who act like counselors, mothers and even comedic relief to put the recruits at ease. But to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest, these recruitment guides “disaffiliate” from their chapters, scrubbing every connection to their actual sorority. Some even go as far as changing their names on social media.

Senior Madison Wilkins said she came back as a recruitment guide for a second year because she enjoys watching the potential new members become passionate about their sororities. She said her goal is to make each of the recruits as comfortable as possible.

“There’s a lot of unknown, and I think it’s hard for anybody to grasp that,” Wilkins said. “They may not necessarily know how sororities and Panhellenic work, and we’re asking them to talk to all of these people they’ve never met before, so there’s just a lot of nerves.”

On Thursday of recruitment week, Ragland still hadn’t made her final preferences, but she was getting close. She grew up with a big family, so she wanted to be in a sorority to start off her college career with a big support system.

“It’s been challenging to find who you click with in each house,” Ragland said. “It can be hard to judge an entire house based on just two conversations, but I feel like you sometimes just have to go with your gut. I’ve been looking for somewhere I can be comfortable and unapologetically myself.”


Crime
RCPD investigates threats from MHS students

Police are investigating threats made by Manhattan High School West campus students on Snapchat, according to a Riley County Police Department report Thursday.

A parent reported the incident Wednesday morning after seeing a video on Snapchat, a texting and video messaging app, showing a 15-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl holding what appeared to be a gun while making threatening statements.

RCPD Capt. Josh Kyle said the students did not directly name anyone in the video but preliminary investigation indicates the video was directed at two other students, who are 15- and 17-year-old boys.

“The video was aggressive and menacing but non-specific,” Kyle said. “There are facts and circumstances that indicated the video was intended for the individuals listed in the (police report).”

RCPD typically doesn’t provide the names of minors who haven’t been arrested.

The video did not include any threats toward Manhattan High School. USD 383 officials assisted RCPD with the investigation and all parties, including parents, were contacted.

Kyle said police have not arrested anyone in connection with the incident, but preventative measures have been taken with the individuals involved.

RCPD has not increased its police presence at the school in response to the incident.


Nickolas Oatley / Staff photo by Nickolas Oatley  

From left, Mayor Mike Dodson, Dale Morris, government affairs senior consultant with American Airlines, and Rich Jankovich, chair of the Airport Board, cut a cake Friday commemorating the 10th anniversary of American Airlines flying out of Manhattan Regional Airport.


News
CITY NOTEBOOK | Officials close road by sinkhole near Walmart

A road near Walmart closed Friday as Manhattan officials continued repairing the sewer system in the store’s parking lot that caused a 40-foot sinkhole.

City officials said Thursday that Hayes Drive will be closed from Bluemont Avenue to Sarber Lane.

There is no set timeline for completion of the repairs, but the city expects the road to be closed for about two weeks. The sewer system will not be impacted while being fixed, city officials said.

People driving in the area will be rerouted to Frontage Road.

City officials also announced Thursday that the stretch of Kimball Avenue from Hudson Avenue to Vanesta Drive would reopen Friday afternoon.

City officials said that section of the road has been closed since May for improvements, including the addition of new turning lanes and storm sewer enhancements. Additionally, the city is making the road wider, but that portion of the project continues into the fall.

Restaurant news

The last day of the season for people to get their sweet tooth fix from Joanna Jane Sweet Treats, 900 N. 3rd St., is Aug. 31, the restaurant confirmed to The Mercury.

While one dessert shop is closing for the season, another is opening for the first time. Kenny’s Kookie Dough, 1125 Laramie St., is opening in September. The exact date hasn’t been determined, the restaurant said. The shop will feature different flavors of edible cookie dough.

July sales tax revenue up slightly

The sales tax report in July shows a slight increase from last July at 0.8%. The July report, which reflects May sales, showed the city collected $937,237. That is an increase of $4,510. The sales tax revenue in July 2018 was $932,727.

Since January, the city has collected $6.43 million in sales tax, up $51,311 or 0.8% from $6.38 million in 2018.

The city has received $16,819 more in sales tax revenue than budgeted through July.

Hotel occupancy rates

The occupancy rates for Manhattan hotels dipped slightly through June compared to the same period in 2018. Occupancy through June was 64.3%, or 0.1 percentage points lower than 64.4.% through June 2018, according to Smith Travel Research. June is the latest month with available data.

The average daily rate was $98.94, 40 cents higher than in 2018. Revenue per available room was $63.66, up 23 cents or 0.36% from 2018.

Overall revenue amounted to $14.25 million, which was an increase of $51,645 or 0.36% from $14.2 million.

Appointments

The Manhattan City Commission approved the following board appointments during its Tuesday meeting:

  • David Colburn, 1906 Bluestem Terrace, was appointed to a four-year USD 383 term on the Parks and Recreation Advisor board. Colburn’s terms begins now and ends June 30, 2023.