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University of Missouri

Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

Chi Omega sorority sisters return to the Rho Alpha chapter house one last time.

Chi Omega sisters

Chi Omega sisters of the 1970s gathered at their sorority house May 18 for one last sleepover before the building was razed to make way for a modern structure.

This past May, more than 30 Chi Omega sorority sisters who lived in the Mizzou Rho Alpha chapter house during the 1970s returned with their pillows for a final sleepover before bulldozers leveled the outdated structure. In place of the 1922 building, the chapter will raise a 33,800-square-foot sorority house, complete with underground parking, auditorium, study areas, salad bar, wall-to-wall Wi-Fi and room to sleep 92.

Rather than shedding tears for their old digs, the travelers celebrated memories and old friends. “It was a rush of emotions,” says event organizer Cyndi Broadt Myers, BS RPA ’74, of Burr Ridge, Ill. “In those days, we lived in the house for three years. I remember sitting on the stairs and talking with my sisters, putting on makeup in front of the mirror, changing room assignments three times a year to get to know one another better. We were two, three or four to a room with bunks, dressers and sometimes desks.” They made do with box fans in those days before air conditioning.

pottery ornament

Event organizer Cyndi Broadt Myers, BS RPA ’74, commissioned a pottery ornament, for each sister who attended. It features a hand-painted image of the old building’s façade.

Beverly Gilliam Taki recalls a certain brand of togetherness that permeated the place in the ’70s.

“We had to learn how to interact with one another. There were no TVs in bedrooms, just one in the TV room, so we shared channels and watched what others wanted to watch,” says Taki, BS Ed ’76, of St. Louis.

And there was phone duty for pledges. They answered the house’s single line. The newbies worked two-hour shifts, during which they greeted callers, hopped up and sought out the sorority member in question.

“We depended on one another,” Taki says. “That’s how we formed this bond. The old house was just the physical aspect. My love and affection for these girlfriends won’t change.”