Is Pledging Becoming a Thing of the Past?

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Earlier this month, Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) made a formal announcement that represents a significant shift in the way the fraternity approaches new-member policies and practices. The simple answer? Really, there will no longer be special policies and practices for new members. As stated in their official press release, “Effective March 9, 2014, new-member (pledge) programming will be eliminated completely from our operations, and the classification of new member (pledge) will no longer exist. All chapters and colonies will be required to implement this important change.” 

Is pledging becoming a thing of the past?

As the Greek community moves to strengthen its focus on leadership, scholarship and philanthropy, some are taking radical steps that will, they hope, change the culture of chapters from drinking clubs to … well, something more than drinking clubs. In the case of SAE, the mission is to “protect Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s future and to eliminate a class structure between our new members and our active members … The new True Gentleman Experience will enhance the educational and leadership experience of our members and build upon their development during each year of their collegiate tenure.”

Will it work?

Certainly, there are pros and cons. While it is presumed that hazing and other dangerous practices will be eliminated, will others take their place? And in the absence of pledging traditions that are part of the brotherhood-building process, how do chapters recruit new generations of brothers who are without these experiences?

What if PDT decided to ban pledging? Do you think it would change the culture and/or the experience of being a brother of Ohio Zeta? We want your opinions. Log in and leave your comment.