A week dedicated to hazing prevention

The following post for StopHazing was written by Lara Carney, an intern for StopHazing and a fourth year Journalism major at the University of Maine with a double minor in professional and creative writing. 

Students, colleges, and communities nationwide banded together the week of September 18 through September 22 to spread the word and recognize the harmful effects of hazing. This week, known as National Hazing Prevention Week (NHPW), consisted of activities, contests, and other various events meant to educate others on the traditions of hazing and why it needs to end.

Hank Nuwer, a well-known advocate of the fight against hazing, posted on his webpage the Sunday after NHPW to highlight and give credit to athletes at Franklin College who went five days without drinking alcohol in honor of NHPW:

“Big thanks to Athletic Director Kerry Prather, Coach Andy Hendricks, coaches & athletes for doing what no other college has accomplished–sending a message that alcohol and hazing have hurt too many lives.” – Nuwer

The University of Connecticut held a new event each day as part of their own tenth annual Hazing Prevention Week. Special events included a poster contest dedicated to hazing prevention, a discussion about hazing people could follow on social media using the hashtag #huskiesdonthaze, and others.

HazingPrevention.org holds a NHPW Essay Competition each year that focuses on a hazing-related theme. This year’s theme was “Hazing Hurts – Stop the Cycle.” First place winner went to Ariel McLain from the Garrett Morgan School of Science in Cleveland, Ohio and her essay on how hazing rituals have become “normalized.”

“We brush [hazing] off as a normal part of social acceptance, or by saying everyone has gone through this at least once in their life. Some think that it is worth it, but at what cost?” – McLain

Pennsylvania State University joined the national movement to recognize NHPW as well. Students attended educational events provided by the university, including a short film called We Don’t Haze and a discussion that followed with associate professor of sociology and environmental studies, Nick Rowland. Penn State also held a lecture led by Travis Apgar, a student affairs professional working toward abolishing the hazing culture.

Below are some tweets from student life organizations and how they joined the fight to eradicate hazing during NHPW:

National Hazing Prevention Week Spotlight: University of Central Florida

To celebrate National Hazing Prevention Week, we’re highlighting the efforts of some of the institutions participating in the Hazing Prevention Consortium. We begin with the University of Central Florida.

For the students, staff, and administrators that make up the hazing prevention coalition at the University of Central Florida (UCF), the activities of National Hazing Prevention Week will be the culmination of a planning process that began last May and developed significantly over the course of the summer. UCF’s schedule for National Hazing Prevention Week ambitiously features workshops providing introductory information to help students understand hazing and recognize it as a problem, case study competitions for graduate students, and bystander intervention training, amongst numerous other prevention efforts. Perhaps the most innovative of these prevention efforts is a session entitled Your Life On Trial, a mock student conduct case which aims to provide transparency to the process by which hazing cases are processed on campus.

“We thought creatively about how to get information to students and community members,” says Dr. Germayne Graham, Associate Director of the LEAD Scholars Academy at UCF and liaison to the HPC. According to Graham, such breadth of programming is the result of lessons learned from attending the 2015 HPC Summit, combined with strong institutional support and leadership that encouraged a variety of stakeholders, particularly students, to get involved. “The biggest part is the students,” says Graham, “we have representation from students involved in the marching band, athletics, ROTC, fraternity and sorority life, student affairs, student conduct, and leadership programs.” These students, along with staff members and faculty, were enthusiastically encouraged to get involved by the Dean of Students-highlighting the impact of visible messaging on campus hazing prevention efforts.

Importantly, UCF hopes that such diverse programs will have lasting impact and change student behavior and attitudes towards hazing. Therefore, they are conducting an evaluation for each of the initiatives this week to determine what students have learned and are also following up in three months in order to see if the programing resulted in pro-social behaviors that persist.

A video promoting National Hazing Prevention Week at UCF is featured below: