hell week

For the record, I am 100% against any fraternity having a hell week that involves hazing. However, there often are benefits that happen during hell week, often in spite of the hazing.

For example, I admit that it was during hell week that I built a very special bond with my pledge brothers. It was late one night, and the brothers were too busy chasing girls to worry about the pledge class. So we spent the entire night talking about how great we were going to make our fraternity. We laid out plans and goals. We discussed who was going to run for executive board positions and how we were going to support them. It was at that moment when I first realized that fraternity meant as much to these guys as it did to me. It solidified in my mind that I had made the right choice by pledging.

That being said, it is possible that that night could have happened without hell week.  However, I do not argue that the reason we were together that particular night was because of hell week.

Also, hell week gives a focus and finality to the pledge period. This focus drives pledges to learn their pledge material and be prepared for their initiation tests. Hell week ensures that the pledge program ends with a flourish, and not with a whimper.

The pledge class is the main focus of the fraternity the entire semester. It is only right that it concludes with 100% of the fraternity’s attention.

Like I said, I think these objectives can be accomplished without having a hell week that focuses on hazing. It is up to the pledge marshal and brotherhood to be creative enough to build the pledge class in a respectful manner.

2 thoughts on “Fraternity Hell Week – The Positives

  1. You joined a club, not a fraternity, if it wasn’t until the final week that you realized that the fraternity meant as much to your pledge brothers as it did to you. Had your pledgeship been more engaging and more rigorous, you would’ve seen your pledge brothers commitment time and time again. Lastly, your remark underscores the importance of hazing — given your relatively easy pledgeship, even at the end, you felt as though you were joining the fraternity for your own personal reasons, and for yourself. Had you been exposed to productive forms of hazing (and yes, they exist and no, they do not include alcohol), you would view things much different. By the end of my pledgeship, I wasn’t acting for myself, I was acting for the guys next to me, for my pledge brothers, for my best friends. They lifted me through the hazing, and I lifted them through the hazing, but had we not been together, neither of us would’ve made it. That’s the formation of brotherhood.

    • Danny, thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, I think your comment is pretty off-base. I joined a fraternity and was hazed more than I care to admit. The only benefit I derived from it is I have real life experiences to write about on this site.

      Fraternities will die if brothers across the country are not creative enough to develop pledge programs that don’t involve hazing. You can make a pledge program challenging and teach your pledges at the same time without hazing. You just have to make a commitment to do it.

      Let’s discount the fact that hazing is against university and fraternity policy. Let’s also not worry that it is illegal. The real reasons hazing will kill fraternities is because it is the #1 deterrent from getting guys to pledge and it isn’t much fun for the brothers in the chapter. If it isn’t fun and stops people from joining, then why do it?

      If you think it is fun, and your chapter gets their rocks off screwing with 18 year-old kids, then I think you probably joined more of a club than a fraternity.

      For the benefit of your chapter, I hope you think about what you wrote and reconsider your opinion. In my book I lay out a complete pledge program that is very challenging and will teach the pledge class everything they need to know to become a brother without hazing. I would bet that it is much more challenging than the pledge program you went through. Reading the book would be the best investment you can make for your brotherhood.

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