Tag Archives: fraternity

When hazing is taken too far

Hazing is outdated and dangerous. Why do it? Graphic from theodysseyonline.com

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that a Radford University fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, has been suspended under allegations of a member of the fraternity entering the hospital after a hazing incident. Although a specific name hasn’t been released, the university as well as the Radford police have been taking this incident very seriously and intend on discovering exactly what happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

Hazing has been a rite of passage into Greek life for many years now, although it has been made illegal. I’m not sure where the idea has originated from or why it was created in the first place, but I honestly don’t see the point. Why would abusing and pranking upcoming members of Greek life be a good idea? What’s the point? Is it suppose to prove that they’re worthy of joining the house? Or is it just for fun? Whatever the reason is, it’s not good enough to justify putting people in danger, so much that their life is at risk.

Some people justify hazing by saying that it’s tradition, that it’s been around for years and it’s simply part of greek culture. However, if that’s the logic you like to use than why don’t we bring back slavery or segregation? It’s a part of American history and was tradition for many years, but that, obviously, doesn’t make it morally correct. Hazing is outdated. People understand that hazing is dangerous and messed up. It takes advantage of people who want to desperately to fit in, to belong. It’s an experience that can truly scare someone for the rest of their life and they’re made to think that it’s normal, that it just a part of becoming a part of greek life. It can damage a person forever, and I don’t think people take it as seriously as they need to.

Some people might say that this event was a one time thing, that the boys just got carried away and it was an accident. However, this specific frat house has had a long record of hazing that has ended badly. In 1996 the chapter was suspended because of a death caused by a party gone too far. In 2010, they were once again suspended for reasons unknown. Pi Kappa Phi has a long history of irresponsible members and maybe even advisors. Something needs to be changed in order to ensure that all of Radford University students are safe and taken care of.

With Greek Letters Comes Great Responsibility

Greek Life has had a negative reputation for a long time. It’s been portrayed adversely in the media and in movies. There are often news stories about members of Greek organizations dying as a result of hazing. Movies such as House Bunny and Animal House (my favorite movie) show Greek Organizations throwing huge house parties and pulling pranks. Although there may be some slight truths in the media, we never hear about the good that Greeks do such as raising money for various philanthropies.

Janie gives blood. Graphic by Janie Maitland
Janie proudly wears her letters while giving blood. Graphic by Janie Maitland

There are, however, a group of organizations that are a category all on their own: academic and community service fraternities. These organizations do a lot of things that reflect social organizations, but they aren’t considered part of Greek Life. Many of these fraternities will have “bigs and littles,” wear Greek letters and make paddles–all long-standing traditions of Greek organizations.

Although these organizations may look Greek, they’re vastly different from social organizations. While most social fraternities have a set of values they try to instill in their members, academic and community service fraternities typically only focus on one aspect of the organization. For example, a criminal justice fraternity will only accept Criminal Justice majors. While in the fraternity, the member will make many connections in their field, study together and assist each other every step of the way through their journey to graduation.

In social Greek organizations, we focus on academic excellence, values, making connections, helping the community, and representing ourselves in a way consistent withthe values of our organization. Although many non-Greek fraternities (such as Alpha Phi Omega, a community service fraternity), tend to focus on the person’s values and attitude, other organizations will only focus on one area of a person’s life. There are many organizations for many different majors such as music fraternities, business fraternities, and more. Many times these organizations focus mostly on their majors and help members find internships and network.

Since I’ve joined my sorority, I’ve always believed that with Greek letters comes great responsibility. Many times, organizations that wear Greek letters but aren’t part of Greek life will misrepresent Greek life. I’ve seen members of academic fraternities be incredibly rude, very publicly, while wearing their letters. Many times, these acts go unpunished because the fraternity is only focused on the person’s academics. Of course, if the person did something extreme, that would get them in trouble with their university. Until it reaches that level of severity, the person will probably not face any ramification.

The truth is, most of the public can’t tell the difference between academic and social fraternities. Because of this, many times these non-Greek fraternities who still sport Greek letters will accidentally misrepresent Greek life by how they act in public. It’s important that members of these organizations remember that by taking on Greek letters, they’re assumed to be part of Greek life — and they need to represent themselves appropriately.

At this time, the best those of us in social organizations can do is live up to our values through our actions. A change won’t happen overnight, but we must make up for those who misrepresent Greek life  — not only in academic fraternities, but in social fraternities as well. It’s time Greeks start holding each other accountable for the way we represent each other.

One of us, one of us!

A sorority or fraternity is a membership-based sisterhood or brotherhood connected to a college. You’ve often heard the terms “sorority” and “fraternity” associated with “Greek life,” but what is that exactly? For starters, all of these groups are referred to as Greek life. That’s because of the Greek letters used in all fraternity and sorority titles.

Many things come to mind when picturing Greek life. Most of us get a basic understanding of it from Hollywood, which show us the wild parties and crazy stunts  that brothers and sisters participate in.  Another trait associated with these organizations  is hazing — a dangerous or embarrassing ritual evoked upon new recruits to see if they have what it takes to be included in their “family.”

Although that’s glamorized in fiction, it appears on the news as a shocking reminder of peer pressure’s destructive power. Those incidents are often the outcome of “hazing.” However, that’s strictly forbidden in school policies these days.

toga party
“Most of us get a basic understanding of it from Hollywood, which show us the wild parties and crazy stunts that brothers and sisters participate in.”

