Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Inspired by Convention: Changing Perspectives, Changing the Conversation


Welcome to the "Inspired by Alpha Chi Omega Convention" series! Thank you, Lee Anne White, for your thoughtful insights and for providing our first guest post!

This was my third convention, which means I finally got to wear one of those “silver thingies” on my head at the Olympian lunch. When I think back on my first two conventions, the big moments are what first come to mind—the introduction of the Real. Strong. Women. branding program in 2008 and hearing the voices of our founders for the first time at our 125th anniversary in 2010. And, of course, I’ll never forget the first time I walked into the convention hall—realizing just how big this was and seeing all of those banners flying overhead.

Yet, I agree with Amy—somehow, this convention felt different. And I believe it is best characterized by a quiet moment shared with the younger women representing our chapter who traveled to convention with me. A little concerned about the serious looks on their faces, I inquired about how they were doing and whether or not they were enjoying convention. “Oh, yes!” they said, lighting up. “This is amazing. We just never realized how inwardly focused we were as a chapter—that Alpha Chi Omega is so much more than we had ever imagined. We plan to attend all conventions from now on!” Indeed, they are already laying plans to meet in Palm Desert and mapping out a post-convention road trip to see Shania Twain perform in Las Vegas. They are also looking ahead to their future involvement with Alpha Chi Omega and have already begun connecting with sisters of all ages from all over the country.

Back on campus—even when we’re heavily focused on philanthropy and campus involvement—it’s easy to get wrapped up in our own chapter and its activities. When you attend convention, you realize that this isn’t just about your chapter or your collegian years. It gives new meaning to the concept of sisterhood for a lifetime. And at this convention, Alpha Chi Omega was not focused on itself, but on the bigger picture—really honing in on the role of both the fraternity and women in the world today, with outstanding speakers delivering powerful messages about domestic violence, the sexual objectification of women, leadership, and living a meaningful life. It was not only inspiring, but thought provoking and empowering as well.

My collegian days are well behind me. Admittedly, friends look at me funny when I tell them I am a sorority advisor. “Haven’t you outgrown sororities yet?” they clearly want to ask. I tend to respond by explaining that it’s not about “sorority.” It’s about helping young women discover their talents, abilities and potential, and helping them grow into leaders who will help shape our communities and the world. But maybe it’s about sorority, too—because it is our ritual that bonds us as sisters and that guides our daily thoughts and actions. Together, as collegians and alumnae, we will seek the heights!

Lee Anne White is the advisor for Tau Chapter, which recently celebrated its Centennial year at The Women’s College at Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia. She blogs daily about women, creativity and living authentically at www.HerOwnWay.com. Follow her on twitter @leeannewhite and “like” her facebook page: Her Own Way.



2 comments:

  1. I love Lee Anne and it was FABULOUS to see her on stage accepting an award with Tau chapter!

    This makes my heart swell:
    "...Alpha Chi Omega is so much more than we had ever imagined..."

    ReplyDelete

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