Panhellenic Pandemic

UCF’s 2014 Panhellenic Council’s sorority recruitment saw the highest number of potential new members it has seen in years. Nearly a thousand college women walked from house to house on Greek Park Drive to visit 11 chapters. Between the hot weather, the long days, and the heels, recruitment week is always a grueling process. It may be no surprise, then, that UCF Health Services had an influx of students with cold or flu-like symptoms that seemed to occur just after the end of formal recruitment.

According to Megan Pabian, coordinator of University Relations and Public Affairs for UCF Health Services, the UCF Health Center receives approximately 6,000 student patients, each year, during cold and flu season.  

This year, in particular, cold and flu season seems to have hit the University earlier than usual. Though flu season normally occurs during the months of October through March, the health center was seeing positive flu testing results as early as late August -- just after the end of formal recruitment. 

Pabian said this past September was, “the busiest September on record.” This was also the second year in a row that the health center was seeing positive flu tests in late August. The increase of patients at the health center, she said, seem to coincide with formal recruitment. Fabiana Narsete, a sophomore communications major, said that she suffered from the flu shortly after going through formal recruitment. After a few days of feeling horribly ill, Narsete decided to go to the health center on campus and was seen by a nurse practitioner.  

"As soon as I walked in," Narsete explained, "the nurse asked me, 'Did you go through recruitment?’ I said, 'yeah.' And she told me she received so many girls. 'We get them every year.'" 

Narsete tested positive for influenza, and was not allowed to return to class until she received medical clearance from the health center five days later. 

Victoria Verville, a sophomore business marketing major, also suffered from flu-like symptoms, but decided not to go to the health center. “I think, like, 15 girls in [Kappa Alpha] Theta got sick,” she recalled. “But none of us wanted to go to the health center during recruitment because it was more important to be there.” 

One student had to drop out of recruitment, last year, because of health issues. Naomi Henderson, a sophomore film major, said she was bedridden for the entire week of recruitment.  “By the time I went to the doctor [to find out what was wrong], they said it was too late to know,” she said. Henderson went through formal recruitment again this year, but took extra precautions not to get sick again. “I made sure I had Vitamin C, EmergenC and was really careful with where I touched my hands on my face,” she said. 

Senior anthropology major, Shannon Payne, said she has seen her fair share of illnesses during recruitment. “It’s not at all uncommon,” she said. “A lot of girls lose their voices.” Payne had to sit out this past year’s recruitment process due to a sinus infection she caught on her way to Orlando from her hometown in Virginia.  

When asked what may have caused the earlier positive influenza testing results, Pabian said, “We can make all the assumptions we want, but we don’t have proven reasons why.” One reason may be the stress that comes with recruiting nearly 1,000 new members into 11 Panhellenic sororities.  

Verville said her days during the recruitment week lasted from about 8 a.m. until as late at 10 p.m. “Germs are being spread very quickly, because there are a lot of girls in one space,” she said. “I think it is inevitable,” said Narsete. “You know, it comes with the stress of waking up early and rushing there, and rushing here, not eating properly because we don’t have lunch breaks. So, I think all of that together, you know, it’s easy to get sick that way, when you’re tired and hungry and stressed out. Of course you’re going to get sick.” 

If a student is feeling flu-like symptoms, the health care center at UCF is a flu sentinel site, meaning that they will test students for flu and record the results in order to better prepare for future flu seasons. Students can receive free flu vaccinations, as well as cold and flu care, on campus. 

Pabian says marketing these resources on campus is important to make sure students are succeeding, academically.  “People think they can just tough it out, but having the flu can be detrimental to a student’s academic success,” she said. Although this is the second year in a row that the flu hit UCF campus earlier than normal, only time will tell whether the influx was merely coincidental, or something that needs more serious attention.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B just dropped the hottest summer single yet. It's called "WAP" and we're going to get into all the intoxicating lyrics.

This song empowers females and their sexuality. These women put the ridiculous music industry female beef to bed, and I mean tucked away in a coma.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Write Down The Holy Grail Recipe Everyone Begs You To Make

Because everyone has a signature cocktail, cake, or pasta they bring to every potluck.


From back when I used to bring my mom's classic white chocolate chip cookies to preschool on my birthday to now stirring up my signature tequila cocktails at every friends' barbecue, I've always had a couple of standby recipes in my culinary rotation.

Keep Reading... Show less

Meet My Cat: Cheshire, The Stray Turned House Cat Who Lives in Michigan

I never considered myself a cat person, but Chess immediately stole my heart.

Madelyn Darbonne

In 2016, a stray cat gave birth to a litter of three grey kittens on my aunt and uncle's property. I had never considered myself to be much of a cat person, but these furballs immediately stole my heart. I got to watch them grow up until they were old enough to leave their mother's side.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Binge-Watch A TV Show —And Then Write A Review About It

Writing your favorite and least favorite things about a show could not be more fun.

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

Looking for a new show to binge? Stop scrolling through your options and listen.

Sometimes a good show doesn't come down to the genre or the actors involved, it comes down to the fact that it is simply a GOOD show. If any of these things sound appealing to you, you should definitely watch.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been bleaching my hair since I was in seventh grade. Yes, you read that correctly, seventh grade. That's nearly 10 years of maintaining a very light shade of blonde that too-often brings about dryness and brittle strands.

Keep Reading... Show less

Chances are if you're here, you're probably interested in writing an open letter. Yay! We're excited to have you.

Of course, not all open letters are created equal. In fact, there's a recipe to writing one for Odyssey that'll get featured on one of our many verticals. When it comes to Swoon specifically (for those new around here, that's our dating and relationships vertical), we receive dozens of open letters each month, many of which are all very similar.

Keep Reading... Show less

With a new phone comes great responsibility: Do not break it! And the best way to do that is with a case. However, picking a case can be a challenge. No need to fret, I am here to help break down some of the best cases for the new iPhone SE 2020. Honestly, I think it's going to be impossible to choose!

Keep Reading... Show less

To some who have been out of the dating world for a while, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things after being single for some time. So, I asked 26 people what they think is important to know before looking for love again, here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments