By Carina Sorrentino
On Wednesday, Oct. 16, a crowd of over 100 members of the Union community converged in front of the Nott Memorial in support of Sigma Delta Tau’s event, “Take A Stand, A Walk Against Hazing and Bullying.” Among those in attendance were various members of the Greek Life community, sports teams and faculty members.
President of Sigma Delta Tau Laila Ohebshalom ‘14 rallied the attention of the crowd and began the walk, which moved down campus, around towards the Wicker Wellness Center, up frat row and then back to the Nott Memorial. Marching with their respective groups, students from the Union Lacrosse team, U-Hillel, U for Israel, Union Field Hockey, Lambda Pi Chi and Safe Space participated to support the movement. Banners were made by each of these organizations and most of them were signed by their members, making their public statement of support for the movement.
Director of Student Activities Matt Milless coordinated with Ohebshalom to put the walk together.
Milless remarked about the importance of events like this, not only in regards to hazing, but also to make students conscientious of how they treat each other on a regular basis.
“I think what is important is that we all have a sense of responsibility for treating each other better, whether it be in an organization, sports team or just day to day,” he remarked. “As a campus we have a small community where we have the opportunity to care about each other and know a lot about each other, and it is important to encourage everyone to be more respectful and look out for one another.”
As the walk commenced, tables headed by members of the athletic and Greek organizations provided food for those that participated.
Though hazing and bullying were the primary concerns for the event, various pamphlets on mental wellness were provided for those interested. Members of Union’s Counseling Center came to offer the crowd an opportunity to ask any questions or raise concerns about the topic of hazing and bullying.
This term, hazing became a central topic on campus in the wake of an online Cosmopolitan article published by Sigma Delta Tau alumna Tess Koman ‘13, which contained numerous allegations of hazing. In the aftermath of Koman’s article, recent panels and discussions have been organized on campus in an effort to clear up any misconceptions about what it means to haze and be hazed.
President of the Panhellenic Council Nora Swidler ’14 stated, “It’s really important for Union College Greeks to have an anti-hazing walk because it makes a public statement that we stand together, we are moving toward being better students, better Greek members, and moving toward being a better Greek community.”
Ohebshalom has high hopes that the event will become an annual affair that grows and extends beyond this year. Milless remarked, “It requires a lot of repetition for these events to make a dramatic impact and this fall we have had a good sampling of that. I think people are far more aware about the topic of hazing and it’s a great start.”