GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA (September 25, 2015) — The Alpha Phi Chapter at the University of Florida is taking a stand against hazing by providing campus wide awareness from the leadership and experience of its chapter president, Rachel E. Bowden, Florida ’13.
On college campuses, many organizations have deep roots in their traditions. In some cases, a person might not see their actions as hazing or causing distress to their members simply because of the tradition behind the acts. Hazing can occur in many forms; from an intentional situation involving embarrassment, harassment or ridicule, to the unintentional emotional or physical harm. If you witness a situation that leaves you wondering if you were personally hazed or if you saw someone being hazed, speak up and ask for assistance in addressing the situation. Sometimes a simple question can make a large impact.
As a chapter officer, Bowden took it upon herself to make sure hazing had no place within her chapter and to educate the chapter members. “Our organization has taken a radical stance against hazing in our chapter. Many members of our chapter are also involved in other organizations, to which they are bringing these ideas,” says Bowden. Like most chapters of Alpha Kappa Psi, members are heavily involved in other activities, which provide an opportunity for them to spread their knowledge of hazing prevention to their peers. One of the best sources for encouragement and advice to end hazing comes from other students.
“From attending PBLI and Convention, it became clear that we weren’t the only chapter that struggles with getting a chapter to change its culture,” said Bowden. “It was empowering to see other student leaders, however, also fighting to eradicate hazing from their chapter culture. I met many other student leaders at Convention with which I shared my experiences in Alpha Phi, and learned how they were addressing the issue.” Along with the Alpha Phi Chapter, the Theta Sigma Chapter at Texas State (San Marcos) and the Iota Sigma Chapter at Sam Houston have taken incredible steps to improve chapter policies and bring awareness to the issues surrounding hazing.