On Wednesday, sisters of the alpha Kappa Delta Phi sorority at Cornell held a Remembrance Vigil to commemorate those who have been affected, are currently affected by or have passed away from hazing.
This event was a part of the chapter’s “Comfort in your Community” series, which took place during National Hazing Prevention Week and featured several events focused on hazing prevention.
At the vigil, students read various testimonies and excerpts from stories on hazing. One such piece of testimony included excerpts from a paper titled “Hazed and Confused” written by Adam Zwecker ’04.
In 2003, Zwecker wrote his paper for an independent study with the support of two professors at Cornell. The vigil event focused specifically on an excerpt called “Woods Night,” which detailed Zwecker’s experience of being blindfolded and hazed as part of his second pledge activity with the fraternity he was pledging for in 2000.
Since the “Comfort in your Community” series aimed to touch upon different aspects of hazing, members of the sorority said they felt this piece would illustrate how destructive hazing can be.
“We wanted students to really think back into their experiences and grapple with this idea because, often times, those affected by hazing in the past didn’t consider it hazing because of this concept of uninformed consent,” Nina Kitele ’17 said. “I think we ultimately chose Zwecker’s paper because of the compelling nature of his story and because it just touched upon so many different ideas about hazing that are not often discussed.”
In addition to the vigil, the sorority raised awareness about the different dimensions of hazing by holding several other events throughout the week, which included informational tables, a photo campaign and a hazing workshop hosted by Gannett.
“A big aim for our week of events was to educate the members of the Cornell community by informing students that hazing comes in all different forms, dispelling myths about hazing, educating the community about hazing practices that may not be so clear cut and informing the community about resources for how to actually help,” Kitele said.
While the sorority aimed to inform the community of the importance of hazing prevention, members of the sorority said they felt a personal connection to the movement.
“I believe in the strength and bonds of the relationships that I’ve made so far and it’s made me realize how horrible hazing is and how damaging it can be,” said Theresa Cao ’18. “My friends — my sisters — are supposed to support me and make me want to be a better person. I wanted people to realize that you don’t have to haze to create bonds, that true relationships are formed from positivity and support.”
Alex Tse ’17 echoed these sentiments of the importance of friendships and highlighted the importance of being a strong individual.
“Throughout my time in college, I find that I have become a stronger individual and I didn’t have to go through any hazing to prove myself as an individual,” said Alex Tse ’17. “I want to make sure that everyone understands that they are who they make themselves out to be and don’t need anyone else to tell them how to be a better or stronger person.”