Looking for a summer getaway that’s fun, meaningful, and productive? While other students are relaxing during their summer vacations, many Greek students and alumni are participating in national conventions and leadership conferences. Conventions and conferences that give Greek students and alumni ways to connect and learn take place nationwide during the summer. Focusing on development and relationship-building, these events are not only beneficial to participants, but to the chapters and national organizations that they are affiliated with as well. Armed with the knowledge they’ve acquired and relationships they’ve made, attendees return to their chapters in the fall reenergized and ready to introduce new ideas and strategies to their sisters and brothers. Interested parties can consult national sorority and fraternity websites for information regarding relevant convention and events.
Many fraternities and sororities hold their own national conventions in various cities across the country on a regular basis. For students, these are ways to connect with their organizations on a different level. Going to national conventions means seeing fraternity and sorority life on a larger scale. It also means getting involved with these organizations in another way, with more exposure to their impact and complexity. Only at events like these can members vote in national officer elections, for example. There’s more to getting involved than just participating in various activities; it also means that students from all over the country can come together and represent their specific chapters with pride on the national fraternal stage. Acting as the public face of a chapter is an honor and a responsibility that many fraternity and sorority women look forward to every year.
Students and alumni hungry for personal and professional development flock to Greek conventions. Some of this development takes place via traditional means. National Greek awards are distributed at conventions, attracting successful and influential members to these congregations. Their speeches are educational and inspiring, rich with the knowledge gleaned after years of experience in Greek life. Attendees can also sit in on organized discussions focused on topics relevant to Greek leadership, such as financial management, recruitment, and risk management. Participating in national conventions also allows members to both celebrate their achievements and voice their challenges, in the company of those who really understand and appreciate the ups and downs specific to Greek life. Sharing these details allows members to express themselves and results in learning opportunities for everyone involved.
Clearly, socializing isn’t just a fun byproduct of conventions. Yes, life-long friendships can be made at conventions and rekindled year after year. Associations between students and alumni can also solidify the connections between an organization’s past and future. Conventions even serve as impromptu reunions for alumni. These events are great times to bond with sisters and brothers affiliated with one’s own chapter, as well as other chapters, but talks and panels aren’t the only ways to develop leadership skills. Convention socializing can be equally productive. Fellow attendees are good resources for Greek life problem-solving. This applies to both current students and alumni; the latter enjoy reconnecting with their respective fraternal organizations, and this often includes mentoring younger generations. Socializing at Greek events like conventions can also result in professional advancement. Leadership development is applicable to forging a productive career path after graduation, but so is networking. Students and alumni looking for professional opportunities can easily connect with one another at nationwide events.
In addition to national conventions, other opportunities for ambitious sorority and fraternity members take place every summer. For instance, one of the preeminent events available to members of any Greek chapter is The Undergraduate Inter-Fraternity Institute (UIFI), which assembles collegiate men and women from across the United States for four-day leadership conferences held throughout the summer. Since 1990, UIFI has expanded, growing from a program serving thirty participants to 1,200. Local Hoosier cities, including Indianapolis, Greencastle, West Lafayette, and Bloomington, have actually hosted UIFI. The goal of this established leadership conference is to give Greek members the “opportunity to explore, define, and enhance their leadership skills, personal integrity, fraternity and sorority commitment, and grow to expect values based action from themselves and those they lead.” UIFI appreciates and celebrates Greek life, embracing positivity. Concurrently, this program helps students help their own chapters by encouraging growth and confronting challenges. With their chapter values in mind, leaders are given the resources to develop action plans, which are enacted once they return to campus.