On Wednesday afternoon, what looked like the world’s quietest parade weaved through campus in a show of solidarity.
More than 400 students involved in UCF Greek life participated in this year’s Silent March Against Hazing, which started at Memory Mall, crossed the Student Union and the John T. Washington Center, and circled the Reflecting Pond. Along the way, organizers handed out informative pamphlets about hazing prevention.
“The idea is to relay information that people can then take back to their own chapters,” said organizer Chris Perez, a Tau Kappa Epsilon member who serves as the Interfraternity Council’s Risk Manager.
Participants trailed a large “National Hazing Prevention Week” banner, signed by dozens of students earlier this week. At the conclusion of the march, all of the participants signed the banner as well.
UCF is home to four Greek councils — Diversified Greek Council, Interfraternity Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council and Panhellenic Council. Members of each council showed up, most wearing apparel emblazoned with their respective Greek letters.
Greek Council President Jordan Kuveke called the event a success, noting the number of involved students and the diversity of their organizations.
“This was a great opportunity to unite everyone from all four Greek councils,” said Kuveke, who is also a vice president on Panhellenic’s executive board. “Anybody who was walking by us today knows that our community stands for no hazing. I think we got the message through to people, and that’s really all you can ask for.”
The event is one of several hosted this week under the umbrella of National Hazing Prevention Week. Universities are taking part across the country with the intent of raising awareness and preventing future occurrences of hazing.
It’s a particularly sensitive topic for UCF Greek life members, many of whom emphasized their intolerance for hazing before the silent march began.
“You shouldn’t have to do things you don’t want to do just to be a part of something you want to be a part of,” said Jessica Nguyen, a sophomore and member of Delta Phi Lambda.
Participants also voiced their commitment to ending negative stereotypes associated with joining a fraternity or sorority. Members of sorority Pi Beta Phi walked together during the march and said they attended to show their full support of the anti-hazing initiative.
“I could never be part of a sisterhood knowing that other members are being hazed,” said Pi Beta Phi member Cristina Barreto. “That defeats the point of a sisterhood. There’s no chance that I would stand here and be so passionate about Pi Phi if I, or anyone else, were abused by it.”
The sentiment was echoed by junior Jordan Holsendolph, a member of Omega Psi Phi.
“We don’t do hazing. We don’t mess with people. [You've] just got to meet the requirements — you’re doing service, you’re a good person,” Holsendolph said. “[You've] got to fit in with our principles: manhood, scholarship, perseverance, uplift. Those are what we stand for.”
Jennifer Kline is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.