WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR FIRST CONVENTION
The following post was written by guest blogger, Mariah Ritter, 2017-2018 Leadership Consultant for the Fraternity.
Prepare to have the time of your life with more than 800 other Alpha Gamma Delta sisters from across North America!
Travel & Attire
International Convention is one of the most special events to attend as an Alpha Gam. If you’re flying, Convention really starts at the airport. Expect to see Alpha Gam bags, luggage tags, T-shirts and more on your flight to San Antonio—especially at the San Antonio airport! It is a cool sight to see Alpha Gams almost everywhere you look while traveling to Convention.
Make sure to throw a light jacket in your suitcase while packing. Conference centers tend to be very cold! Also, Convention is not the time to break in new heels. There will be a lot of walking between sessions and meals, so bring your tried and true, “won’t let you down” shoes for this trip. While we are on the topic of packing, I want to give you a day-by-day rundown on attire:
- The appropriate attire for the Recruitment Pre-Con, Wellness Pre-Con, Opening and Breakout sessions, is business casual. As a friendly reminder, business casual does not include denim or leggings. Also, please refrain from clothes that are too tight or revealing. A white T-shirt will be provided for the Philanthropy Pre-Con session, and—for safety—a simple, closed toe shoe and pants are required.
- If you are not registered for a Pre-Con Session and are arriving for registration Thursday morning, break out your school’s colors and show off some school spirit.
- After Thursday’s sessions, we will head out for a night on the ranch. The dress code is western chic. As a native Texan, I can’t wait to dust off my favorite boots!
- The dress code for most of Friday’s sessions is business casual. Following the last breakout session of the day, you will have time to head back to your hotel room to get ready for the Ritual and Memorial Services, as Initiation attire is required for the rest of the evening.
- Need a refresher on appropriate Initiation attire? Click here and watch this video.
- Business casual is required for the General Session, Awards Luncheon and Closing Session—but there’s a fun twist! Wear your favorite red, buff or green outfit for Red, Buff and Green Day. Following the Closing Session, you will have time to get ready for Feast of Roses and Our Living Circle. Show off your favorite formal or cocktail dress. This is one of the most fun outfit nights for sure!
- Sunday is a comfy travel day. Be sure to pick up some of the newest releases from the Alpha Gam Boutique to travel home in.
On Friday night, all initiated members are invited to attend an Initiation Service for alumnae initiates. If you are representing a collegiate chapter, pay special attention and take mental notes: Is your chapter’s Initiation Service up to par? This is a time to learn! If you notice something your chapter may not be doing—or you aren’t sure your chapter is doing correctly—do not panic. Make a point to connect with your Ritual Committee Member when you return home.
Following the Initiation Service, the Honors of Epsilon Pi Banquet and Service is held. This secret Service recognizes volunteers of the Fraternity who have given outstanding and continuous service and only happens at Convention.
Finally, the Fraternity will host Feast of Roses on Saturday night. You will recognize the ceremony—but on a much larger scale! Each chapter sits together at their assigned table(s), collegiate and alumnae members alike. This is a special opportunity to connect with chapter sisters you may have never met before.
One of my favorite memories from my first Convention was the Chapter Roll Call. Every member is given a candle. As chapter names are read aloud, members light their candles and stand until every chapter is announced and everyone is standing. It is one of the many beautiful, unifying moments throughout Convention.
Following Feast of Roses, we will join in a large circle, or “The Living Circle,” to sing all the Fraternity’s songs. Study up on the lyrics—it is more fun when you know the tune! But just in case you forget, keep your Convention program handy for a reminder of the song lyrics.
A key component of Convention, breakout sessions are beneficial to you and your chapter. A variety of topics will be discussed in separate conference rooms throughout the hotel on Thursday and Friday. Be strategic and split up your chapter representatives so at least one person attends each session. I promise you will want to gain all the knowledge that is offered, so take notes to take back and share with your chapter.
During the Business Session, voting members will discuss and vote on resolutions brought to the Fraternity. Resolutions can be brought to the Fraternity prior to the session or they may be brought to the floor during the session. Throughout the session, there will be a Parliamentarian guiding the Fraternity to make sure Robert’s Rules of Order are followed.
Voting members include Chapter Delegates, Chapter Advisors, Alumnae Chapter/Club Delegates in Good Standing, Volunteer Service Team members, International House Association Delegates, International Council and Past Grand/International Council members. Voting members will use electronic voting devices and assigned seating.
In celebration of our Golden Convention, members were able to sponsor chair toppers in support of a chapter or volunteer position. If you missed the opportunity to sponsor a chair topper this year, don’t fret! Sponsorship opportunities will be available for the 2020 Convention.
Many years ago, sisters sent fresh flowers and corsages to show their appreciation for their closest sisters. Transformed into the applique roses, Appreciation Roses have a sticky back to adhere to your nametag throughout Convention. All roses come with a card to present to the recipient. It is customary to present them in person at Convention or mail them to sisters who are not in attendance. This year, a special edition Gold Rose pin is available to commemorate the 50th Golden Convention.
Each chapter has their own flag in their school’s colors, complete with their chapter designation, school name and founding year. In earlier years, Chapter Delegates walked in the Opening Processional with their chapter flag. But—as the Fraternity continued to grow—this tradition took too much time. Today, only newly installed or reinstalled chapters from the past biennium present their flag during the Processional. All Chapter flags are displayed throughout the weekend and make an awesome photo-op. Be sure to get a few pictures with yours!
Although Convention is tons of fun, the days are long. Be prepared to refuel. You might need to set your alarm a little earlier to make sure you can get in line at Starbucks. Or borrow my favorite sleepy girl hack: purchase iced coffee from the grocery store and keep it in the hotel mini-fridge! If you haven’t already, check out a few other packing tips from the Fraternity’s Events Manager.
Even though I just said the days are long, the weekend flies by SO quickly. Whoever said, “time flies when you are having fun,” wasn’t kidding. Cherish these moments and be prepared to make life-long connections. See you in San Antonio!
Epsilon Upsilon–Tarleton State University