â€œThe coeds skirts are definitely long. Dresses fall to within 12, some even to within 10 inches off the floor. However, they are slit to the knee and it is possible to walk in a Chinese long dress. In cool weather the well dressed coed wears a sports jacket over her dress. The jacket is as simple as a manâ€™s but more colorful. The coed is a bobby soxer. In a land of unheated buildings she has to be. Her shoes are of the sports type, with t-h-i-c-k rubber soles.â€ 
American educators were a tightly knit group and they maintained their school ties and affiliations in China.
â€œIn China, university students are an important political force. In a country where there is widespread illiteracy combined with a lack of a democratic tradition, young students filled with some learning and much zeal are political enthusiasts.â€  Collective demonstrations of resolve extended to non-political activities as well. Here West China Union students march in a parade that was part of campus festivities.
Foot races at West China Union University
Don Flaherty joined the faculty of West China Union University as an English instructor. â€œWest China Union University is a private institution operated by American, Canadian, and English protestant missionary societies. During the Japanese war its campus was the seat of refugee universities from [Beiping, Jinan,] and Nanking. Now there are some 1500 students on its campus who are students of arts, science, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, education, and bio-chemistry. About half of the men students dress I western fashion with sports jackets and slacks. There are even a few large knotted tiesâ€¦The other half of the men wear ankle length gowns. These are usually dark blue, and have long sleeves. â€œ 
Like a number of other colleges and universities founded by Westerners in the early twentieth century, West China Union University was built to modern specifications but in a Chinese style. The main building, with its pagoda-like tower, is an example of this kind of gesture toward tradition.
Don Flaherty participated in the life of the university, including giving a lecture on contemporary â€œlife and lettersâ€ entitled â€œThe Twentieth Century Limited.â€