Pledging Regulations

Clarifying Prohibited Pledging & Maximizing Meaningful Pledging Activities in Greek-Lettered Organizations

Pledging Regulations, Prohibited Pledging Practices, & Examples of Meaningful Pledging Activities

Introduction

There is no doubt that high functioning Greek-lettered organizations provide an important part to a vibrant student life program at the College. Nevertheless, Greek life can only thrive at this high level if it functions within safe and appropriate rush, pledging, and induction practices. Over the course of the past five years, the Division of Student Affairs, Greek Senate, and student leaders in fraternities and sororities have worked closely together to establish best practices in pledging while also eliminating any practice that would be deemed illegal or harmful to others. The group also moved beyond the parameters of simply what is illegal and harmful and looked to eliminate what might be simply considered truly meaningless activities.

Over the course of Greek life history, practices can lose their meaning and when students choose to replace them with other practices in some instances, harmful practices emerge. In the same light, well-intentioned student leaders may not recognize harmful or meaningless practices as they may have been inculcated with these same activities during their own indoctrination into a group. With Greek-lettered organizations, Alfred State campus advisers can attend any and all rush, pledging, and induction activities in order to insure that harmful and meaningless activities are not perpetuated. In addition, the information contained in this document is meant to provide additional information for both student leaders and campus advisers.

Although higher education and state laws have often identified what practices are not permissible, the state laws written in respect to illegal hazing practices are often vague and not clearly understood by student leaders. In the same light, there has been little shared with the Greek community at Alfred State in regard to what are considered meaningful activities. This document provides specificity in what are deemed as prohibited activities. In addition, the remainder of the document provides specific examples of what is considered meaningful rush, pledging, and induction practices. Over the course of recent years, many of our student leaders have eliminated inappropriate activities and replaced them with a number of meaningful activities contained herein.

All Greek life activities must ascribe to the four tenets of Greek life: leadership development, scholarship, philanthropic activities, and the promotion of brotherhood/sisterhood (or life-long friendship). The meaningful pledging activities described below meet one or more of these tenets. Finally, although this document was developed for and in conjunction with the Greek life community, many of the laws, prohibited activities, and meaningful activities are also applicable to athletic teams, student clubs, and any organized activity sponsored by the College. If you are interested in learning more about the information contained herein, please contact the director of Civic Engagement, the associate vice president for Student Life or the vice president for Student Affairs who will answer any questions, concerns, or strategies you would like to explore in the future. Let’s enjoy the student life experience available to all of us, and let us do so in a way that we create memorable, legal, and safe programs and activities.

back to top

Section I: Campus Pledging Regulations & State Laws

The right to conduct pledging activities at Alfred State College is reserved for groups recognized with exclusionary status with the College. Specifically, pledging is limited to recognized student organizations who are members of the Greek Senate. No other student group recognized by the College is authorized to pledge at Alfred State College. Pledging regulations are based upon the requirements set forth in New York State law and with the standards established in the College’s student code of conduct. Those references are included in this section of this document. Specific prohibited and permissible rush and pledging activities are denoted in the sections to follow and are based upon the laws and College regulations stated here.

back to top

Section 15: Hazing (Student Code of Conduct)

Philosophy and Rationale: Any organization, individual, or agency not acting in accordance with the Alfred State College Hazing Regulations and the NYS Penal Code will be subject to disciplinary action.

Organizations which operate upon the campus of Alfred State College or upon the property of Alfred State College used for educational purposes, or any recognized organizations operating off campus, shall be prohibited from: taking any action, creating or participating in the creation of any situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health of any person, or which involves the forced consumption of alcoholic beverages or drugs by a person for the purpose of initiation into or affiliation with any organization.

Alfred State College also enforces local, state, and federal law, specifically including, but not limited to NYS Penal Law, NYS Education Law, and New York Code Rules and Regulations (NYCRR).

Regulations and Guidelines: Section 6450 (1) of the Education Law requires that the provisions of 8 NYCRR 535, which prohibits reckless or intentional endangerment to health of forced consumption of alcoholic beverages or drugs for the purpose of initiation into or affiliation with any organization, shall be deemed to be part of the bylaws of all organizations which operate upon the campus of any state-operated institution used for educational purposes. The statute further requires that each such organization shall review these bylaws annually with individuals affiliated with the organization.