 

If you’re considering joining a fraternity or sorority, do your research! Here at Radford University, you can find many organizations with all sorts of goals. The group leaders do this through workshops and participating in community service, along with other upcoming events.

At RU, each potential Greek life member must go through a recruitment process that’s different for each organization. They must also maintain a GPA of at least 2.5 and have completed one full semester.

RU’s Greek life page states that “students can gain leadership experiences, lifelong friendships, academic success and support, opportunities for community service and philanthropy, along with personal growth and development.” There are over 20 different sororities and fraternities here at RU, so choose wisely.

Some members join for the toga parties and social experiences while others are more interested in the business connections or sense of belonging. Just like when you did research on Radford to see if you wanted to enroll here, learn about what each sorority and fraternity does and what its reputation is. That’s the reputation you will want to be showing employers in the future.

You can learn more about RU’s Greek life by following this link. You can also contact the Greek Life Office, located in the Bonnie.

Real sisters don’t haze

This past week, RU observed National Hazing Prevention Week. Hazing comes in many forms and has been used by fraternities in sororities alike to make “pledges” feel inferior and force them to earn the title of “brother” or “sister.”

Hazing has, unfortunately, been going on for centuries. As well as in fraternities and sororities, hazing has been used in the military, in honors clubs and even sports teams. It’s thought that by making someone submit to tasks and making them feel inferior, their spirits will be broken and they can be turned into “better” members of the organization.

sorority girls
“Some organizations haze members through forcing them to complete tasks, basically being treated like a slave.”

Hazing can be both mental and physical. Some organizations haze members through forcing them to complete tasks, basically being treated like a slave. Some organizations force pledges to drink copious amounts of alcohol, which is obviously very dangerous. Here at RU, deaths have occurred because of hazing in the past.

Luckily, in the past few years, there’s been a movement against hazing. More and more organizations are putting into place “zero tolerance” policies against hazing. Hazing is punishable by law and can have very dire consequences. Organizations that are caught hazing are almost immediately removed from campus.

In my organization, we’re very anti-hazing. When a bid is extended to someone, it’s because we see our values in them. Hazing is used to make people “earn” their letters, but we have to be choosy and look for people who embody our values and will represent us well.

Last year, a representative from our national organization said, “if you give someone a bid, that’s saying you would initiate them that day if you could.” And it’s true, why would we give a bid to someone who doesn’t share our values?

I’ve felt very fortunate in my sorority to have sisters who love me and have never made me feel uncomfortable, and that’s how sisters should be! I can’t imagine being in an organization that made me feel like I had to do things that I wasn’t comfortable with. I don’t understand why anyone would want to be put through that.

My sisters chose to give me a bid because they saw something in me that I never saw in myself. I still wonder sometimes what I know I am loved and accepted. I can’t imagine feeling that way if I were being hazed and made to do things that I didn’t like. I’ve had nothing but a positive experience in my sorority and it breaks my heart to know there are people who have had negative experiences that involved hazing.

Hazing is completely unnecessary. In my opinion, hazing is old-fashioned and barbaric. We should be evolved enough that we can treat each other with dignity. Hazing goes against the values that Greek life teaches us, and those who haze are only feeding the bad reputation that Greek life already has.  Continue reading Real sisters don’t haze

Greek Week displays competition, bravado and unity

This past week, Radford University once again hosted its annual Greek Week, a celebration of the fraternities and sororities that provide culture to the campus. This much anticipated week held multiple events that provided a platform for Greek organizations to not only show off their talents and camaraderie, but also to show how much they contribute to their university through philanthropy. Continue reading Greek Week displays competition, bravado and unity

Why I fully recommend going Greek

When many wide-eyed freshmen arrive at Radford University, they are wary of upperclassmen. Their first night out, accompanied by the lanyards around their necks, can be terrifying. Freshmen are sometimes warned by their older peers not to reveal their grade level. Braving the streets and heading to their first party at a fraternity house can be an intimidating experience. Continue reading Why I fully recommend going Greek

Greek life is awesome, and here’s why

Strutting letters, being popular and attending numerous parties are the things people tend to think about when the words “frat” or “sorority” pop into their heads, but why?  The individuals in these organizations are being judged based on past events when in reality they bring much more to the table. Continue reading Greek life is awesome, and here’s why

The dangers of hazing

Starting college, adjusting to a new living situation, peer group and advanced classes can be a stressful time. With a strong desire to “fit in,” students may opt to join Greek Life , an athletic team or a club at their school. However, the initiation process for many of these groups often only adds to the stress of navigating college. In recent years, disturbing news stories have highlighted the increasingly violent, aggressive, and even deadly hazing tactics some groups use. Continue reading The dangers of hazing

Breaking News: Where is Greek life’s moral compass?

The fraternity and sorority coalition assessment project released a final report on their March 2012 visit to Radford University. The report details Greek life’s areas of strength, areas of improvement and recommendations to be utilized by the Blue Ribbon Committee, a group designed to improve Greek life at RU. Continue reading Breaking News: Where is Greek life’s moral compass?

Why rush?

Photo by Jenny Krashin.

Earlier this semester sororities and fraternities made themselves apparent at Radford University. Beginning with the frequent displaying of letters, group chanting and meetings and socials on and off campus, Greek Week has non-affiliated students wondering what the hustle and bustle is all about. This lifestyle in college may deem a mystery if gone unexplored.