Saturday, March 31, 2012

On hazing

This article was brought to my attention yesterday. Featured in Rolling Stone, it covers alleged hazing that took place at Dartmouth. Essentially, a young man who had been a member of a fraternity at Dartmouth exposed everything that he had gone through in an opinion piece in the school paper. I had already come across his column last week, but the Rolling Stone article covers more of the response from the school’s Greek community, which I’m more interested in writing about.

Dartmouth, unlike many Ivy League schools, boasts a large, and historic, Greek community. While other Ivies have eating clubs, many fraternities and sororities have some of their oldest chapters at Dartmouth. It’s unsurprising, then, that the Greek community is fairly tight knit. That being said, the response to hazing allegations against the school’s chapter of SAE are extremely disappointing.
Following allegations, the Greek community banded together to voice their disapproval of the young man’s “whistle-blowing.” They fought back by insisting that he had lied, and emphasizing that he was a “disgrace” to their community.

That response makes me sick.

You would think that in some of the oldest chapters of Greek lettered organizations, someone would understand years and years of values. Where in any chapter’s ritual is hazing okay? Did anybody’s founders intend to foster an environment where sisterhood/brotherhood is built through binge drinking and abuse? Mine certainly did not.

How embarrassing for the Greek community at Dartmouth, and the Greek community as a whole, that young men and women ostracize someone who has been treated in a way that doesn’t align with organizational values and ideals. Why isn’t the Greek community leading the charge to uncover the truth, and to reprimand organizations that do not follow their founding principles?

His allegations are just that, allegations. But if there is truth to his story, shouldn’t members of the Dartmouth fraternity and sorority community want to put an end to abusive behavior that in no way, shape, or form reflects the deeper meaning of Greek life?

Like I’ve written earlier, it takes one person in one chapter on one campus to deal a significant blow to the credibility of our organizations. More importantly, how we, as young men and women, choose to respond to things like hazing that threaten our deeper purpose, impacts how we are viewed. Holding collegiate chapters and members accountable for their actions, especially when they go against everything the organization stands for, is vital to the health of our organizations.

Hazing isn’t just a Greek problem – it’s a cultural problem. We make fun of rookies who are hazed publicly, even writing about it in major newspapers. But when the Greek community refuses to hold our members accountable, we make it a Greek problem, and it reflects poorly on all of us.

It's time for the Dartmouth community, and the International Greek community, to stand up for what our founders believed; to stand up for what members have preserved for over a hundred years. Hazing doesn't build respect, it destroys it. Until we can hold our own accountable, how will we ever be able to make a truly positive impact?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Master-mix Monday: What I’m running to this week

Because all of us need new jams in our lives sometimes. And by sometimes I mean on a weekly basis, clearly:

  1. Suntan City – Luke Bryan
  2. American Girl – Tom Petty And the Heartbreakers
  3. International Love – Pitbull ft. Chris Brown (I feel like if you beat a woman, you lose the right to be mentioned)
  4. Uncharted – Sara Bareilles
  5. She Got the Honey – Mat Kearney
  6. Moodswings and Melodies – Parachute
  7. How ‘Bout Dem O’s – Warning Track Power (Okay this one is a lie. Kind of. Okay it’s not a lie – I enjoy running to this. It really puts me in a good mood.)
  8. What Makes You Beautiful – One Direction (If you’re reading the blog, you’re not judging. House rules.)
  9. Summer Candy – Ben Rector
  10. Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5
  11. The World’s Greatest – R. Kelly
  12. She’d Be California – Rascal Flats
  13. Only the Good Die Young – Billy Joel (This is a staple. I literally play it every time I run. EVERY TIME.)

And this week, I’ll be getting my miles in in Lubbock, Texas! I’ve been looking forward to being back with the women of Gamma Xi since I left the last time! Five months away was way too long.

Be on the lookout for a blog post about Spring Training/Why I love baseball/etc etc and also another one about my visits to Eta Lambda- New Mexico State and to the oldest continuously operating Delta Gamma chapter – Eta at the University of Akron!

I’ve got a lot to catch up on.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

“It’s just hair”

Sorry for my lack of blogging recently.. My life update in a sentence: I’ve gone from Las Cruces, NM to Sarasota, FL to Akron, OH, which is where I am now.

In that time, I’ve also gone back to my signature blonde locks. It’s amazing what something as simple as a hair color change can do for your attitude.

Basically, this time last year, I had hair that I loved – I’m naturally a dirty blonde, but I have been highlighting it for a while, typically several times a year. I loved it because it was low maintenance and it made me happy.

