DO NO HARM
“I would never hurt my sisters.”
— Alpha Gamma Delta (@alphagammadelta) September 18, 2017
If members truly believe they would never haze another sister, why do we still have to talk about it?
Hazing remains a hot topic because, despite educational campaigns, awareness videos and legal definitions, hazing occurs each and every day in our chapters. According to stophazing.org, more than half of college students involved in clubs, teams and organizations experience hazing.
For most members of Alpha Gamma Delta, hazing is a word that instills fear and an overwhelming sense of confusion. You may think, “How is this possible? I know my chapter does not participate in hazing practices.”
But, are you really sure?
Defining hazing is difficult for collegians. Legal definitions provide more confusion than clarity—and fraternal organizations struggle to eliminate hazing amongst their members. While our members may understand and agree that physical harm is hazing, not everyone understands the emotional and psychological aspects of hazing or the harm it can do. Even more so, not everyone understands that the decisions they make, the words they use and the “innocent fun” they have could have very serious consequences.
So, now what? It’s probably no surprise that the human desire to fit in is a strong motivator. The overwhelming need to fit into our chapters can sometimes outweigh our moral compass and cause us to make decisions we wouldn’t otherwise make.
“The fight against hazing requires that an entire community step up, including sorority women, who can and must do our part to create safer campus cultures where students advocate for one another,” said Carole Jones, Chairman of the National Panhellenic Conference, in a joint press release from the North American Interfraternity Conference.
As a Fraternity, it is our job to educate and empower our women to make better choices. Each September, Alpha Gamma Delta participates in National Hazing Prevention Week. We focus on a consistent message to encourage the elimination of hazing. While this year is no different, our approach is. Instead of a major social media campaign, we are appealing directly to you.
You, the leaders of the chapters.
You, the upperclassmen whose opinion carries weight with younger members.
You, the person who unknowingly contributes to the issue.
This year, we are asking those with authority in the chapter to understand their role in this conversation.
Here are three things you should know:
- Your words matter. Your tone matters. Your delivery matters. When newer or younger members look to you for advice, guidance and role modeling, how you engage with them matters.
- Know Your Worth. Know your worth as a chapter leader. You give so much time, dedication and passion to your chapter. Know your worth as a leader who leads by example, who fights against the red flags and pushes for a positive collegiate experience. A leader who is remembered for being a strong, woman of purpose.
- Know Their Worth. Know the worth of a newer or younger member. New members should be celebrated, embraced and loved. Think through the “traditions” you have planned. They are worth more than being coerced to do remedial tasks just because you had to do them. They are worth more than being told drink more, “earn their letters” and learn their place. They are worth more…and it’s up to you to show them.
This academic year, we appeal to you. Be the leaders we know you can be and eliminate hazing within Alpha Gamma Delta. For resources, questions or support, contact the Harm Prevention Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.