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April 18, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Sorority comes together in solidarity, remembrance

To Alpha Xi Delta sorority members Julie Rego and Jessica Lash, the bond of sisterhood is always present, but can never be adequately explained.

It’s a dynamic beyond friendship. It’s comforting someone without words. It’s something bigger than oneself.

On March 2, that bond of sisterhood manifested itself in a widespread display of support and solidarity.

When an early morning car crash on Interstate 75 killed three of the University’s Alpha Xi Delta members and injured two, sisters nationwide united to provide support for the chapter when its members needed it most.

The consoling comfort soon spread like wildfire throughout the city and University community, Rego said.

“If you were in our house that day and all through spring break, you wouldn’t believe the cards, the flowers, the signs, the food, the little knickknacks and things that just remind you that you have this huge support system out there for you,” she said. “It makes you realize that even if you wear different Greek letters, or if you’re not Greek, or even if you don’t go to BGSU, we’re still one. It’s comforting.”

Rego and Lash, Alpha Xi Delta’s president and vice president of public relations, respectively, said for the first time in a while, the sorority’s members are starting to feel “normal again” within the community.

Although support hasn’t waned since the day of the crash, the passing days have allowed them to spend some coveted time together — exactly what they needed, the juniors said.

“We’ve all grown so much closer and we don’t take anything for granted anymore,” Rego said. “We had our week to sulk and we grieved through spring break, but then we were together again the next week and that’s what made us happy. The only thing that makes us truly happy is when we’re together and when we’re remembering them.”

The three students who died as a result of the crash — junior Rebekah Blakkolb, sophomore Christina Goyett and junior Sarah Hammond — all emulated what it means to be an Alpha Xi Delta sister, Lash said.

Their hard work, positive attitudes and dedication to the chapter positively impacted everyone they came in contact with, she said.

“They got good grades, held leadership positions, lived in the house and attended everything,” Lash said. “All three of them were always smiling and such great, positive people. We want to celebrate them. It’s OK to be happy because if they were here they would do the same thing.”

The two students who survived the crash — freshman Angelica Mormile and sophomore Kayla Somoles — continue to keep in contact with their sisters and are expected to make a full recovery, Lash and Rego said.

“They’re being so positive and so strong, and we couldn’t be any prouder of how they’re doing and how fast they’re recovering,” Lash said. “They won’t be back this semester, but they’re coming back. I know they’ll be back.”

Chris Bullins, associate dean of students, has supported the crash victims’ families, as well as Alpha Xi Delta, throughout the recovery process.

As the University’s administrator who oversees Fraternity and Sorority Life, Bullins said he is very impressed with the Greek community’s outreach during this difficult time.

“The community is continuing to support one another and continuing to try to heal from a situation that has certainly impacted a number of people,” he said. “I think part of the ability for the students to heal is directly linked to the support they’re getting from each other.”

One group plans to display their support permanently on campus, Bullins said. A few faculty members and Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, on behalf of the Greek community, plan to collect funds to construct a memorial to honor the women who died in the I-75 crash.

There is currently no time frame for the project, he said. It will most likely include trees and possibly benches or plaques.

“During times like this, when chapters come out and support one another, that certainly helps demonstrate the ideals of the ‘Greek community’ on campus,” Bullins said. “It makes me proud to be a part of that community, to work with students and know how much they care about one another.”

Rego and Lash agreed.

“You can’t put it into words, really, because the support is absolutely unreal, and we can’t thank everyone enough,” Rego said. “Ever since [the crash] happened, I always tell everyone I couldn’t be prouder to be a student at BGSU and a part of Alpha Xi Delta.”

As Alpha Xi Delta’s members continue their careers at the University, they have vowed to celebrate the lives of Blakkolb, Goyett and Hammond by living “as they would have,” she said.

“What I meant in my memorial speech by ‘live their legacies’ is don’t take life too seriously,” Rego said. “The minute you turn around, it could be gone, and everything could be taken from you like it was taken from us. Had we not realized the joy our sisters put into our lives, we would have missed out.”

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