Max Gruver was a new member of Phi Delta Theta at the Louisiana Beta Chapter at Louisiana State University. Two dates that will forever shape the history of Phi Delta Theta are September 14, 2017, the day Max died due to hazing, and January 8, 2020, when the Max Gruver Foundation announced a partnership with the Fraternity. Since then, Steve and Rae Ann Gruver have shared Max’s story within Phi Delta Theta. Starting in the fall of 2022, Phi Delta Theta will expand its partnership with the Max Gruver Foundation by assisting with the education of high school students.
Since Max’s death, Steve and Rae Ann have made it their mission to tell his story on college campuses, specifically within university Greek communities. Along the way, they have met with thousands of college students on hundreds of campuses, many of who entered college having knowingly or unknowingly been hazed through sports teams, bands, and other clubs in high school. With more than 15.1 million high school students at 23,000 high schools in the United States, it became apparent that anti-hazing conversations and education need to begin before students enter college.
To further anti-hazing education in high schools and to ensure that no more lives are ruined through hazing, Phi Delta Theta and the Max Gruver Foundation created Take Action: Building New Traditions with the men of Georgia Alpha at the University of Georgia. The anti-hazing educational program was first delivered at Max’s high school, Blessed Trinity, in April 2022. Following the delivery of the program at Blessed Trinity, Phi Delta Theta has worked to refine the program and expand its reach. As a result, Phi Delta Theta will expand the program to at least fifteen high schools in the United States and Canada this fall.
High school programming is prioritized in many ways by educators, but a familiar contact is what always helps open the door to an opportunity. Phi Delta Theta and the Max Gruver Foundation would like you to consider broaching the idea of bringing Take Action: Building New Traditions to the teachers, guidance counselors, principals, or others you know to the students at your alma mater or the high schools in your community. By identifying an interested high school and helping to facilitate the presentation, your chapter will have the opportunity to share Max’s story, impact your community, and help eradicate hazing.
If you’re an undergraduate leader and recommend your chapter and a high school, we’ll send you #FlyHighMax wristbands for the entire chapter. Phi Delta Theta will then work to establish the opportunity and help your chapter prepare to deliver Take Action: Building New Traditions. While fifteen presentations may not seem like many, it is Phi Delta Theta and the Max Gruver Foundation’s first step towards giving high school students the tools to step up and prevent another tragedy.