National Hazing Prevention Week, hosted by the Division of Student Life and the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life (OSFL), ran from Sept. 20-24. UT Greek Life hosted many events for students to express the importance of hazing prevention, as well as to educate the community on the impacts of hazing, a term used broadly for harmful initiation rituals.
Painting the Rock is a tradition on campus that the university utilizes for many types of occasions. Students, university organizations and faculty members were invited to come and paint their organization name on the Rock to encourage and express their support for putting an end to hazing in Greek life.
At the event, it was obvious that everyone understood the importance of hazing prevention. Greek life, especially at bigger universities with a large Greek presence, have been deeply impacted by hazing and the impacts of dangerous initiation processes.
OSFL’s Hazing Prevention Week hosted a Hazing Prevention 101 in the Student Union, a button giveaway on Ped Walkway, Hazing EDU Facilitator Training and the Paint the Rock event, all to educate and raise awareness on the importance of hazing prevention as well as the immense cautionary measures that must be taken and put in place in order to protect all students on college campuses.
Hazing prevention is an cause that many believe requires ample attention in order to promote positivity in the Greek community instead of negative influences that have struck many universities. Hazing prevention is not only a precautionary measure, but also something that honors those that have suffered the effects and impacts of hazing.
UTK Greek Life’s Instagram post for National Hazing Prevention said that the event was meant to foster a university community that “supports the physical, mental and emotional well-being of its members.”
“Impact should match the intention of an activity or behavior,” the post read. “Even if it’s well-intentioned, it may still be hazing.”
The post further emphasized the idea that even if something is not physical, intentional or voluntary, it can still be hazing and that students should always consider what the possible impact and consequences could be of any activity.
Freshman Kelsie Weber participated in painting the Rock in order to learn more about the cause and express her sorority’s support.
“Being a Phi Mu, it was awesome to see my letters supporting something that is very important to me and our chapter,” Weber said.
55% of college students report having been hazed, and with hazing experiences within our own community, events like Hazing Prevention Week are designed to raise awareness across our campus.
The hosts of the event painted the Rock white and wrote ‘Hazing Prevention’ on it. They then offered black paint to the organization members to write their Greek letters, organizational name or places of work to offer support of the preventative measures.
After the Rock was painted, it was covered by many organizations on campus. Witnessing all sorts of organizations, from Rec Sports to OSFL, express their passion for hazing prevention and safety in organizations on campus seemed to represent what it means to be a true Tennessee Volunteer.