This weekend I was able to represent my school at the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values in Indianapolis. The entire conference was held to teach us about leadership in Greek life, and there was over 3,300 attendees from colleges across the country. Throughout the weekend there were three general sessions (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings) and 9 educational blocks. The ed blocks were roughly an hour long and each block had 10-15 different talks for students to choose to go to. I only went to 8 ed blocks because I really needed a coffee during one, but I learned a lot that I could also apply to my life as a whole. Here’s a little recap of what I learned:
Ed Block 1: Embracing Real Beauty
This session was held by Stacy Nadeau who was one of the six women in the dove “real women” campaign which photographed real women of all shapes and sizes and posted them on billboards and social media across the nation. She talked about the ups and downs of her journey and encouraged all of us to see ourselves as beautiful no matter what the media portrays as such.
General Session 2: Leading Imperfectly- The Value of Being Authentic for Fraternity & Sorority Leaders
James Robilotta talked about the five qualities of being a good leader. He said that most people said to make up a mnemonic device or an acronym to remember things so he made up the word “PEORM” which honestly isn’t a word at all. PEORM stands for purposeful, empower, own, real, and morals. You should lead with purpose and empower others around you to do the same. You should own your mistakes, be real to yourself, and use your morals when assessing situations. This presentation was hilarious and fun to listen to first thing in the morning.
Ed Block 2: Crucial Conversations in the College Panhellenic Judicial Process
I’m not going to lie this session was the toughest one for me to sit through because the material was a little dry. Though it wasn’t about glitter and rainbows, it was extremely helpful since I’m now on the Panhellenic exec board at my school. They taught me how to handle the judicial process when there are sorority infractions on campus.
Ed Block 3: Expanding the Expansion Conversation:
This presentation was done by my friend Morgan (and fellow Panhel exec member aka prez) and Brian Hoffman who used to be the Fraternity and Sorority Life Advisor on my campus. We discussed being welcoming to new organizations on campus, but also how to be closer with people in other Greek life councils that are already there. On my campus we have multiple councils including Panhellenic (which my sorority is in), IFC (or the classic fraternities), NPHC (the historically black council) and MGC (the multicultural Greek council.) I guess I never realized how little I knew about other councils.
Ed Block 4: That Sex & Relationships Program
At first, I thought this program was going to be about sexual assault and I chose it because I thought it would be interesting with my Criminology major. It was actually more about holding healthy relationships whether you’re dating or just “hooking up.” I’m not gonna lie I didn’t learn much because the presenter was talking fast to make sure he got through everything.
Ed Block 5: The Future of Recruitment
This talk was about fraternity and sorority life moving towards a more technological process. Our presenter was saying that Greek life is cheaper than ever not only in cost but also in time, meaning the process of recruitment is a lot less work than it used to be. This session was only half an hour, so not much time to talk.
General Session 3: Because I Said I Would
This session was given by a man named Alex Sheen who founded the “Because I said I Would” company. He made cards that say that phrase at the bottom for people to write in promises to themselves like “I will stop thinking poorly of myself… because I said I would” and the non profit blew up. These cards are mailed to whoever wants them for no cost at all. He also raised enough money to buy 100 tickets to Disney for families of sick children who couldn’t afford it and walked across the state of Ohio to raise awareness for the three women who were kidnapped and kept for 10 years. His dedication to making the world a better place was so inspirational.
Ed Block 6: You Are What You Believe
This session was given by professional wrestler David Otunga. I don’t really know what this session was about because he just played videos of himself on TV and talked about his life the entire time.
Ed Block 7: Strong Girl Steps to a Stronger, more Confident and Happier You
I think this was one of my favorite ed blocks. We basically talked about ten steps to live a better life mentally and physically. I won’t list all the steps, but some included believe in yourself, identify your purpose and passion, and be resilient. I learned so much about becoming more confident, and it helped me get some new motivation to take care of myself.
Ed Block 8: Rise to Shine
My final session was all about happiness. We need to be a little happier in our lives in order to succeed. According to the speaker there are three G’s of happiness: Goal Setting, Gratitude, and Giving Back. Who doesn’t feel better when they know their path in life, they consciously think about what they’re grateful for that day, or they help others?
This conference was amazing and I was so glad I got the chance to attend. I got to come with 14 other students from UT most of which I’ve never met, and we all got really close by the end of it. I learned so much about myself, others, and Greek life and I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity. So here I leave you with some of my favorite quotes from the weekend:
- “Hipocracy and leadership are oil and water.”
- “As leaders it’s not only your job to help others, but also their job to help lead you.”
- “Your intent will influence your impact.”
- “Leaders push they don’t pull.”
- “We can’t learn from people who are perfect. We can only learn from those who are imperfect.”
- “Are you who you’re supposed to be or are you yourself?”
- “You can’t build a world class restaurant without a world class chef.”
- “We always say ‘later’ or ‘tomorrow,’ but one day there is no tomorrow.”
- “Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have.”
- “You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to show up.”
- “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t- you’re right.”-Henry Ford