Greek Life at the University has made many positive changes in the last few years. However, sororities and fraternities practice of creating pomping structures for Homecoming week is a long-standing tradition in need of reform. The tradition is harmful to many groups of people and the environment. The structures have no beneficial qualities whatsoever.
My freshman year, I put in over 20 hours of “pomping,” which involves rolling pieces of tissue paper into tiny balls and gluing them onto wooden structures. These hours are required for sorority members and fraternity pledges. These requirements complicate the transition a freshman must go through when immersing his or herself into the college lifestyle. For upperclassmen, these required hours take away from school work, internships or other responsibilities they possess.
Besides the harm the Homecoming tradition does to students’ educations, it is also physically harmful. The hours of rubbing paper in one’s palms creates brush burns and bruises. Most sororities require a certain amount of hours from their members to go to social events or avoid fines. My sorority requires ten hours to go to our last social event this semester. The requirements are even greater at other sororities.
Fraternities at the University require their pledges to go to the sorority house of the organization they are paired with and pomp there for a few hours every week. This reinforces traditions that have qualities similar to hazing. Forcing freshman to participate in these activities which most define as miserable is wrong. The activity is not beneficial or enjoyable to any Greek life members, but only takes time away from their school work and social lives.
The monstrous amounts of money spent on the tissue, wood, paint and glue for these structures is ludicrous. Those thousands of dollars could be allocated to more beneficial causes in the Baton Rouge community, which is in dire need. Organizations in the Greek community at the University focus more on social events than they do on philanthropic opportunities when both are equally important.
Kappa Alpha Theta at the University of Alabama set aside the $2,500 they normally use for pomping to donate to a charity close to their hearts. They raised almost $17,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. One of their own committed suicide the year before and they couldn’t fathom wasting money on the pomping structures when they could use this money for a worthy cause.
The University’s Panhellenic community has a petition circulating urging students to stand up against the pomping tradition and make a change. Everyone should stand with this movement. The amount of money wasted, the physical and emotional burden it places on the students and the damage it does to this Earth are reason enough to end this harmful “tradition.”
Britany Diefenderfer is a 20-year-old English literature junior from Thibodaux, Louisiana.