By Graham O’Dwyer
Last week, brothers and sisters of Sacred Heart University’s Greek organizations addressed the issue of hazing on college campuses by celebrating National Hazing Prevention Week.
National Hazing Prevention Week has been incorporated into Sacred Heart’s mission since 2013. Hazing is defined as any action which recklessly or intentionally endangers the health or safety of a person, for the purpose of initiation, admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in an organization.
“Each year we work to get community members involved in raising awareness about how to prevent hazing at Sacred Heart through tabling efforts, speakers, and workshops,” said Laura Arena, the Director of Greek Life.
Arena is working alongside members of the sororities and fraternities on campus to spread the anti-hazing message. “Each day they are passing out buttons that say ‘SHUt down hazing’ and are having members sign a pledge to prevent hazing on campus,” said Arena, when asked how Greek Life is taking a stand.
“I think it’s unfair for girls who join sororities to have to go through anything similar to or even close to hazing. Phi Sigma Sigma makes a point to stress how negative hazing is and I’m grateful Sacred Heart Greek life is a non-hazing community,” said junior and Phi Sigma Sigma member Margaret McManus.
Forty-four U.S. states currently enforce anti-hazing laws, and Connecticut is one of them.
“Hazing has no place in the education of fraternity men because it does the exact opposite of teaching the proper values that all brothers should uphold,” said Griffin Killian, junior and Delta Tau Delta member.
Hazing can include, but is not limited to, acts of physical abuse, forcing a person to run personal errands for another, and forcing an individual or use drugs or consume alcohol.
“We all sign a non-hazing policy at the beginning of our membership because we are a sisterhood. We want all of our members to feel safe and comfortable,” said junior Lauren Petrozzi, a member of Chi Omega.
Since 1970, there has been at least one hazing-related death per year on college campuses across the country. About 82 percent of those deaths involve alcohol.
“Hazing is an awful thing. Hazing other members with alcohol or with things to hurt or embarrass them is a problem and is just cruel,” said junior Kendall Clark, a brother of Omega Phi Kappa Fraternity.
“We can be proactive by educating members of student groups on how to welcome their new members in a safe and positive way, and teach them to identify hazing practices and how to intervene if they see hazing-related behaviors taking place,” said Arena.
Fraternity and sorority members are out to make sure hazing becomes a thing of the past. Near Outtakes, a poster board is displayed filled with the signatures of Greek life members pledging to put an end to hazing.
Greek Life is also sponsoring an event where a guest speaker will come and talk about hazing prevention on October 4.