This time of year, photos and posts of families traveling to college campuses fill our social media newsfeeds. We have all seen the images of thousands of eager students arriving on the front steps of their new home for their next — or even their first — academic year. I am unsure who tops the chart for most anxious: the student or those delivering them! For me, these posts bring back a plethora of memories of excitement and concern; the most poignant trepidation for the safety of my daughters on campus, in their residence halls, at off-campus events and in the community.
September kicks off National Campus Safety Awareness Month, which helps raise awareness about issues affecting campuses throughout the nation, including personal safety, substance abuse, sexual assault, interpersonal violence and hazing. Campuses offer programming designed to raise awareness and educate students. On many of those campuses, sorority and fraternity communities are vigilant in providing opportunities for education and participation in communitywide safety initiatives and exposure to campus resources. Again this September, the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) launches the student safety initiative The Red Zone (#TheRedZone). The social media campaign is designed to raise awareness about the vulnerability female students face during their first 90 days on campus.
NPC and its 26 member organizations are resolute in women supporting women on college campuses. Sororities create communities that offer safe spaces for women built on respect for one another. Hazing or any act of individual degradation is never condoned or tolerated by NPC member organizations. This commitment to combat hazing could be seen this July when NPC joined a host of fraternal “umbrella” organizations and higher-education professionals to endorse new anti-hazing legislation called the 2017 Report and Educate About Campus Hazing (REACH) Act.
Also during the month of September, NPC and its member organizations partner with HazingPrevention.Org to actively promote and engage in National Hazing Prevention Week Sept. 18-22.
While writing this message and considering the safety and well-being of students back on campus, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are affecting the lives of thousands. To our students: Be safe and respect the safety of one another. To our families: Please know that through our network of partnerships with campus administrators, staff and the 26 member organizations, NPC stands prepared to assist, support and help ensure student safety on college campuses.