Just Because

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.  They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” (excerpt from the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

I remember clearly, and will never ever forget, the very first time I met someone who had been hazed.

In an effort to try to understand why this had happened to her, I tried to reason that her collegiate chapter must have been trying to create a culture of respect, tradition and “fun” but as she detailed what had happened to her over the course of several months, all I kept thinking was “how unnecessary.”

The chapter was clueless on how to foster sisterhood in a mentally and physically safe way and ultimately created the exact opposite experience for their members; “just because.”

Not only was the chapter placing their charter at risk with both their national organization and their campus, most importantly, they were breaking down bonds and the spirit of their members “just because.”

As we reflect on National Hazing Prevention Week this year, I encourage our members to change their mindsets and change the definition of “just because.”

We should:

  • Treat all members with kindness
  • Share a solid bond of sisterhood
  • Value the differences of our members
  • Choose to do the right thing
  • Conduct chapter activities with integrity
  • Accept responsibility for the behavior of our members
  • Focus on academic achievement and leadership development
  • Act with our Creed and Mission Statement as our guides

And why should we do these things?  “Just because.”

  • Just because our members are all equals
  • Just because we want to be sisterly to one another always
  • Just because we are all human beings
  • Just because we are all noble women

The collegiate experience is constantly changing and evolving – and while I don’t want members to have the same collegiate experience I had; I do want the same caliber of experience for every member.  Our sisters deserve to come home to a safe environment in which friendships can be nurtured, their academic skills can be honed and they can flourish as individuals.  We owe our members the fun, fulfilling and vibrant member experience that we promised during recruitment.

We owe it to our new members to be our very best.  We are all responsible for staying congruent to Phi Mu’s ideals of love, honor and truth, “just because.”