A lot of fraternities like to have a fraternity hell week towards the end of the new member period.
This is a dangerous game to play because of hazing implications and how it can affect new members after they are initiated.
What is Fraternity Hell Week?
Most types of fraternity hell week I am familiar with involve the new member having to live in the house for the week with restricted access to their dorm room. They can only speak when given permission and are giving something silly to carry around for the week, often while dressed up.
Their nights are normally filled with events that keep them up until the very late hours of the morning leaving little time for sleep or studying.
This Has a Terrible Effect on a New Member Class
Not only is it juvenile to subject people whom you consider to be dear friends to this punishment, it could also have a lasting affect on their grades and opinions of members in the fraternity.
Obviously if the new members aren’t sleeping all week because they are out all night doing who-knows-what their grades are going to suffer. This inevitably will be towards the end of the semester, leaving them terribly unprepared for upcoming finals.
The ironic thing is the fraternity is crippling itself by its poor decisions because the new member GPA is a critical statistic which will be analyzed by the university and other governing organizations.
Also, hazing during fraternity hell week could leave lasting impressions that future members will never forget. This is inevitable during a hell week. The entire semester the brotherhood tries to teach trust and how important the new membersare to the fraternity, only to treat them like dirt the final week.
This contradiction will have a lasting effect because you will never be able to erase a memory of being betrayed by someone you thought was your friend.
Fraternity Hell Week Hurts Future Recruitments
In addition, having a fraternity hell week will hurt your recruitment efforts. What type of guy is going to want to join your fraternity if he knows he is going to be subjected to this type of non-sense for a week?
While the fraternity may think it is doing a good job keeping the happenings of the fraternity on the ‘down low’; everyone around the fraternity knows what is going on.
So Should You Have a Hell Week?
Think twice about having a fraternity hell week if it resembles what I just described. Hell week is a lot of effort that isn’t positive for the fraternity.
The true test if you are doing it wrong is the new members reaction right after initiation. If they have a sense of accomplishment and not a sense of “thank-God-that-is-over” then your are probably doing something right. If they are grateful that the new member period is finally over, you need to reexamine your new member program.
Finally, don’t forget that my book The Fraternity Leader has an entire chapter describing how to run a new member program without hazing. It details an entire program that will teach your new members how to grow socially and academically. The best part about the program I describe is it will teach your new members how to become productive brothers. That is what it is all about right?