Positive changes on way for fraternities connected to MSU

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The Interfraternity Council at Michigan State University outlines what hazing is and why it is important to hold fraternities accountable during new member experiences. It also has implemented new guidelines for new member experiences throughout fraternity life.

Sawyer Mclure is the current president of the Interfraternity Council also referred to as “IFC.” Since the beginning of his term he has spoken at the capitol building, met with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and brought a positive change to all fraternities.

“Day to day I serve as an oversight for all the other people on the board and make sure that everything that needs to be done is geting done,” Mclure said. 

According to the Michigan State Fraternity and Sorority Life website, Michigan State defines hazing as such. Requiring or encouraging any act, whether or not the act is voluntarily agreed upon, in conjunction with initiation, affiliation with, continued membership, or participation in any group that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm or humiliation.

Although hazing can date back to 387 B.C. with the founding of Platos Academy. In today’s day and age many fraternities find that the acts of such physical humiliation are not useful in terms of bonding their members. 

Nate Stevenson, sophomore at Michigan State, currently lives in the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity house. He spoke about how his fraternity, also known as “Fiji,” allows their new members to connect without physical harm or humiliation. 

“We do a new member retreat, new members go somewhere outside of campus, where they can go and bond and get to know each other at someone’s house,” said Nate Stevenson currently studying economics. “It helps get to know eachother on a deeper level and learn the vulnerabilities going on in people’s lives that are not really talked about.”

Although it is important to get input from the greek life community, it is also essential to recognize that some are involved in fraternities without even being an initiated member. Sean O’Connor is a prime example, as a tournament fighter he never found time to rush, but the senior spent much time throughout the years involving himself with fraternities. Aware of the hazing that goes on, he shared his insight on why hazing should stay in the past. 

“It puts lives at risk for unnecessary reasons, there’s better ways to mess with friends and have them join your group without hurting someone or making them do things to inherently put them at risk such as binge drinking, drugs, or physical punishment etc,” said O’Connor. 

During his term Mclure has begun a new member education system. This system allows new members of a fraternity to have a better knowledge of Greek life as well as access to outreach tools regarding hazing and mental health.

“We needed something that outlines what hazing is, what new members should expect from this process, so myself and my advisor created a slideshow for new members to recognize what is okay and what is not okay during this process,” McClure said. 

For those looking to rush, those in charge of governing fraternity and sorority life work constantly to ensure hazing is brought to an end. Throughout working with these governing councils, initiated members are able to recognize the importance of holding fraternities accountable and the dangers of hazing.

“Holding fraternities accountable maintains a structure with fraternities, making sure they dont take things too far and sets the limit for what goes on and keeps kids safe when they are associated with the fraternity,” said Stevenson. 

Throughout his term Mclure described how Greek life has taught him many life lessons such as leadership, career development, and opportunities to grow. Mclure shared advice for those possibly on the fence about rushing. 

“You never really know where fraternity and sorority life is going to take you, but based on the pure opportunities alone I think it’s a valuable experience to have in college.”

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