April 06, 2012 by Emma.Foley
Drexel University received the Zeta Tau Alpha Award for Innovation in Campus Hazing Prevention and Education this past March, which will allow Drexel to continue its work to fight hazing in all aspects of University life.
The award, established by HazingPrevention.org, was given during the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Annual Conference, which was held March 10-14 in Phoenix. The ZTA Award included a $10,000 grant from Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity for Women and Zeta Tau Alpha Inc.
The ZTA Award honors colleges and universities that demonstrate specific and continued steps toward hazing prevention and have a distinct plan for continued progress.
HazingPrevention.org is the only organization in the country solely dedicated to ending hazing. The organization currently focuses on eliminating hazing from professional sports and is hoping to expand their work to include high schools, the military and other organizations where hazing is prevalent.
Tracy Maxwell, executive director for HazingPrevention.org, explained that Drexel’s tireless commitment to combat hazing was the reason the University was honored.
“[Drexel] got recognized this year with this award because of the outstanding work that’s happening on your campus,” Maxwell said. “ Your faculty and staff really do understand that it is complex, and it’s going to take a multifaceted approach that several people are involved with and lots of different communities.”
The University plans to use the grant money to continue improvements on hazing prevention programs at Drexel, such as sending students on a leadership retreat where they can learn safe and beneficial teambuilding exercises.
Natalie Shaak, assistant director for Fraternity and Sorority Life, wrote in the application essay for the award that the program’s “basic purpose is to have students experience a structured experience in which individuals are brought together as a group in a short amount of time, mirroring the new member orientation and transition process.”
According to Shaak, students from different organizations within the University will go on the retreat and participate in various teambuilding activities and small-group development activities geared toward showing how group bonding doesn’t have to include hazing. The diversity of students and the organizations they belong to were chosen to create a campus community entirely free of hazing.
Drexel’s first Hazing Prevention Week occurred in 2008 and was planned by the offices of Recreational Athletics and Fraternity and Sorority Life. Since then the collaboration has expanded to include many different University groups.
According to Maxwell, this collaboration is critical to an effective anti-hazing plan.
“You can’t just have a speaker come once a year and think that’s going to be enough to deal with this problem. It really does need to be a year-round approach that takes multiple different directions and involves lots of different audiences,” Maxwell explained.
This was the third year that the ZTA Award has been given as part of a collaboration between Zeta Tau Alpha and HazingPrevention.org. The University of Kentucky received the award in 2011, and Florida State University won in 2010. The College of William & Mary received an honorable mention this year.
Correction: (04/09/12) The sponsoring organization is Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation, not Zeta Tau Alpha Inc. The current focus of HazingPrevention.org is hazing prevention in colleges and universities, and hopes to expand to high schools, the military and professional sports in the future. The Triangle deeply apologizes for this error.