Then, one hair stylist set me on this nine month ordeal by bleaching my entire head when I went in just to get simple highlights. I spent three months trying to correct the blonde, before I finally gave in and just dyed my hair brown. To say my mom was not happy is an understatement.

Since October, my hair has faded through all sorts of colors. See?

IMG-20111020-00426 174152_1572450181_1734747376_n DSC02371

Anyways. When I first dyed my hair brown, and the fact that I did it finally set in, someone told me everything was fine because “it’s just hair.”

Well, I finally got sick of my always-changing-color hair, and I went to a salon and got it fixed. It took the stylist four hours and cost more than I’d like to discuss, but my hair is finally back to where it was last year.


Here’s what I learned from the whole ordeal: It’s not “just hair.” And I don’t mean that in a superficial, materialistic way. Not at all.

For me, my blonde hair is something that has always been pretty central to who I am. Not because it’s sooooo cool to be a blonde, but because it has always been kind of my identifier. In my immediate family, I’m the only blonde. It sets me apart, and it makes me unique. Here’s proof:


It’s also a link to my heritage; my dad’s entire side of the family is blonde, so it’s something that I get from them.

So, yeah, it may be “just hair.” But it’s also been my hair for so long that being a blonde has become a part of my identity. I’m certainly not arguing if that’s a good or a bad thing, it’s just how it is. And having it back? Having it back makes me feel like my old self again.

What do you think? Is it silly to count a physical feature as part of your identity?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What I learned this week – 3/13 edition

Today’s facts are sports-heavy. What can I say, it was a sports-filled week!

1. That your chance of achieving a perfect bracket for March Madness are 1: 9.2 quintillion! Those are terrible odds. None-the-less, I love taking part in creating a bracket with absolutely zero background knowledge, and then talking smack like I know everything there is to know about college basketball. What can I say? I’m a competitor :) If you want to at least fake that you know what’s going on, check out blindfold brackets from the Wall Street Journal, which lets you easily compare stats of teams that are playing each other without seeing which team is which!

2. Sometimes, pandas ride airplanes too!


3.That Juarez, Mexico is literally on the other side of the road from El Paso, TX. I flew into El Paso and then was driven to Las Cruces, NM, where I am now. While we were driving, they were explaining to me how past CDCs had been in shock at how close Mexico was.. so of course I asked how close! Their response? “Look to your left. That’s Mexico. This road was actually shut down a little bit ago because there was a shoot-out by a Mexican drug cartel.” Oh. Okay. Thanks for that, guys.

4. The average ERA of the Baltimore Orioles’ starting five is over 4.00. Oh boy, it’s going to be a long baseball season. But hey, when it’s been 14 straight losing seasons, you learn to really just love watching the game and following your team. And I am so excited to get to go to spring training this weekend! Especially since my dad will be coming down for games with me!

5. Teachability is not a word. What? But teachable is. So what word would you use for the characteristic of being teachable? Any thoughts?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Confession: I have terrible taste in music.

Sometimes, when I'm about to go for a run, I get this desire to reload my iPod with new music.

Typically, I Google "good songs to run to" and I get lots of playlists full of, you guessed it, good songs to run to. So then I go to the website, and I scroll down the list, and I see nothing I like! Or, I see things I like, and then I visualize myself running to them, and they just don't fit.

Which has led me to this conclusion: I have terrible taste in music.

I guess I'd describe my musical taste as: mostly country mixed with mainstream pop and easy listening, a few hip-hop/rap songs, and then the occasional burst of Billy Joel and/or the Eagles.

In other words: full of guilty pleasures. Only I guess they can't really be called guilty pleasures if they all fall into that category, right?

Essentially, I listen to songs that make me want to either sing or dance along while I'm running. And they've gotta make me smile.

So, for those of you who share my musical leanings and are looking for a playlist you'd actually like to work out to, here's what I ran to today. Enjoy:
Animal/Neon Trees
What Doesn't Kill You/Kelly Clarkson
Live a Little/Kenny Chesney
It Girl/Jason Derulo
Hey Mama/Mat Kearney
Work Out/J. Cole
Storm Warning/Hunter Hayes
She's Like Texas/Josh Abbott Band
Rock & Roll/Eric Hutchinson
Only the Good Die Young/Billy Joel
Call Me Maybe/Carly Rae Jepsen
...and now you know why if you see me out running, I probably look like I'm dancing and/or playing the air drums with my fingers. I'm okay with it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Today is March 7th and it is a wonderful day

Today I am blessed.
Blessed to be registered to run my first full marathon in DC in October with my dad.
Blessed to have finally figured out exactly where I want to be next year.
Blessed to have figured out what field I want to work in.
Blessed with a job which both fulfills and challenges me on a daily basis.
Blessed to be able to travel to new places on a weekly basis.
..and blessed with incredible friends and family who support me, make me laugh, and push me to be the best version of me each day.

