Beyond These Hands

With the close of summer, I see the excitement from my students about returning to campus to reunite with friends and all the activities that come along with the fall semester-recruitment, football games, homecoming, and late nights.  If you are an SA Pro, I am sure your excitement is often accompanied with some panic and sleep-deprivation knowing that there will be many welcome week activities and late nights in your future.  For me, as a chapter advisor to a fraternity and a sorority, I start thinking of the requirements that my members need to complete with their national organizations. One of those requirements is to host or attend some type of anti-hazing program.

Hazing goes beyond the physical and visible traumatic injuries, yet there is psychological harm that is often not discussed. Psychological trauma can lead to depression, shame, and can drive to a student’s withdrawal from activities or poor grades.

My challenge for you. is to move beyond “these hands.”  Host a campus-wide speaker to talk about the other effects of hazing or how to combat language used in hazing. It doesn’t need to be anything flashy.  There are plenty of resources available right on campus to support you.  Not enough time to coordinate one more event alone?   Invite an open dialogue (roundtable) to discuss with staff change-makers and your student leaders.  This dialogue may present ideas for a new campaign that more fully addresses hazing impacts on your campus. 

Anything that addresses anti-hazing is great, but how do we get to a deeper conversation? Let’s open it up beyond just physical hazing.  Let’s commit to trying something new - “I commit to lifting my members up instead of tearing them down” or “My words are powerful, and I will use them to elevate my community.”   Hazing is a topic that people choose to navigate away from because of its complexity. Let’s open the dialogue and move beyond just the physical components.

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