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Sororities provide coloring books to relieve ‘anxiety’ during recruitment

Convincing pledges that they are ‘weak and fragile’?

Pledging for a Greek-letter organization can be stressful. That’s why sororities at George Washington University are trying to mitigate the stress of recruitment.

The Panhellenic Association is giving pledges “coloring books, food, headphones and stress balls in two ‘relaxation rooms'” in order to “alleviate anxiety” during the recruitment period, which runs through Wednesday, The GW Hatchet reports:

“Recruitment, while an incredibly rewarding experience, can be intimidating and taxing,” Izzy Griffith, the president of the Panhellenic Association, said. “Providing the [potential new members] with a chance to take a rest and decompress will help the PNMs feel less intimidated and provide them with a chance to recharge throughout the process.”

Griffith said the rooms will be equipped with water, snacks and other “calming” resources to give potential new members a “mental and physical break from recruitment, should they need it.”

The new approach to recruitment grew out of a mental health initiative started by Ashley Ann Renz, vice president of recruitment, to make students “feel safe, comfortable and empowered,” she told the Hatchet. Recruitment counselors have also been trained in mental health “to help students talk through their stresses during the process.”

The softer, gentler approach to recruitment drew criticism from a GWU law professor who has previously warned that law students are becoming so coddled that they can’t handle the rigors of legal practice.

“At a time when incoming female college students are being told that they can and should be tough and strong, and stand up to those who might try to bully or sexually harass them, the upper class women who run the sororities are helping to convince them that they are so weak and fragile that they need mental health help to deal with the trauma of picking out where to pledge,” John Banzhaf wrote in an email blast Friday.

“This sorority event appears to be part of a growing movement to wussify students, treating them an [sic] incredibly sensitive beings  – ‘snowflakes’ – who must be protected from virtually anything which might possibly upset them,” he said.

In a law school context, “[s]uch coddling is likely to turn out more wimpy lawyers who lack the fortitude to stand up to tough judges in defending unpopular causes, and thus our most fundamental rights.”

Read the Hatchet story.

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