I can't wait to share more details as they come.. I'm too nervous to be more specific because I don't want to jinx it, but I am so eager for when I'll be able to share more.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What I learned this week – 3/6 edition

I’ve decided to start bringing some regular features to the blog. Here’s the first of them.

If you know me, you know how much I love learning. Seriously, I’m a fan of random trivia, taking classes, having my mind blown with new facts, you name it.

Each Tuesday, I’ll recap five things I’ve learned since the last Tuesday. And there will be links so that you can learn about them too!

1. That higher altitude running is more difficult! During my first full day in Pullman, I agreed to a run with the vp: communications, Hannah. She told me we would go slow on our one mile run to the gym, so I felt like a fool when I was dying about five minutes into our run! I was able to finish the mile there and back (as well as 2 miles on the treadmill while at the gym), but breathing was difficult! As it turns out, Pullman is nearly a half a mile above sea-level. Needless to say, I’m a little nervous about running during my two weeks in Colorado.

2. That grown adults laugh an average of 15 times per day, while children laugh an average of 300 times per day! This fun fact was shared by a yoga teacher during the Beta Omega chapter retreat. I definitely think this job has upped my average, thanks in part to all of the amazing collegians I get to work with. Claire at Whitman shared this gem with me during my last day in Walla Walla – I dare you to watch it without having a giggle. And giggling is good – laughing keeps you young!
3. That Jesse Eisenberg (Social Network) is big brother to Hallie Kate Eisenberg (remember the Pepsi girl?). If you ever want to learn new things, is a great place to start. My clicking around from the website’s page on Matilda led me to this little discovery, although literally I learn something new every time I visit the site.

4. That ice cream can affect your brain in the same way drugs do. It all makes so much sense now! Seriously though, maybe this is a new way to fight drug addiction? Give all the drug addicts Haagen Dazs?

5. That Walla Walla, Washington may be the best place to spend a birthday. Okay, this isn’t really an interesting fact, but I had to share how wonderful my 23rd birthday was at Whitman. The women were so fantastic to me, from making me taco bar for dinner to creating a beautiful cake to welcoming me with open arms into their sisterhood. I really had a special week in Walla Walla, and learned a lot from our Alpha Eta chapter. This job has really blessed me with the opportunity to meet so many incredible women all over the country.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

“How do you deal with negative stereotypes?”

One of the questions I am most often asked on the road is: “How do you deal with negative stereotypes having to do with Greek Life?”

My answer is always a follow-up question (I may be the most frustrating CDC on the planet – they just want an answer!): “Do you think those stereotypes are true?”

I remember discussing stereotypes in an entry level Journalism class in college. The part the stuck out most to me? Stereotypes are generally founded on some nugget of truth.

Leaders in fraternities and sororities complain that the media gets it wrong; that so much emphasis is placed on partying, hazing, not living out values, and that all of the wonderful things we do are all but ignored. While this may be true (see: TLC’s one episode of Sorority Girls), the fact of the matter is, in order for these things to be covered by the media, they had to have happened.

Of course sororities do more than party. Of course we do. We do thousands and thousands of hours of community service, boast higher GPAs than the campus average, host educational programs for our members, shape women into leaders. And hazing? Every NPC organization is 100% anti-hazing.

But here’s the thing: it takes one person representing one organization having one bad night out or making one mistake to counteract all the good that fraternities and sororities as a whole do. In order for the media to write bad things, those bad things had to have happened.

Of course members are going to make mistakes; college is part of growing up and part of growing up is making mistakes. But once you join a Greek letter organization, you’re held to a higher standard and higher scrutiny because of everything you represent. Because you, and I, represent over  a hundred years of heritage, hundreds of thousands of members, millions of philanthropy hours, and established values and ideals. We communicate everything our organizations stand for in our actions every day.

Delta Zeta put out an awesome, awesome video that members of fraternities and sororities everywhere should watch. It’s here for you now:

So, how do you deal with negative stereotypes of Greek organizations? The answer to that question is best communicated through actions, not words.