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.
Wednesday, December 4 2013 8:05 PM EST2013-12-05 01:05:10 GMT
Burlington's deputy police chief is off the hook on drunk driving charges after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors Wednesday.More >>
Burlington's deputy police chief took a plea deal Wednesday, and then announced his retirement. The plea gets Andi Higbee off the hook for drunk driving, but the resolution of the case also ends his 24-year career with the BPD.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 9:45 AM EST2013-12-04 14:45:58 GMT
Police are looking for two Massachusetts men in connection with an assault and robbery in Burlington's South End. It happened Tuesday afternoon on Marble Ave. Investigators say Bryan Frazier, 30, and Rashad Sabree,More >>
Police are looking for two Massachusetts men in connection with an assault and robbery in Burlington's South End.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 9:31 AM EST2013-12-04 14:31:50 GMT
An accused murderer has fired his investigator. Dennis Tribble was convicted of murder twice. The 63-year-old Vermont man was convicted of shooting and killing Michael Borello in 2000. But the VermontMore >>
An accused murderer has fired his investigator.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 6:24 PM EST2013-12-04 23:24:21 GMT
He's already in jail accused of burglaries, now a Lamoille County man is facing more charges. Police say Joshua Loura is now linked to three break-ins in Wolcott and Johnson. He was already accused ofMore >>
He's already in jail accused of burglaries, now a Lamoille County man is facing more charges.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 8:18 PM EST2013-12-05 01:18:10 GMT
Some of Vermont's craft beers are so popular they are being re-sold illegally on the internet, and now the state is cracking down. Brewers like Heady Topper, Hill Farmstead and Lawson's Finest have notedMore >>
Has the Heady Topper craze gotten out of control? Now, a lawyer is in trouble with the law for allegedly trying to capitalize on the Vermont craft brew craze.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 6:03 PM EST2013-12-04 23:03:30 GMT
Still no word from investigators on what caused a fatal fire in Northern New York. Police say Sierra Daha, 22, died in the fire at her home on Dugway Road in Moriah Tuesday morning. An autopsy was completedMore >>
Still no word from investigators on what caused a fatal fire in Northern New York.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 8:09 PM EST2013-12-05 01:09:38 GMT
Betsy Bishop and staff at the Vermont Chamber of Commerce spent much of the year on the phone, convincing business operators to bring their insurance business to the state's online marketplace. But now,More >>
Individual and family enrollments are picking up speed on Vermont Health Connect, but a new extension for businesses is forcing some to re-think health coverage strategies... again.More >>