Travis Apgar, an associate dean of students at Cornell University who as a college student experienced the trauma of hazing first-hand, will offer a fresh look at the banned practice from the perspective of a victim, on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at SUNY Cortland.
Titled “Hazing: The Fallout,” his talk begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Corey Union Function Room.
Presented by Campus Activities and Greek Affairs, the discussion is free and open to the public.
Apgar, who holds advanced degrees in psychology and education administration and has worked in higher education for almost 10 years, will discuss hazing from the perspective of a victim with a background that contributed to the severity of the impact.
Travis’s emotional and powerful story aims to give students a wake-up call about the hidden dangers of hazing. Drawing from his personal and professional experience, he seeks to help students recognize that human lives and well-being come first and that the actions of hazing are not only illegal and wrong, but they go against everything upon which extracurricular groups were founded.
“Most students have some idea of what hazing may be, but many do not fully understand what constitutes hazing,” said Apgar, whose positions in higher education have encompassed residence life, student activities, first-year student programs, Greek life and judicial affairs.
“By not knowing, they may agree to be involved in a hazing activity that they may not have if they better understood the definition and policies. I also strongly believe people should be aware of all policies, rules and expectations, so they are free to make educated decisions about their behaviors.”
As a first generation college student, student-athlete and prospective fraternity member, Apgar did not know what to expect when he walked on campus. He anticipated being challenged to work at fitting in and to struggle in some ways. He certainly never looked for the intense hazing he endured during his first year on campus to challenge his physical and mental well-being. His tormentors had no idea of the “hidden harm” they were worsening with their seemingly harmless fun.
Whether it is a fraternity, student band, religious organization, rugby club or intercollegiate sport team, these groups were created out of a desire to enhance an individual’s life, not to hurt or destroy it, Apgar asserts.
“I believe I have a responsibility to get involved in the fight against hazing, and it is my goal to help provide resources to professionals and students that can help get the job done,” he said.
The event is sponsored by the Auxiliary Services Corporation, Campus Activities and Corey Union, Campus Artist and Lecture Series, InterGreek Council, Judicial Affairs Office, Panhellenic Council, President’s Office, Recreational Sports Department and the University Police Department.
For more information, contact Sandra Wohlleber, campus activities and Greek affairs, at (607) 753-5769.