Under the Penal Law, a person can be found guilty of hazing in the first degree (a Class A misdemeanor) if the person is found to be "intentionally or recklessly engaging in conduct which creates a substantial risk of physical injury to such other person or a third person and thereby causes such injury" (Penal Law, 120.16). An offense designated as hazing in the second degree (a violation) incorporates a nearly identical definition except that no actual injury to any person need be proved (Penal Law, 120.17). A conviction of this offense can carry up to 15 days in jail, a monetary fine, and community service obligations.

Whenever the chief administrative officer has determined, on the basis of a complaint or personal knowledge, that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a violation(s) exists of these provisions by any organization which shall state the provision proscribing the conduct and shall specify the facts alleged to constitute such violation.

Such written charges shall be served upon the principal student officer of the organization by the College.

Upon written request by an authorized representative of the organization, the associate dean for Judicial Affairs, as the vice president for Student Affairs’ designee, shall provide the representative of the organization an opportunity for a hearing. The Student Conduct Committee shall hear or receive any testimony or evidence which is relevant and material to the issues presented by the charge which will contribute to a full and fair consideration thereof and determination thereon. In cases of alleged violations of recognized Greek organizations, the case shall be heard before the Greek Judicial Board. The organization’s representative may confront and examine witnesses against it and may produce witnesses and documentary evidence on its behalf. The Student Conduct Committee (or where appropriate, the Greek Judicial Board) shall submit written findings of fact and recommendations for disposition of the charge to the associate dean for Judicial Affairs. Notice of the decision shall be in writing, shall include the reasons supporting such decision, and shall be served on the principal officer of the organization by mail in the manner described in the above paragraph within a reasonable time after such decision is made.

back to top

Hazing in the 1st and 2nd Degree (State Law)

Organizations shall be prohibited from: taking any action, creating or participating in the creation of any situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health of any person, or which involves the forced consumption of alcoholic beverages or drugs by a person for the purpose of initiation into or affiliation with any organization.

Under the Penal Law; a person can be found guilty of hazing in the first degree (a Class A misdemeanor) if the person is found to be "intentionally or recklessly engaging in conduct which creates a substantial risk of physical injury to such other person or a third person and thereby causes such injury." (Penal Law 120.16) (Note – new legislation has been introduced to make this offense a felony.)

An offense designated as hazing in the second degree (a violation) incorporates a nearly identical definition except that no actual injury to any person need be proved (Penal Law 120.17). A conviction of this offense can carry up to 15 days in jail, a monetary fine, and community service obligations.

Regulations and Guidelines: Section 6450 (1) of the Education Law prohibits reckless or intentional endangerment to health of forced consumption of alcoholic beverages or drugs for the purpose of initiation into or affiliation with any organization, shall be deemed to be part of the bylaws of all organizations which operate upon the campus of any state-operated institution used for educational purposes. The statute further requires that each organization shall review these bylaws annually with individuals affiliated with the organization.

Any organization which permits the prohibited conduct described shall be subject to the permanent rescision of permission to operate upon the campus or upon the property of the state-operated institution used for educational purposes; or, in the alternative, a period of suspension of said permission to operate; or probationary status with supervised conditions of operation. The penalty provided in the subdivision shall be in addition to any penalty which may be imposed pursuant to the Penal Law and any other provision of law, or to any penalty to which an individual may be subject pursuant to 8 NYCRR 535.

Section 6450 of the Education Law requires that the provisions of 8 NYCRR 5355, which prohibits reckless or intentional endangerment to health or forced consumption of alcoholic beverages or drugs for the purpose of initiation into or affiliation with any organization, shall be deemed to be part of the bylaws of all organizations which operate upon the campus of any state-operated institution used for educational purposes. The statute further requires that each such organization shall review these bylaws annually with individuals affiliated with the organization.

Under the Penal Law, a person can be found guilty of hazing in the first degree (a Class A misdemeanor) if, in the course of a person’s "intentionally or recklessly engaging in conduct which creates a substantial risk of physical injury to such other person or a third person and thereby causes such injury" (Penal Law, 120.16). A conviction of this offense now carries a potential penalty of a fine of up to $1,000, one year in jail, or both. An offense designated as hazing in the second degree (a violation) incorporates a nearly identical definition except that no actual injury to any person need be proven (Penal Law, 120.17).

