I remember the days vividly years ago that I dropped off my daughters at their respective universities as they started their new college lives. First, the excitement for them to embrace their education, make new friends and start their adult lives. Then, my nervousness as I hoped they would be safe, make good decisions and surround themselves with people who bring out the best in them.
As a parent, the health and safety of my children is of utmost importance. As chairman of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), I feel the same way about our sorority women on campuses across the United States and Canada. I reflect on this as the Anti-Hazing Coalition (AHC) continues its mission to bring awareness of hazing on college campuses and its goal to eradicate all forms of hazing. I salute the brave AHC parents who lost their children in such heartbreaking circumstances and are determined to help solve this problem so no other family has to endure this kind of tragedy.
NPC continues to partner with the other members of the AHC to pass federal legislation addressing hazing through the REACH Act and the End All Hazing Act. These two pieces of legislation were re-introduced in Congress earlier this year, and we eagerly await the opportunity for them to become law.
In the meantime, state legislation continues to be passed and is making effective change. Ohio and New Jersey join a handful of other states that have made this a priority. Recently, Ohio enacted “Collin’s Law – the Ohio Anti-Hazing Act,” and New Jersey enacted “Timothy J. Piazza’s Law.” Through the efforts of the AHC and its tireless dedication to this significant cause, these states now have laws in place to help eliminate hazing.
As NPC continues our work as part of the AHC, we recognize that National Hazing Prevention Week (NHPW) is Sept. 20-24. This week is an opportunity for campuses, schools, communities, individuals and organizations to come together to talk about hazing, raise awareness about the problem of hazing, educate others about hazing and promote the prevention of hazing. I invite everyone to participate in this important event and determine how you, your College Panhellenic and your member organization can be a change agent on your campus.
As students arrive on campuses this fall, let’s all be mindful of the need to be safe, surround ourselves with people who promote positive influences in our lives and work together bring an end to hazing once and for all.
Cheri M. De Jong