Sarah Wild looks around her SUNY Plattsburgh campus before she is handed her master's degree. She also carries around a plaque that reminds her of a time of humiliation.
"In the beginning it was very positive, very exciting. And very quickly I realized what was happening wasn't something I was comfortable with," she said.
At the end of Wild's freshman year she was invited to pledge at Delta Phi Epsilon, but her excitement turned quickly into what she called psychological and emotional trauma.
"I was a bunny; I had to wear bunny ears and carry a carrot. I had to wear this ugly bra and panties and two pairs of socks, and it was embarrassing," Wild said.
"I had pledge sisters who would leave crying; they'd be sick to their stomachs," Wild said. "We didn't know what was going to happen whenever we went. I think that was the scariest part."
Wild struggled to look past what she called hazing and decided in order to take action, she needed to become president of her sorority. She stuck out a second semester at Delta Phi Epsilon, eventually ran for president and won. Once elected, she worked to get rid of hazing.
"The culture of the chapter now is the women are more positive and focused on improving," Wild said.
Her efforts did not go unnoticed. Wild was the 2012 recipient of the Anti-Hazing Hero Award, one of only a handful given out nationally each year by HazingPrevention.org.
The soon-to-be grad says being a sorority woman has changed her life. And the college says she changed the culture of Greek life on campus.
"If you really believe in your organization and the purpose of the organization, you can't have hazing as part of the experience," said Allison Swick-Duttine, the director of fraternity/sorority life.
"We've made major strides in upholding what it means to be a fraternity man and a sorority woman," Wild said.
Turning a bad experience into a national opportunity for change.
Wild says she hopes to continue making a difference. She wants to be director of fraternity and sorority life at another university.
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:29 PM EST2014-03-09 02:29:17 GMT
A warning for pet owners in our region. Coyotes are on the prowl. A biologist in New Hampshire says he has received more than 10 calls recently, in the Keene, New Hampshire area, for a deer that was takenMore >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:21 PM EST2014-03-09 02:21:44 GMT
As spring approaches, many Vermont homeowners prepare to work on their houses - so they head to the Burlington Home Show. And many Vermont small business owners - with their products and services on displayMore >>
Many business owners at the Burlington Home Show say the new health care system in Vermont is helpful, but some say it's causing a real headache.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:07 PM EST2014-03-09 01:07:08 GMT
A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday. A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demandingMore >>
Women's March for Dignity say they are demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:19 AM EST2014-03-08 15:19:21 GMT
Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions. "Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says. The rods crossingMore >>
A national organization based in Danville says it is providing resources to people in desperate need to find water.More >>