Range of Sanctions:

  • Organizational suspension to organizational expulsion
  • Individual disciplinary probation to expulsion (for students charged individually)

back to top

Campus Regulation Prohibiting Affiliation with Expelled Student Organizations

Students are prohibited from pledging, joining, or accepting membership with a fraternity, sorority, or student organization which has been expelled.

Range of Sanction: Suspension to expulsion *

Given the College’s concern regarding the physical and/or mental health risk expelled student organizations pose to individual students, individual students who join expelled student organizations can be charged with this regulation and receive a sanction that dismisses them from the College. Students who choose to rush, pledge, and/or join an expelled organization can be charged disciplinarily and dismissed from the College.

* In those instances where the student presents to the appellate officer mitigating circumstances regarding the severity of the sanction imposed, the appellate officer may choose to impose a lesser sanction.

back to top

Section II: Clarifying Prohibited Pledging Activities

A review of the state laws and College regulations points to what is prohibited conduct, but does not always provide the level of clarity individuals might wish to have when considering (a) how best to plan appropriate and meaningful activities for pledges and/or (b) if the activity they have been asked to participate in is permissible or not. This section is intended to clarify permissible and prohibited pledging activities.

There are also beliefs about pledging that reside in our community that sometimes contribute to confusion among Greek lettered organizations. Nineteen myths about hazing are shared here to clarify what is not permissible and why.

back to top

Nineteen Myths of Hazing

Hazing is such a hot-button topic that there are frequent myths and half-truths about it. Here, we address some of the common misconceptions surrounding the issue of hazing.

Myth: The definition is so vague that anything can be considered hazing – it’s such a gray area.
Reality: Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the activity involve mental distress such as humiliation or intimidation?
  • Does it involve physical abuse (e.g., sleep deprivation)?
  • Is there a significant risk of injury or a question of safety?
  • Would you have any reservations describing the activity to your parent or a university official?
  • Would you be worried if the activity was shown on the evening news?

If the answer to any of the above questions is "yes", the activity is probably hazing.

Case law over 20 years in higher education has clearly identified prohibited pledging practices.

Myth: Hazing only exists in fraternities and sororities.
Reality: Hazing incidents have occurred across the country in athletic teams, military units, performing art groups, religious groups, and other types of clubs and organizations. Hazing occurs in high schools as well as on college campuses.

Myth: New members want to be hazed.
Reality: Occasionally there are new members who say they want to be hazed. But generally, most do not want to be humiliated, intimidated, or physically abused. "Wanting" to be hazed usually means desiring an intense, challenging experience. It is not necessary to haze new members in order to challenge them.

Myth: Hazing only “a little bit” is not really that bad.
Reality: While there are more and less severe forms of hazing, even low-level hazing crosses the line. Even a "little" hazing can have an unintended negative impact on new members. And if the action meets the definition of hazing, the group will get in trouble if caught.

Myth: Hazing builds unity among new members.
Reality: Hazing may create unity among new members, but often there are costs as well. The effect of hazing on a group can be like the effect of a hurricane on a community: residents feel closer to each other afterward but some may be suffering. Would anyone suggest that it is good for a community to be hit by a hurricane?

Myth: Hazing is the only method for holding new members accountable.
Reality: While holding new members accountable may be important, there are effective ways to do so without hazing. Effective parents, teachers, and bosses all know ways to hold others accountable without humiliating, degrading, or physically hurting them. These skills can be learned.

Myth: “If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.”
Reality: If this statement was true, then child abuse and torture would be prescriptions for personal growth. So while it’s true that difficult situations can help individuals grow and prepare for life’s challenges, many experiences that don’t "kill" nevertheless do damage because of their psychological or physical impact.

Myth: Hazing is okay as long as it is not physically dangerous.
Reality: Mental hazing can be brutal and leave lasting psychological scars. Some victims report that the mental hazing they endured was worse than being physically abused.

Myth: Hazing is a way to improve the attitude and character of a new member.
Reality: Hazing often generates anger and resentment. Plus it teaches that "values" such as deception, coercion, and intimidation are acceptable means for achieving your goals.

