National Hazing Prevention Week

Photo by Claire Cappuccilli.Photo by Claire Cappuccilli.

On Monday, Sept. 18, all members of Greek life organizations wore red as a way to represent their unity against hazing. This signified the start of National Hazing Prevention Week, which takes place each year on college campuses across the country.

The purpose is to bring awareness to students and faculty about the problem of hazing and how to prevent it from occurring. A number of events were held on campus as a way for students to learn what hazing is and to recognize when it is taking place. The overall goal is to empower students to put an end to it.

“As a community, in planning Hazing Prevention week, we wanted the outcome to improve awareness for what exactly is hazing,” said senior Chloe Ouimette, a Greek life engagement peer. “Each of our events strived to inform the population of what hazing is, while still trying to make it an enjoyable experience.”

McDaniel College defines hazing as, “any action taken or situation created, intentionally, whether on or off College premises, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule.”

It is prohibited on college property and in all organizations affiliated with the school.

“It’s not a problem that I have experienced on campus, but I still think it is an important topic to discuss,” said senior Bridget Sorrells.

Tracy Maxwell is the founder of HazingPrevention.org, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing attention to hazing while providing the proper resources to prevent it. She started the organization as a way to steer the discussion from punishing those who participate in hazing to preventing it from happening all together.

“We are required to participate in National Hazing Prevention Week in order to maintain standards with the National Panhellenic Conference member organizations, North American InterFraternity Council members, and the National Pan-Hellenic Council member organizations,” said Christine Workman, director of Student Engagement. “Our campus has been participating with event since NHPW’s inception a decade ago.”

There was a “These Hands Don’t Haze” event where members traced their handprint and took a pledge to not promote or engage in hazing. A question and answer session was held for the student body so that they were able to have an open discussion about hazing and to determine what is and is not allowed.

Student Engagement also held a “Deeper Than Letters” event in an attempt to end the stereotypes that surround sororities and fraternities. Each student wrote down what Greek life means to them and how it has impacted their lives in an attempt to create a positive stigma surrounding it.

“We want our new members to feel welcomed into sisterhood,” says Sorrells. “Hazing would do the complete opposite of that.”