We put a lot of time into the conference program book, but this app is seriously sweet. It will give you all of the schedule information you need - plus, any updates, cancellations, or changes to the schedule will be reflected there immediately. Download it now and start perusing through the sessions. After you click on any session or event, you'll be able to click to add that event to your own personal schedule. Go ahead, start reviewing all the educational sessions now and choose those you're interested in attending!
Some people are just naturally excited people and are already tweeting about how excited they are. Others aren't really sure what to expect. For many, this will be your first professional conference... and since it's so large, it might be a bit intimidating. We know this! So, to help you wrap your brains around it all, we've given you the entire schedule ahead of time. Take a look and get excited. But, we've already told you this. We want you to go further than that... think about what it is you're looking for. What does your chapter need? Where can your council improve? What are your leadership goals this year? Taking a moment to think about these things will help get your appetite going for the whole conference.
Meet new people.
Most of you will be traveling to St. Louis with a delegation. As much as we want you to take this time to bond and plan with your fellow council leaders, we also challenge you to intentionally stay away from them. This event will enable you to meet people from all over the country. Share ideas, make connections, and build your networks! We recommend having check-in meetings with your delegations in the morning and processing in the evening. Everything in between should be about branching out. We definitely don't want you going to the same breakout session as a fellow council member; it's better to split up and get breadth of education. Don't worry, you'll get to sit together at a few meals.
Realize you're a small fish.
Many of you are big fish when you're at home. You're a known leader in your campus community and people know you and think you're a pretty big deal. So, how do we break this to you? We'll just say it: This week, you'll be a small fish. We're telling you this now so you can plan for it. Every one of the more than 2,000 students at this event will be equally as big a deal as you.... and almost no one will know who you are. But, don't let this bother or scare you. View it as an opportunity to meet new people, share ideas, and have a great time. We're all on the same playing field - a very elevated playing field. It's an awesome environment!
Take off your cool cap.
Some of you don't wear cool caps, but if you do, consider this your warning. A cool cap might be a pretty cheesy term, but we still think it's one that's important to discuss. Wearing a cool cap prohibits you from being honest and getting the best experience at the conference because, frankly, you're afraid of looking stupid, nerdy, vulnerable, or naive. Or, just uncool. Consider this: good leaders and honest and genuinely committed to making change. That, in and of itself, is cool.
Some of the best sessions are in the morning. If you miss them, you're not getting the full experience. Plus, it's unprofessional and a misuse of your council's money to skip sessions. Get up, drink your coffee, and join us looking your best!
Don't get drunk.
In order to be looking your best you need to be feeling your best. Hungover brains and bodies don't function as well. That's a fact. Trust us, you'll be missing out on the experience if you're not entirely present (physically and mentally). Not to mention the fact that drinking at a fraternal leadership conference is pretty incongruent with the whole fraternal values idea... whether or not you're of legal age.
For some of you, this conference might be the best opportunity you'll ever have to dialogue about fraternal life. Take full advantage of this; be honest in your personal, chapter, and community strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has them. Don't be afraid to talk openly and ask questions. Whether you're in an educational session or just chatting with someone in the hallway, this is your chance for honest feedback and ideas.
Experience the entire environment. Any conference, including this one, is about so much more than what's listed in the schedule. Take time to take it all in: the vendors, the displays, the bookstore, and the people. If you feel like you have idle time, go do something!
Plan ahead to bring it back.
The conference events are over on Sunday morning, but that should only be the beginning for you. Throughout the event, take notes, make goals, and set standards. You'll be exhausted traveling home, but that's actually the best time to gather your thoughts and make plans for the future. We want this experience to catapult you into the future. Simply put, if you go back to campus and just keep doing what you were doing before, you missed the whole point.
Our expectations are high - and we know yours are, too. We're excited to see your smiling faces in a few days.
See you in St. Louis!