When choosing a college, one factor you may consider is the Greek life. You probably think of the great parties, the new friends and the myriad opportunities it may offer. However, one less obvious — but more serious — part of joining the Greek community is the potential of hazing. Hazing is when new members, often called “pledges,” are forced to do strenuous or embarrassing tasks before being initiated.
While many universities have tried to enforce stricter policies against this practice — and many have successfully eliminated drug or alcohol-related tasks — different forms of hazing remain nationwide. Some tasks may be physically demanding, while others might be mentally challenging. The hazing activities could also simply be time consuming.
Sororities and fraternities continue to haze by being secretive and telling new members not to tell anyone what they do.
A former University of Pittsburgh student, who is now a sophomore at another university, talked to CM about the “hazing” she experienced when she joined a sorority her freshman year.
Before going to Pittsburgh, she had heard about her sorority’s hazing and expected her experience to be difficult. “I heard that girls had to sit on ice, so I thought it would be more dangerous things like that,” she said.
Luckily, her posterior remained unharmed. The university was keeping a strict eye out for any evidence of hazing, she said. Because of this, she also wasn’t forced to drink alcohol or do anything physically harming. She was surprised, instead, when she realized the process’ time commitment.
“One thing we had to do was interview 80 girls in-person. It couldn’t be a text message, you had to call them and organize to meet up,” she said. “When you have to do that 80 times, it’s really frustrating.”
She also had weekly sorority sleepovers, which was hard because she had tests every Friday. “I wanted to spend time and get to know the other girls, but I always had to study,” she said.
Her sorority also controlled what she could wear. Every Monday, she had to dress in business casual “so we looked really ridiculous walking around campus like that.”
She also faced some maddening tasks like being locked in a room where she and other new members had to create a song, dance and order a pizza in one hour with no phones for communication. One night, they were blindfolded and quizzed on information about the sisters and were yelled at if they answered incorrectly.
“They found excuses to yell at us and make us feel like sh*t, so we were just scared of them,” she said.
The main feeling she got from her hazing experience was disappointment. She said it didn’t bond the new members as much as she thought it would.
“It just made us more nervous and frustrated,” she said. “If they didn’t make us do such time consuming things, we would’ve had more time to get to know each other.” She added that knowing facts about sisters also didn’t help her really learn about them.
Although she survived her hazing experience, she’s happy to not be apart of the sorority anymore.
“I’m not in it today because the way they [hazed] wasn’t bonding. There was no purpose to it. The purpose was just to say, yeah, I got hazed.”
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