September finds parents and families with a melancholy feeling over a summer gone and with a refocus on the school year ahead. Many of those same families will pack a car overflowing with pillows, comforters, fans and supplies as they sojourn to the campus of choice with their student. I’m a mom, and I made the journey with our two daughters for a number of years ... exhilarated for the academic year ahead, but also anxious knowing the choices and decisions they would make could impact their safety and overall well-being.
For our youngest sorority members and their peers, the first 90 days on campus should be defined by orientation, engagement, intellectual challenge and making friends, but for far too many the first 90 days can be a time of vulnerability defined by uncomfortable and questionable choices, pressure to conform and potentially compromised personal safety.
The month of September is designated as Campus Safety Awareness Month. Universities and colleges across the country are laser focused on the health, safety and well-being of their students, especially during those first few weeks on campus. The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) pledges the same commitment to safety messages and resources for students through partnerships and social media campaigns to heighten awareness.
During the month of September, NPC will focus on two initiatives, sharing resources to a broad audience including its 26 NPC member sororities and their members, College Panhellenic communities and female students touched through social media platforms. The initiatives include:
- The Red Zone – the first six weeks of school is when students are most at risk for sexual assault and/or violence. NPC launched a social media campaign Aug. 22 that continues through Oct. 2, providing information and tips on staying safe, bystander intervention and reporting instances of sexual violence. We also encourage you to use this resource on consent to discuss sexual assault during #TheRedZone.
- National Hazing Prevention Week, Sept. 19-13 – NPC has partnered with HazingPrevention.org, NALFO, NAPA, NIC, NMGC and NPHC on a positive social media campaign, #IbelieveinGreeks, about what fraternal organizations are doing and can do to prevent hazing. Consider watching the video below with your chapter or Panhellenic community to keep the conversation going about hazing during this week.
Protection of good health is central and primary to the student experience. NPC is appreciative to our member organizations, industry and higher education partners for their collaboration in carrying the message of campus and student safety beyond the month of September. We applaud your efforts to weave the message of safety into new member programs, chapter programming and the total student campus life experience.