Myth: As long as there’s no malicious intent, a little hazing should be okay.
Reality: Even if there’s no malicious "intent," safety may still be a factor in traditional hazing activities that are considered to be "all in good fun." For example, serious accidents have occurred during scavenger hunts. And when members are drunk they sometimes subject the new member to more than they originally intended.

Myth: Hazing continues because everyone in the group supports it.
Reality: Many group members may not approve of hazing but go along with the activity because they mistakenly believe that everyone else agrees with it. This reign of terror helps to perpetuate hazing. The strongest supporters of hazing are often the most vocal and dominant members.

Myth: If someone agrees to participate in an activity, it can’t be considered hazing.
Reality: In states that have laws against hazing, consent of the victim can’t be used as a defense. This is because even if someone agrees to participate in a potentially hazardous action, it may not be true consent because of peer pressure, intentional or unintentional threats, and the withholding of information about what will occur.

Myth: Because alumni and current members were hazed, it is only fair that the new members go through it too.
Reality: "Tradition" does not justify subjecting new members to abuse. Traditions are created by groups, and groups hold the power to change or eliminate them. It only takes one year to break a hazing tradition. Remember that the founding members of the organization were not hazed.

Myth: Eliminating hazing makes an organization just like any other social club. It will be too easy to become a member.
Reality: Hazing is not necessary for an initiation experience to be challenging and unique. A well-organized, creative program will build group cohesion and foster character development. Any group can haze new members – that’s the easy way out. It takes vision and commitment to run a good, non-hazing program.

Myth: Enduring hazing is a sign of strength.
Reality: While it does take a certain strength to make it through hazing, many people submit to it because they desire acceptance by others, are afraid to resist, or feel a need to prove to themselves or others that they are worthy or tough enough (e.g., "a real man"). These motives reflect conformity, fear, and insecurity, which are not qualities typically associated with strength. In contrast, standing up to a group of abusive peers or breaking free from hazing takes courage. That’s real strength.

Myth: Hazing practices preserve the uniqueness and exclusiveness of the group.
Reality: Since hazing practices are secret, group members often don’t realize that their "unique" practices are typically variations on a common themes: extensive memorization with verbal abuse for incorrect answers, sleep deprivation, servitude, kidnapping, drinking rituals, calisthenics, lineups, cleaning up messes, isolation of members, theft, impossible games, sexual embarrassment, inappropriate clothing, absurd scavenger hunts, unpalatable food, and physical violence.

Myth: Other groups on campus will not respect an organization that does not haze.
Reality: A positive, educational program will result in better all-around organization and the ability to attract the best new members. Being able to recruit the best students will earn the respect of the other groups.

Myth: Hazing is no more than pranks that sometimes go awry.
Reality: Accidents happen during hazing, but hazing is not accidental. It is premeditated abuse that can be emotionally traumatic, physically dangerous, or even life-threatening.

Myth: Hazing must be okay if the military does it.
Reality: The U.S. military does not, in fact, condone hazing practices. The military does engage in a unique type of training for dangerous military operations. This training is conducted by professionals to prepare military personnel for putting their lives on the line for their country. According to the Dept. of the Army’s TRADOC Regulation 350-6: "Hazing is strictly prohibited" and is "an offense punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice."

back to top

Prohibited Activities

What activities are considered hazing and/or are prohibited by college policy?

Alfred State College defines hazing as any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, conditions students to behave in such a manner that would not mirror civil, appropriate, and/or responsible student conduct for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with an organization.

back to top

Forced Choice Concept

For the purpose of this discussion, any activity as described above which is the initiation or admission into or affiliation with an organization is directly or indirectly conditioned shall be presumed to be a "forced activity," the willingness of the individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding.

Basically the courts (and subsequently college policies) have determined that the pledge’s desire to gain membership removes from them the ability to truly refuse or opt out from anything that occurs during pledging. They are compelled to comply.

The organization is completely responsible for the well-being of the pledges during pledging; never let them out of your sight (no handing them over to another house or alums or anybody else for that matter).

