National Hazing Prevention Week starts with Remembrance Vigil

As National Hazing Prevention Week begins at Ramapo and fraternities and sororities are sending out bids, the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life (OFSL) hosted its annual Remembrance Vigil on Monday in Friends Hall. 

Assistant Director for Student Involvement and Coordinator of the OFSL Amanda Riehl began the ceremony on Monday with a short speech about the effects of hazing and how students must unite to end hazing on campuses. She said, “Today we stand together as a proactive community, ready to confront this senseless immature act, against all acts of hazing, as well as hold ourselves and our fellow students accountable.” 

Members of Ramapo’s Greek Life gathered in Friends Hall for the annual anti-hazing Remembrance Vigil. Photo courtesy of Ash Curtis

Every year, the OSFL hosts a week of anti-hazing events and activities as part of a larger initiative with other colleges and universities across the country. “The national organization invests millions of dollars to educate their members on hazing prevention,” said Riehl.

She shared that 69% of students are aware that hazing persists on their campus, but only one in four people report it. Ramapo plans to change those numbers by doing their part to change Greek life culture in the campus community. All new members joining Greek life organizations are required to participate in anti-hazing events and sign the pledge to end hazing. 

Riehl also shared several stories of those who have lost their lives due to hazing. “Tragically, 298 students died simply trying to fit in or belong to our groups. 298 students who never had the opportunity to experience the true essence of fraternity brotherhood or sorority sisters,” she said. 

Because rain forced the event inside, there were no candles to honor hazing victims this year. Riehl still asked the attendees, many of whom were Greek life members representing their organizations, for a moment of silence as she read the list of more than 25 people from all over the country who lost their lives to hazing over the past 10 years. 

Ramapo aims to create a warm, welcoming environment for those joining Greek life on campus and has a strict no-tolerance policy regarding hazing. 

“We should be a place where all students feel safe, respected and appreciated when they come to college and get involved with an organization,” said Daniel Gurniak, graduate assistant for the Center for Student Involvement. “We must actively discourage hazing processes and provide alternatives that promote camaraderie and growth without harm in our organizations on campus.” 

Featured photo by Ash Curtis