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Letter to the Editor: Pledging period

Administration and Greek Life changed the pledging hours for this year’s pledge classes, but unfortunately, in my opinion, they failed to address the real problem.

A sorority pledge is responsible for getting to know 80+ Actives in 4-5 weeks through learning their names, hometowns and majors and attending socials or dates. Do the math. That is 16-20 Actives/week, or 2+ per day – every day.  The pledge class of 25-35 need to learn to work as a cohesive group during those same 5 weeks. Add to that, learning songs, the motto, and history. All of these activities have value and help each pledge assimilate into the group.

We had the same requirements during pledging in the late 70’s. The difference was that the pledging period was 9-10 weeks long, starting in winter term and ending in April, with pledging suspended during finals week and break. We didn’t have pledging hours. We didn’t have Hell week during midterms either.

We had a balance between academics, extra-curricular activities and Greek life that allowed participation in all areas, without sacrifice. Pledging did not dominate our lives but was a part of it. We learned to balance our time and use it wisely.

By cutting down on the number of pledging hours this year, the Administration actually increased the pressure and stress on the pledges. It is “stress” that recently resulted in a sorority being banned from some of the activities that all Greek groups practice. I highly encourage the Augustana community to open up a realistic conversation about the “pledging period”. They should consider the size of pledge classes, pledging activities and the academic calendar.

Without increasing the pledging hours, but merely spreading them over an increased number of weeks, stress on the pledges would decrease and pledging might be more enjoyable.

– Susan Bowland Dawson

Delta Chi Theta, Augustana  Class of 1980 alum