School has officially started back, and most students have been back to the grind for almost a month now. Many college students decide during their first year of college to become part of Greek and various other organizations. Most of these organizations provide students with great opportunities to make life-long friends. There are however, uglier sides to some of these organizations, discovered when it is time to initiate new members. Watching a movie such as Old School makes such activity seem comical, but outside of a Hollywood college campus, hazing activities can, and often do take dangerous turns.
Approximately 55% of college students involved in clubs, teams, and organizations experience hazing. Hazing activity includes alcohol consumption, humiliation, isolation, sleep-deprivation, and sex acts. Some of these activities simply involve what most would simply call mischief, while some of these activities are downright dangerous. For example, 12% of students hazed drink alcohol to the point of getting sick or passing out, and 26% participate is some kind of drinking game. Further, 11% of those hazed are required to deprive themselves of sleep. While such activities are dangerous on their own, these statistics do not take into account the number of students who get behind the wheel of a car while in a drunken or sleep-deprived state as a result of taking part in hazing activities. Some initiates even endure harsh weather conditions without appropriate clothing.
While activities like those listed above can have dangerous consequences, so can seemingly less dangerous activities. Take for example, Matthew Carrington, a Chi Tau pledge at Chico State University who died in 2005 as a result of hazing activities. Matthew did not die from drinking too much alcohol. Instead, he died from water intoxication that caused the swelling of his brain and lungs, after he and another pledge were ordered to drink from a five-gallon jug of water that was continually refilled. His death was the result of a pointless initiation activity that included among other things exercising in raw sewage.
While studies show that hazing is a common activity, it is imperative that the dangers of this activity are understood. Young adults should not be injured nor have their lives ended abruptly because of such senseless behavior.
 “Hazing in View: College Students at Risk,” available at http://www.hazingstudy.org/publications/hazing_in_view_web.pdf, (accessed September 16, 2009).
 Elaine Korry, “A Fraternity Hazing Gone Wrong,” available at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5012154, (accessed September 16, 2009).