This past Monday the UVa community marked the beginning of National GORDIEday, an annual event held in conjunction with National Hazing Prevention Week. Each September, this campaign seeks to raise awareness about the dangers of hazing and alcohol overdose, and encourages students to prevent these behaviors. GORDIEday is held by the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team (ADAPT), a program within the Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.
Sarah Sheffield, one of the co-chairs for ADAPT, says, “This week was created near the anniversary of the death of Gordie Bailey, which was this past Sunday. On September 18, 2004, Gordie Bailey passed away from alcohol overdose in relation to hazing activities. This week was created to raise awareness around the country about the negative effects of hazing.”
Sheffield, a third-year student here at the University, has had an active role in planning and executing Hazing Prevention Week this year, which has the slogan: “These hands don’t haze.”
“As ADAPT we are doing this week in an effort to engage students in conversations about hazing,” Sheffield says.
For this year’s Hazing Prevention Week, UVa students have the opportunity to sign the Hazing Prevention Week pledge by tracing their handprints onto a banner that will be hung in the amphitheater during second semester, when formal recruitment begins for sororities and fraternities on grounds.
Sheffield hopes that a visible symbol of hazing prevention will remind students of the pledge that they signed to prevent hazing as they take part in rush.
“What this pledge is asking of students is that in any sort of group, whether it’s an organization that might haze, whether it’s an organization that definitely wouldn’t, or whether it’s just your friend group, you’re trying to make an environment in which your friends feel safe,” Sheffield explains.
Sheffield continues: “If you hear about people wanting to haze, you will try to talk them out of it or say something or step up, and you will intervene when you’re aware of hazing… Intervention doesn’t necessarily have to be going straight to the source and saying that they can’t haze, it can also be using an anonymous site such as Just Report It to report hazing to the administration.”
Students also have the chance to win prizes to stores and restaurants around Charlottesville, including Boylan Heights, Rev Soup, Citizen Burger, and the UVa bookstore, by participating in a social media contest available on all platforms aimed at promoting positive and inclusive environments within UVa’s organizations.
“The social media contest is a way to take a public stand against hazing at the University of Virginia,” says Sheffield.
For the contest, organizations will post a picture adding a caption for why, “These hands don’t haze,” with the hashtag “remembergordie.”
Students can sign the GORDIEday banner on South Lawn throughout National Hazing Prevention Week, which lasts from September 19-23. Entries to the social media challenge must be posted by 5pm on Friday, September 23 to qualify for the contest.
For more information about ADAPT’s National Hazing Prevention Week, please visit the Facebook page for this event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1803584723193020/