So by this point you know that I traveled to California last week to attend Sigma Pi Fraternity, International’s 49th Biennial Convocation. For the profane out there, “biennial” means once every two years. The entire visit and the event were absolutely amazing for so many reasons!
To start, this was my first time in California and the minute that we touched down, there was a 5.4 earthquake! How crazy is that? Luckily, we really didn’t feel the earthquake in the plane, but there were a lot of people huddled around television screens in the airport. It was pretty weird, but definitely a fortuitous event in terms of how my delegation and I fared at the national convention.
As for Long Beach itself, I wasn’t overly crazy about the location. Granted, the temperature was nice and there was nearly no humidity, but there was no “beach” in Long Beach. The closest beaches were 20 minutes away north or south by car. There was a nice tourist area with a Hooters and an Outback and some other places that you can find across the country, but only a few places with local flavor. We did spend one night in something called GameWorks and that was a blast. However, I find that as I get older at these events I want to go to the bar less and less and I enjoy the time I get to hang out with my friends from far away more and more. The last thing that I’ll say about the location is that the convention two years ago was about a 3 minute walk from Bourbon Street in New Orleans and I don’t know how anyone can top that scene!
Once again, my undergraduates and alumni volunteers wiped up the awards. I have 7 chapters out of some 130 that are under my direct supervision. Of those 7, THREE were awarded as among the Top 25 chapters in the nation! Better yet, of those 3, TWO were listed as among the Top 12 in the nation. The culmination of the event came when my chapter at The College of New Jersey won an award for being the #1 chapter in the nation. Absolutely amazing.
I was extremely proud of my chapter at Rowan University which won the Most Improved Chapter Award. In 2002 when I attended the convention as an undergraduate, my chapter won runner-up for the Most Improved Chapter. It only took four short years for us to rise to be the number one chapter in the nation and I expect the same thing will happen with our young men down at Rowan University. They have great leaders, great brothers, and a plan for success that is unmatched.
Our alumni volunteers also did a magnificent job of bringing home some awards. Each of our chapters has a direct advisor which we call a Chapter Director and the gentleman who advises our group at The College of New Jersey won the award for being the #1 Chapter Director in the nation! Each chapter is also required to have a Faculty Advisor and the professor who serves for our Monmouth University chapter won the #1 Faculty Advisor in the nation award! And the hits just kept on coming as I was honored and humbled to be awarded the #1 Province Archon in the nation award (we have 33 different regions in Sigma Pi, each with a Province Archon). We didn’t expect to receive so many awards and even though we’ve been building a history of success in New Jersey, this was a beautifully shocking event.
Also, I decided to run for a seat on the Board of Trustees on our Educational Foundation and thanks to the support of my brothers from around the nation I won the election. Once again, I am in debt to my fraternity brothers both local and far and I thank them for their support. I pledge NEVER to let them down so long as I serve on this Foundation!
Two more somewhat significant events took place for the New Jersey guys at Convocation. First, our delegate from the William Paterson University chapter proposed (and passed) a major new merit reimbursement program for the fraternity. That’s awesome. In a world where costs are going up and responsibilities are increasing, Sigma Pi Fraternity has decided to provide financial incentives to those chapters which adhere to their commitments to our National Organization. Second, our delegate from Monmouth University proposed (and passed) a new awards program that awards those chapters which perform the most outstanding events for the Sam Spady Foundation, our international philanthropy.
For some pictures of the event, you can check out my galleries on Facebook or on Google’s Picasa Web Albums (both have the same pictures in them). And, as I always say at the end of these events, this was one hell of a good time and I can’t wait to go to the next convention in 2010 in Boston!