Such terms shall include, but are not limited to:

Any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, marching, walking on line; chanting/greeting that disrupts the College and/or local community or are derogatory or pejorative in any way; exposure to the elements; forced consumption of any liquid, food, liquor, drug; or other forced activities such as public stunts or acts of buffoonery, which adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual.

back to top

Prohibited Treatment of Pledges

To consider the pledge as someone “less” than the member is disrespectful and prohibited and is completely devoid of any of the four tenets of Greek life (scholarship, leadership, brotherhood/sisterhood, philanthropy). Members are not “better” than pledges. If this attitude pervades the group, harm, harassment, demeaning and then hazing activities will follow thereafter and that is why it is so important for members to rethink what pledging is and what it is not.

To believe that the pledge has to “earn” membership through difficult activities that translate into hurting, harassing, harming, demeaning, causing fear, or pressuring the pledge is devoid of the four tenets of Greek life (scholarship, leadership, brotherhood/sisterhood, philanthropy).

Pledging is a process for pledges to determine if they understand what is required of them in the form of commitment to fulfill their responsibilities to being Greek and for the organization to determine if the pledge is ready to fulfill this level of responsibility.

back to top

Examples of Prohibited Activities

Physical activities: calisthenics, sit-ups, push-ups, running stairs, exercise, work sessions, or carrying heavy objects such as bricks or stones is prohibited; carrying any other items which serve to create physical hardships, discomfort, distress, or excessive fatigue is also not permitted. Depriving pledges of sleep, of maintaining cleanliness and personal hygiene is prohibited.

Physical exposure or abuse: nudity, paddling (including paddle swats), pushing, shoving, hitting, punching, striking, tackling, or throwing any substance at another person or submerging or dunking individuals in water or other substances or any physical contact with the pledge that could be considered to be uncomfortable, unwelcoming, threatening, or intimidating to a reasonable individual. Branding on any part of the body, whether voluntary or involuntary, is prohibited, as well as application of foreign substances (rubs, salves, etc.) to the body. There is never any legitimate reason to make physical contact with the pledge or invade his/her personal space as a part of any activity during pledging.

Forced or required consumption of any substance: Requesting the pledge to consume any substance whatsoever, including any food (including but not limited to dishwater, dirty water, raw meat, chili peppers, concoctions of any kind), objects, drugs alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, regardless if the item was swallowed, is prohibited as any physical contact with the pledge by anyone in a pledging activity (formal or informal, organized or unorganized) is considered a violation of the personal space of the pledge and is prohibited.

Psychological abuse and/or humiliation:

  • Dress - requiring individuals to dress in revealing (nudity, near nudity, exposure of any genitalia), embarrassing (anything that could be construed as derogatory or pejorative to a reasonable person), or uncomfortable clothing. Depriving pledges from maintaining normal schedule of cleanliness and personal hygiene (minimum of one shower a day) is prohibited. Depriving pledge of normal personal level of privacy is not permitted. Pledge hats and shirts are permissible as long as they do not reveal, embarrass, or make derogatory references to the pledge.
  • Weather - exposing individuals to extremely uncomfortable or dangerous environments (too loud, dark, small, hot – over 75 degrees or cold - below 30 degrees).
  • Interrogation/verbal abuse - any form of interrogation of individuals, name-calling, or screaming at individuals; requiring individuals to perform any acts which are construed to be humiliating or degrading in nature which include but are not limited to being disrespectful, mean-spirited, putting/placing the pledge "below" the member with rules that infer control over personal behavior such as barring pledges to look at others, speak to others, spend time with others. Members can give feedback and only in a manner that is respectful and not mean-spirited.
  • Harassment (including physical, bias-related, or sexual) - any form of unwelcome, threatening, or intimidating behavior is harassment and includes behavior such as threatening harm to a pledge for dropping or quitting pledging or harassment of any form of a former pledge. Forcing or coercing pledges to list of their faults or "sins" believing they must disclose that information to members. Requiring the pledge to engage in sexual acts, bias-related behaviors, or physically or verbally harassing behaviors with anyone else or upon themselves is also harassment.
  • Psychological hazing - any act which is likely to:
    1. compromise the dignity of a member or pledge,
    2. cause embarrassment or shame to a member or pledge,
    3. cause a member or pledge to be the object of malicious amusement or ridicule, or
    4. cause psychological harm or substantial emotional stress. Any degrading or malicious references made to the pledges or about the pledges are prohibited.
  • Depletion - refusal to allow emotionally or physically depleted individuals the opportunity to recover as a result of any activity or incident that occurs during pledging is prohibited.

