Fraternities and sororities gathered for National Hazing Prevention Week last Thursday for a presentation entitled “Hazing Makes You a Better Greek and Other Stupid Myths” by Michelle Guobadia.
Guobadia, director for fraternity and sorority life at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, spoke to Ramapo’s Greek community on various aspects and views of hazing.
“It opened people’s minds to different perspectives of hazing even though it doesn’t necessary happen here,” senior Emily Schnier said.
According to HazingPrevention.org, 55 percent of students encounter hazing while in college-not just from Greek life, but from clubs and sports as well. The website claims that much of the hazing reported by students involved a type of mortifying act or drinking alcohol, and that 82 percent of fatal hazing cases reported were caused by alcohol consumption. National Hazing Prevention Week, which runs Sept. 23 to Sept. 27, is just that-a week dedicated to lowering these statistics.
“The goal is to get students to understand that hazing does not make them a better Greek student,” Graduate Assistant for Fraternity and Sorority Life Shakor Jukes said.
Guobadia began her presentation by asking students to define the word “pledge.” She seemed unsurprised when students struggled to give the word meaning. She then asked the audience to define the word “hazing.” The audience seemed to find “hazing” even harder to define than “pledge.”
“Can we agree that these are not the same?” Guobadia said. “Pledging is just that-it’s an oath, like the Pledge of Allegiance. Hazing is all the unsanctioned, illegal, unauthorized, mental, physical or emotional activity, words that any member can be subject to.”
Being a lifelong member of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority, Guobadia spoke from experience. As a freshman at the University of Delaware, she dreamed of becoming a sister, willing to do what ever she needed to in order to join. She knew it wouldn’t be easy, but she never thought she would be so severely hazed.
“By day, I was a rock star Greek. By night, people were afraid of us. I’m not going to tell you hazing is evil-I did it. I’m just trying to save you all the pain and the destruction,” Guobadia said.
In her presentation, Guobadia broke down the lies behind 10 common hazing myths by using real examples, some of which came from her own life experiences.
“Have you even stopped and thought, ‘Are we worth being loyal to?'” Guobadia asked the Greek life members.
“She’s a phenomenal speaker,” Malcolm Minor, a senior, said. “She has such progressive thoughts about what Greek life is and what it should be in the 21st century.”
Guobadia mentioned that on her website, there’s a list of “100 Ways to Create Good Members Without Hazing,” which offers a wide range of alternatives. A few of them include “participating in a ropes course” or other teambuilding activities, “dinner and a movie,” or participating in “arts and crafts for a cause.”
“Hopefully this will make people think before they start doing crazy things, but you have some good Greeks here-doing some good things,” Guobadia said.