Next week is Carnival, a special time for the fraternities and sororities on the Carnegie Mellon University campus. Students in the Margaret Morrison Courtyard yesterday were busy hammering nails, sawing wood and constructing papier-mache pieces that will be part of the booths that combine games with education.
Wei Wei Wang
The doorstep to the Kappa Phi Lambda sorority house, however, was different. There was no booth being built there.
There were flowers.
The white carnations were an expression of sympathy extended to a group of girls who had lost one of their sorority sisters the night before in an automobile accident just a few blocks away.
Wei Wei Wang, 19, of Woodbury, N.Y., was struck by a car as she crossed Forbes Avenue in Squirrel Hill Tuesday night. She died yesterday at 8:36 a.m. at UPMC Presbyterian.
Miss Wang, involved in numerous campus groups and activities, was a sophomore who had transferred to Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business just last week. At the time of the accident, she was hurrying home from the Giant Eagle in Squirrel Hill, where she had purchased a birthday cake and flowers for her roommate.
Although initial reports indicated that she had stepped off a Port Authority bus at the Margaret Morrison Street stop, one witness last night said Miss Wang was walking on the sidewalk and stepped around the front of the stopped bus and into the path of a passing car.
Dan Connolly, a collision investigator with the Pittsburgh Police Bureau, said the car's driver, who was not identified, stopped immediately. No charges had been filed last night.
"I do not believe speed is an issue," he said.
The young women in Miss Wang's sorority learned of her death from school administrators, who arranged for grief counseling yesterday at Mudge Lounge. Upon returning to their sorority house, they picked up the flowers that had been left on the doorstep, went inside and shared memories of their friend.
Miss Wang was a native of Hangzhou, China, an only child who moved to New York with her parents when she was 10. After attending a boarding school near Philadelphia, she chose to attend Carnegie Mellon, where she was constantly busy with studies and activities.
In addition to her sorority, she was a founding member of Alpha Kappa Psi, a business fraternity. She also was a cheerleader and a project leader for Students in Free Enterprise, a business-related service group that last week claimed first place in a regional competition in Cincinnati. The Carnegie Mellon team will advance to the national exhibition next month in Kansas City, Mo.
Her sorority sisters discussed how proud she was of her heritage. She liked to speak Chinese -- she was fluent in Mandarin as well as a regional dialect of the language -- and was a member of Awareness of Roots in Chinese Culture. During breaks and vacations from school, she would return to China to visit relatives.
"She liked to watch Chinese soap operas [on DVD]," one of her sisters recalled, voicing a memory that spread smiles to the faces of the other 17 women in the room.
"Everyone who met her really liked her," said another sister who, like the others, preferred not to be identified. "She was a really sweet person."
Funeral arrangements were not complete last night.
Staff writer Ryan Haggerty contributed. Dan Majors can be reached at email@example.com or 412-263-1456.