Forced servitude: requiring pledges to complete tasks or chores that personally benefit individuals affiliated with the organization or another student group such as cleaning the rooms of members, alums, other Greek organization members, and/or advisers’ and/or running personal errands, or other services or duties not normally shared by initiated members.

Requiring activities that are prohibited under state law or college regulations: awakening individuals during the night for organization activities, requiring excessive periods other than for regular library hours and/or interfering with normal sleep or study schedules (i.e., pledging activities that occur before 7 a.m. any day or past Midnight Sunday through Thursday and/or past 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday). Requiring pledges to steal, damage, or destroy property is prohibited.

Kidnapping: involuntary transportation or abduction of individuals (pledge kidnaps) or leaving individuals at off-campus locations and requiring them to find their way home is prohibited.

Caves: required sleeping and/or living as a group in any residence hall other than those to which they are assigned to as overnight guest when such numbers exceed the beds available is not permitted.

Academics: Any pledging activity (organized or unorganized) that interferes or disrupts the pledge’s attendance or successful participation in classes, study schedules, academic work groups, college work commitment, or access to established tutoring or learning assistance programs is prohibited.

Goals & Laws: Any activity superfluous to the organizations stated purposes or goals is a violation of college policy, regulations, New York State or Federal law is prohibited.

back to top

Section III: Maximizing Pledging Programs

Just knowing what is prohibited doesn’t make a good pledge program. Each pledging activity can be memorable and still be permissible under campus policies and regulations. If the activity isn’t truly meaningful, it isn’t going to help the pledge to learn the value and appreciation of lifelong friendship, responsibility, and commitment. The basis of any good pledging program is that it will emulate the four tenets of being Greek. Without these four tenets present in pledging and in the lives of members, the experience of being Greek will fall short for these individuals. When that happens, over time, the organization will decline.

The scope and timing of pledging activities is also of concern to the College. During the recognized four week pledging process, activities must conclude by 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday evening and by 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Organizations should be considerate of morning start times for activities if pledging programs have occurred into the later hours on the preceding evening.

back to top

Four Tenets of Being Greek

  1. Scholarship - promoting academic success and excellence, more than just library hours.
  2. Leadership - providing leadership training and development, from the informal to the formal.
  3. Philanthropy - meaningful community service.
  4. Brotherhood/Sisterhood (and Greek Governance) - the life-long friendships, commitments and memories, the risk management obligations, the responsibility, accountability, trust, and rapport with each other, and the commitment to Greek-lettered organizations and Greek governance (no one puts another group down).

back to top

Getting the Most Out of Pledging

Pledging has to directly link to the four tenets. It is for the pledges and you. They have to figure you out and you have to figure them out… you and they are on equal footing. It has to be meaningful and purposeful. It cannot be something done just because it has always been done this way. If you do not know why you are doing it or it is prohibited, it needs to change. Anytime you have the feeling that the activity is "meaningless and/or non-prohibited," it is time to change and explore ways to make the activity "meaningful and permissible." The remainder of this document includes examples of permissible and meaningful pledging activities.

back to top

Scholarship – Instead of Just Library Hours

  • Study in location best for academic success.
  • Create pledge class competition - attend all classes.
  • Create pledge class competition - sit in front of class and alert.
  • Create pledge class competition - ask questions.
  • Create pledge class competition - check notes with instructor.
  • Attend Time Management seminar in first week – develop TM program for a semester as pledge.
  • Attend note taking seminar second week.
  • Attend stress management/test taking skills third week.
  • Assign academic chair to meet regularly with pledges.
  • Get tutors for pledges who need assistance.
  • Have pledges set GPA goal for pledge class (efforts to assist each other continues past pledging period).
  • Organization recognizes pledge(s) academic success weekly.
  • Create "biggest - little gain" in academic competition in pledge class.
  • Host nutrition event with pledges/members.
  • Pledges give highest GPA of member a recognition item.
  • Have campus staff do a session on managing stress/depression/relationship/conflict.

