This is an article from a brother from Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity at Christopher Newport University. A donation to his chapter was made on his behalf for this submission. Go here to learn more about this program.
Saturday morning, October 2nd, 2010 I awoke to one my brothers slinging my door wide open to drag me out of bed before we headed off to our regional conclave. I had been planning on going for a week, but a little after-hours recreation left me running a little behind schedule for the fraternal event 90 minutes away.
At this point, the last thing I wanted to do was get dressed up and sit in a room full of strangers listening to power point presentations I’d seen just 3 months ago. However, I quickly found out this was not the case. Brothers from the East Coast, where conclave was being hosted, warmly greeted me and I even saw a few familiar faces. Seeing our Regional Director again wasn’t half bad either.
To my surprise, we didn’t sit through one single repetitive powerpoint. For the most part, Conclave was all dialogue and the chapters working together to solve each other’s problems through both examples and sharing of actual experiences. We practiced pitching the fraternity to each other as if one brother was still a recruit, or rushee.
This was at times painfully embarrassing, but exponentially helpful. It challenged my thought process in multiple ways. The first was pitching the fraternity in an original manner, and second, having the fraternity pitched to me and attempting to block all the biases I already had.
Talking about real-life struggles within Greek Life and being forced to look at the fraternity as an outsider enforced a common, highly constructive theme: looking at the fraternity as a 3rd party. Not only was I able to provide insight as a 3rd party to other chapters, but the delegates from my chapter quickly learned that we have differing thoughts on what the fraternity it struggling with.
This led to perhaps the best part of conclave, being able to sit down with our regional director and a local alumnus to discuss the discrepancies of struggles that had just surfaced. Some of these issues would never have been discussed and solutions would never have come had our chapter been left to its own devices.
With two conclaves under my belt, not only do I plan on attending another one – I plan on never missing one. The enthusiasm that conclave leaves you with, and the new connections made with previously unknown brothers is almost indescribable. Lastly, I’ll end with my favorite piece of wisdom our director bestowed; “It’s not about who you know, It’s about who knows you.” I’m now motivated to apply this to not only myself, but also everything I’m involved with, especially my fraternity.