Friday, April 8, 2011

SEPC Day 2 Recap

I spent last weekend in Atlanta for SEPC, the Southeastern Panhellenic Conference, one of the premier college women's leadership conferences in the country. Because I have lots to share (and lots of photos!) I'm going to share three posts about the conference, one for each day. [preview post here; day one post here.]

SEPC Day 2: Friday (it's a long one so stay with me!)

After a nice breakfast in one of the hotel restaurants with University of Miami colleagues Michelle and Monica, we had a plethora of choices of educational sessions from which to choose. If you're interested, see the schedule here.

From 9-10 I listened as DeeDee Cooper shared her story of teen dating

violence. In Have You Been Hit by Love? DeeDee "shares her personal story of domestic violence with an uplifting and brutally honest account of her experience that will allow your students to recognize the signs of an unhealthy relationship for themselves or someone they may know and how to effectively leave the situation."

She's a very effective speaker. Two things I thought she did especially well:
- Her first person account of how the shame involved prevents victims from seeking help really hit home with the young women in the room
- She shared the Power and Control wheel of domestic violence, which is a good visual way to help women evaluate their relationships as well as the ones of friends they might be concerned about. Learn more about DeeDee at

From 10:15-11:15 Julie Burkhard led a great interactive session: Mentor Me, Mentor You. We explored all the characteristics a mentor might have, thought about who in our lives have mentored us (even if we've not had a formal mentor-mentee relationship) and left wanting to go out and mentor others.

The Philanthropy Luncheon followed. I had been looking forward to this event because SEPC partnered with Circle of Sisterhood (I've written about CoS before, for example, read this.) Circle of Sisterhood works to help alleviate many of the world's most pressing problems by providing education to girls. There was a lot of excitement generated for the cause at the luncheon! Sorority women really "get it" and want to work together to make a difference in the world! The event hostesses asked that everyone contribute $1 to cover the costs for a school CoS is working with in Tanzania. The $1000 they hoped to raise would cover all the expenses for all the students, from lunches to notebooks and pencils. As you can see in the photo, below, everyone was happy to give - and the luncheon pass-the-hat netted $1500!
One side of the ballroom being generous with their Circle of Sisterhood donations!

Overall, Circle of Sisterhood raised $5,250 during the conference and partnered with 46 College Panhellenics! An incredible result!

After lunch, I headed to an educational session called Girls Fight Back! Erin Weed (pictured below) created Girls Fight Back to teach young women the self-defense skills. Her story is truly inspirational - and her message is one I'd love to see presented on every campus in the nation.
"Girls Fight Back teaches young women to live safe, strong and empowered lives...and to never make choices stemming from fear. Beginning with the tragic story of murdered Eastern Illinois University student Shannon McNamara, we create a powerful impact upon students in regards to the prevalence of violence against women. However, the darkness ends there. We move on to explain 3 steps to a safe and empowered life: Trust Intution. Be a Bad Victim. Learn to Fight! We explain ways to reduce the risk of violence, how to understand intuition, the best ways to live as a cybersafe, strategies to secure dorms/apartments from home invasions and how to address violence in social settings. (dating violence, acquaintance rape, predatory drugs, etc.) Then it’s interactive time! Regardless of crowd size, students stand up and learn verbal de-escalation, strong body language, an effective 3-part self-defense formula, ground fighting strategies and how to use improvised weapons."

Next on my agenda was hearing TJ Sullivan speak on "Confronting the Idiot in Your Chapter" (the video is about 8 minutes long, watch if you have time):

Many of my advisor friends love TJ's blog (check it out here) so this was a not-to-be-missed session. TJ did not disappoint. He is funny and honest and really connects with his audience. His message is on point too: you can't wait for someone else to do the hard thing - YOU have to step up and be the leader.

At 4pm I had a half hour break during which I bid on a silent auction item and had a quick snack. At 4:30 we had a campus meeting for one of the schools I work with. This good productive meeting was followed by an NPC Dinner with all the delegations. I enjoyed having a chance to socialize while enjoying a good meal. After dinner I changed my clothes and met my Delta Phi Epsilon friend Amanda (she's their 2nd Alterate Delegate) to work at the Sunflower Booth. The Sunflower Booth is a fundraiser for the NPC Foundation. For a $2 donation you could honor a sister or friend with a sunflower sticker to wear on her name badge. The funds go to fund NPC's educational programs like Something of Value.

The evening activity was a Sock Hop with karaoke, which was a lot of fun, and included ice cream sundaes, popcorn, cookies, brownies and other treats. I had a nice visit with Atlanta friend Marlene at the party. Like my scarf? My attempt to look 50s-ish for the Sock Hop. :)

Ahhh bedtime!

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