We took the hotel shuttle from the airport to the hotel with a whole group of other NPC women (6 others were on Courtney's flight from Denver!), checked in, and then headed to a big group dinner. On the way to dinner, we got stuck in the elevator!! When we got on at the 7th floor to head down to the lobby, we joined 3 other women already on board. The elevator zipped all the way down to the bottom and then shot back up to the top, and got stuck between the 8 and 9th floors. None of the buttons worked, so we used the phone inside the elevator to call for help and within 10 minutes we were rescued. Naturally we then took the stairs down to dinner. It was a bonding experience for the five of us though and we ran into each other everywhere we went over the course of the weekend.
All our meals were served buffet style with plenty of options for hot and cold entrees, sides and salads. At dinner we connected with the rest of the AXO delegation and had a great time catching up with everyone.
After dinner, the exhibitors hosted a dessert in the exhibit hall. This was our first chance to meet the vendors who were supporting the meeting. This year was the biggest group ever, with 60 organizations in attendance - everything from t-shirt designers to cities' visitors bureaus/hotel and convention centers to jewelers and insurance companies. After the event, Courtney and I visited the sunflower booth and made our donations. For each $5 contribution to the NPC Foundation, you can honor a friend with a sunflower sticker to wear on her name badge.
With business taken care of, Courtney and I then mapped out our day on Friday by walking around the three levels of conference space so we would know where our meetings were all being held.
Since this was Courtney's and my first time attending an NPC event, we were invited to the Newcomers' Welcome Reception, hosted by the NPC Executive Committee. We made some new friends, had a glass of wine, and were really impressed by how gracious and welcoming everyone on the EC was. It was also nice to know we weren't the only new ones! We ended the evening by heading to bed so we'd be ready for a long day of meetings on Friday.
After a quick (but large) breakfast, the first General Session started at 8:30am. Here are a few pictures of the room and the seating arrangements.
|At the front of the room, the Executive Committee sat on a raised platform.|
|Each of the Delegates sat at a U-shaped table that completed the other 3 sides of a square (with the head table at the top).|
Each delegation had 4 chairs behind the delegate, for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd alternates and the National or International President. It reminded me of playing train; when we were kids we would line up the kitchen chairs one behind the other and pretend to be on a train. There was additional seating for the Executive Directors, editors, other staff and guests.
Saturday began with a welcome, the pledge of allegiance and then we sang the US and Canadian national anthems. Each delegation was introduced and then the delegate introduced any guests from her sorority who were in the room. Among our Alpha Chi guests were two collegians from Texas Christian University, Brooke and Ryan.
|Most of our delegation with the Iota Lambda collegians.|
The legislation that we would discuss and vote on Saturday was presented, and then Ginny Carroll gave a really inspiring talk on the Gift of Sorority. Ginny is funny and smart; I enjoyed her message.
The Alumnae Panhellenics Committee meeting held that morning was interesting and productive. At lunch, we pulled numbers from a bag to get table assignments, which I thought was a really clever idea for mixing us up and helping us meet new people. We had time to visit the exhibitors again after lunch which was great because we only met a couple on Thursday evening. It was wonderful to meet Meghan and Jessica from Phired Up in person. I follow them on twitter and love the message of social excellence that they promote. Many of the vendors were giving out great gifts and prizes and though I didn't win, it was fun to enter! 2 ipads, 4 kindles, a tiffany bracelet and a host of other goodies went home with lucky winners.
The Educational Development Committee meeting that followed seemed really short but we covered a lot of ground and had some good collegial discussion. I really enjoyed meeting our committee chair, Mary Jane, who is an FSU alumna. Go Noles!
After dinner, we convened for a second General Session, which was a Town Hall Meeting where we openly discussed some of the issues our groups (and groups like us) face on campuses today. Before bed, we visited with some friends and had a little Alpha Chi bonding time.
Saturday began with breakfast at 6:30am but because the snacks and coffee service during all our meetings had been plentiful, we arrived just a few minutes before the 8am event, which was a great Media Training session with Kyle Niederpruem and Glen Welling of Kyle Communications. We practiced writing sound bites (some of which Glen filmed on the spot). It was very informative and hands-on.
Strategic planning break out sessions followed, which were also interactive and gave me a chance to meet a whole new group of people. Lunch followed by a short break in our room refueled us for the afternoon. Our afternoon speaker, Dr. Frances Lucas, was wonderful! She is vice president and campus executive officer of the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Operations. She made us all laugh and think. I look forward to sharing her 10 Commandments for Chapter Advisors in an upcoming post.
After a fairly brief joint Alumnae Panhellenics - Collegiate Panhellenics Committee meeting, and a short break (during which we watched a little football), we had dinner and then our final General Session where legislation was discussed, amended, and voted on. There were only a few items on the table, and none of them were controversial. Once the official releases are made, I'll share the content of the legislation with you. At the end of the meeting, we honored women who are stepping down from their delegations, including our own Julie Burkhard. It was a teary moment; Julie will be greatly missed by her many friends and colleagues.
A reception followed, then some downtime before we headed to our room to pack and prepare for a day of Alpha Chi training and bonding on Sunday.
My favorite parts of the weekend were the chances to meet and become friends with so many impressive women from the around the nation and the Panhellenic world; the really amazing speakers; the chance to spend quality time with my Alpha Chi sisters; and the opportunity to see the "big" Panhellenic in action.