National Hazing Prevention Week: Recognizing the Problem

Category: Fraternity

Emma Silvers

Alpha Xi, Oregon

National Hazing Prevention Week is September 23–27. During this time, it's an opportunity for organizations and individuals to talk about hazing, raise awareness about the problem of hazing, educate others about hazing, and promote the prevention of hazing.

A crucial component of prevention is problem identification. Unfortunately, as members of a women’s organization, we tend to view hazing as an issue found in men’s organizations, not our own.

So we commonly overlook the impact chapter and campus traditions can have on our members. Below are three aspects of the Theta experience found to commonly contribute to problematic behavior and unintended emotional distress.

Big Sister/Little Sister Reveal

During one of the most exciting times of member orientation, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the “fun” of the process and forget to put the well-being of new members first. Costumes, scavenger hunts, and alcohol should never be included in the Big/Little process, and can quickly lead to new members feeling pressure to participate in order to fit in.

Chapter “Traditions”

The old excuse—“This is what we’ve always done”—has time and again proven to contribute to some of the worst cases of hazing in Greek-letter organizations. It is important to note that chapter “traditions” or chapter-specific “ritual” have no place in the Theta experience. The ritual services that unite Theta members internationally are to be treated with the utmost respect, and not to be undermined by harmful traditions created by individual chapters. Yes, even if it’s what has “always been done.”

Alcohol and Social Pressure

According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 53.6 percent of full-time college students drank alcohol in the past month. Meaning that 46.4 percent did not. In some way, all women who join a Greek organization are searching for a sense of belonging and will often go to great lengths to fit in. Being cognizant of the large amount of college students who chose not to drink and providing events without alcohol will not only decrease the potential for hazing to occur but also provide opportunities for authentic relationships to flourish.