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Initiation Week - A Time for Celebration?

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Does your chapter have a special series of events the week leading up to initiation? Have you ever asked what exactly are we attempting to accomplish with this week? Many chapters have an “Initiation Week” – a series of unique events and/or activities culminating in the initiation Ritual ceremony. Unfortunately, history tells us that Initiation Week (also referred to as “Honor Week”, “Hell Week”, “I-Week”, etc.), which should be about welcoming new members to the Legion of Honor, sometimes devolves into one final test comprised of physical and/or psychological hazing for candidates to prove their “worth” of joining the initiated membership.

One cannot imagine that Founders Hopkins, Quarles, or Riley envisioned welcoming new members into the Fraternity by conducting acts contrary to the anti-hazing philosophy that resulted in Sigma Nu being founded.  

Ever wonder why you have issues with retention? Look at the data. According to data from Sigma Nu participants in the 2016-2017 GreekLifeEdu program, approximately 90% of members joined Sigma Nu to make friends. Furthermore, about 10% of our membership chose to join Sigma Nu due to its anti-hazing stance. Out of the over 3,200 Sigma Nu members who participated in Survey 1 of the 2016-2017 GreekLifeEdu program, no one said “experience hazing” was the reason they joined Sigma Nu. 

Regardless if it’s “Bid Night,” “Big Brother Night,” or “Initiation Week,” hazing has no place in Sigma Nu. Our founders created the Fraternity with that intention and the data further proves that today’s college student is interested in the Fraternity experience our Founders’ envisioned – one that appreciates its members, regardless of tenure, and develops the mind, heart and character of the future leaders of our society. 

For ideas on how to create a developmentally-based, hazing-free “Initiation Week” and overall Candidate Education Program, check out the Candidate Development portion of the Fraternity’s Best Practices Library and/or consult your Leadership Consultant and local Fraternity/Sorority Life Advisor. Also, make sure you understand Sigma Nu’s definition of hazing by reviewing the Risk Reduction Policy and Guidelines.

© 2015-2017 Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.
9 North Lewis Street, P.O. Box 1869, Lexington, Virginia 24450
Phone: 540.463.1869 | Fax: 540.463.1669 | Email: headquarters@sigmanu.org

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