back to top

Philanthropy - Instead of a House Community Service Project

  • Plan a campus fundraiser by or with pledges.
  • Clean up part of town for village officials.
  • Volunteer for a soup kitchen.
  • Plant a pledge class tree on campus.
  • Start sustainability effort on campus or in the community.
  • Raise money for needy families.
  • Visit children in cancer facility.
  • Visit elderly at facility and have them tell stories of their lives and you share how you see like today.
  • Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.
  • Host biggest "__" on campus competition - penny vote - donate proceeds to charity.

back to top

Leadership - Instead of Waiting for Leaders to Emerge

  • Pledge completes a "self assessment" and maps out a leadership plan (which will extend beyond pledging).
  • Keep a leadership development journal (and beyond pledging).
  • Challenge course - outside facilitator.
  • Attend campus leadership seminars.
  • Run for office in a club outside the organization.
  • Diversity - play BAFAwhat is this? with membership/pledges.
  • Greek Senate - orientation and meaning and function of Greek Senate.
  • Form all pledge classes - governance group - run mock governance day on weekend - pose problem for all pledges to solve as a governance group.
  • Require pledges to read and discuss leadership book.
  • Attend campus speaker presentation on leadership.
  • Have alum speak with pledges and brothers/sisters on leadership.
  • Have Student Senate president speak to pledges about students exercising their voice in college issues.
  • Watch a movie on leadership and discuss.
  • Shadow campus leader for a day.
  • Attend seminar on how to run a meeting.
  • Take Meyer Briggs or other leadership assessment instrument.
  • Have pledges and brothers strategize how to appropriately keep members/pledges motivated.
  • Have the mayor, vice president, dean, college president speak on community involvement/government.
  • Have pledges and members register to vote.
  • Co-host voter registration on campus.
  • Coordinate campus debate (election-related or campus topic).

back to top

Brotherhood/Sisterhood

  • Recite history – What about your history is significant, meaningful, important to carry forth for future pledge classes? Why? Is this the best way to accomplish the "why?"
  • Greetings - Is the greeting respectful to all or not? What are you teaching when it's not…. What does the greeting truly signify (fun?, history?, unity?, getting to "know" member?)?
  • Sing songs - Develop and sing songs that are uplifting without glorifying alcohol or sex or putting down other groups.
  • Rituals - Taking an oath or making ritual statement with meaning!!
  • Getting to know members - Line History - Ask yourself what is meaningful for knowing line history. Does this translate into really knowing a member?
  • Getting to know members – Pledge Class History - Ask yourself what is meaningful for knowing who was in which pledge class. Does this learning translate into really knowing a member?
  • Reciting organizational values - Activities that model espoused core values of organization - Listing them is one thing; teaching pledge class how brothers model values is another….Discussions need to occur, activities that model importance of core values to members.
  • Serenades – Old Greek custom for members and pledges to honor all other houses… was revered by all members of campus community.
  • Vaguely defining brotherhood/sisterhood - Teaching brotherhood/sisterhood in terms of (a) support, (b) raising up others, (c) lifelong friendships, (d) accountability. Have a discussion of the relevance of your organization’s principles and values.

back to top

Brotherhood/Sisterhood - Instead of Just Being Social with Members

  • Alcohol-free social for the members/for campus semi-formal.
  • Etiquette seminar.
  • Risk management - hosting events seminar.
  • Risk management - pledging seminar.
  • Pledge surprise party hosted by members.
  • Invite campus adviser to lunch with pledges.
  • Have Greek Senate leader speak to pledges about Greek governance and meaning of inter-Greek relations.
  • Dinner and a movie on Greek life.
  • Pledges attend chapter meeting to build understanding about house operations and their obligations to be full participants
  • Host Parents Weekend/Homecoming activity.
  • Pledges and members make "secret" gifts for each other.
  • Host campus wide "meet new member" picnic.
  • Pledges participate in intramural team separate from members.
  • Attend an event a non-Greek organization is hosting.
  • Attend an event a non-Greek organization is hosting on a cultural/multicultural topic/activity.
  • Deconstruct past hazing activities with pledges to understand why it is a problem.
  • Pledges write letter to "founders/alums" to thank them for the opportunity to experience organization.
  • Discuss how group has evolved over time.

back to top

Alternatives to Hazing

Examples of alternatives to hazing from various sources:

back to top