8-30-16 Bid Day

Phi Mu sorority sisters are all smiles about their sisterhood on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, during Bid Day on Sorority Row.

Despite popular belief, Greek Life has changed for the better within the last year.  Greek Life has made progress toward positive changes because of the horrific death of freshman pledge Max Gruver one year ago. Organizations in the Panhellenic Council, Interfraternity Council and National Pan-Hellenic Council have accepted the changes enforced by the Greek Life Task Force last year and put forth effort in numerous accounts to change the direction of Greek Life on campus.

Rae Ann Gruver, Max’s mother, visited the Omega chapter of Alpha Delta Pi as an alumna last week to meet the women and discuss the fundraiser to benefit her son’s foundation. A basketball tournament is being hosted on campus between all Greek organizations and other organizations, and they are donating all proceeds to the Max Gruver Foundation.

Greek Life enforced a strict alcohol policy to lessen the dangers occurring at Greek social events. The change has been accepted and respected by the organizations on campus. They have been understanding of the decision-making behind the rules and continue to respect the benefits of the changes. The alcohol restraints have made social events safer, and the Greek community is on board to make campus a place free of hazing, where all members can feel at home.

Hazing on campus is being closely monitored, allowing for new members to have a safe, fun experience. This is the experience that Max should have had, but in his honor, the University is working to make this experience available for all new members. Resources are available for students to report anonymous claims to authorities regarding hazing or any feelings of discomfort. The efforts being made by Greek Life are tremendous, making organizations respect the new rules realizing the dedication and time spent behind them.

Some fraternities have already initiated members, meaning they did not have a “pledgeship”, which is when the majority of hazing occurs. The typical pledge and upperclassmen relationship has ceased, causing new members to feel like brothers or sisters of their organizations rather than the derogatory term “pledges.” The pranking, rules and bullying have stopped, allowing freshmen to feel comfortable transitioning into their lives at the University.

Greek Life visited chapters on campus speaking to their new members about their resources as well as their active members to discuss important intervention training and rules. This change allowed the new members to feel comfortable in a judgement-free safe space.This yearly seminar benefits the active members of Greek organizations reminding them of the importance of safety on campus.

Greek Life also set forth a policy banishing new member-exclusive events during the first week of pledgeship. This change allowed for smoother integration of the new members into their chapters. Rather than separating them, chapters at the University participated in events with their new members, forming bonds and harboring healthy relationships.

Greek Life has made strides in the right direction and continues to make these positive changes. Students on campus understand the severity of hazing and alcohol abuse and are working to make the University a campus where safety, physical and mental health are valued.

Britany Diefenderfer is a 20-year old English literature junior from Thibodaux,

Louisiana.

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