When I attended the 51st Grand Chapter Congress of the International Fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi in New Orleans, Louisiana this August, a question asked to a room full of Deltasigs took me by surprise:
“How many of you are here for your first Grand Chapter Congress?”
I was surprised by the lack of raised hands of first timers such as myself. Considering the percent of brothers without their hands up allowed me to realize something about my experience in Delta Sigma Pi. This fraternity truly is even greater than I had known.
I had expected mostly collegiate Deltasigs. I had not expected the opportunity to meet and network with so many alumni. I find it amazing the number of alumni who continue their involvement in the fraternity years and decades after graduation. Delta Sigma Pi absolutely lasts for life.
My Grand Chapter experience helped me grow professionally, personally, and as a brother, and I have found a few things have helped me on the way to this growth.
Get the most from sessions
It may sound obvious to attend as many sessions as possible. Learning from the wealth of knowledge the speakers can impart upon us is a major reason to attend an event such as LEAD or Grand Chapter. It may seem like you need a few minutes to relax, or you want to do something fun with your friends, but very likely, there will be time for that later. You might never know how much influence a session might have on you unless you go to it.
Take a chance
You might not think the title of a session applies to you or could help you, but maybe it can. Don’t attend nothing because you think you don’t need development in an area. And, don’t be afraid to branch out and go to a session without another Iota Nu. When it comes down to it, what you learn will help you personally. Having someone to go with won’t affect how much you learn. Besides, even if no one from your chapter attends, you’ll still have brothers in the room.
Find the unexpected
While the delegates voted during Grand Chapter Congress, I listened, seated in the back of the room, wondering at the beginning if I would get anything out of this. I went because there were no other sessions at the time, and, while I could have taken a nap, I knew I could get something out of this experience. It would be interesting to see how the meeting would be run and listen to the way the delegates discussed the proposals at hand. What I didn’t realize was how refreshing it was to know how much the delegates care about our fraternity, that they are willing to carefully consider the effects of their actions and decisions there at Grand Chapter. It renewed a drive in me to lead and increase my involvement with my chapter and with the fraternity as a whole.
Live in the moment
Brotherhood is not made of the entirety of that trip, but in the smaller moments within it. From all eleven of us sharing stories in one of the hotel rooms, to three of us enjoying beignets in the French Quarter, growing closer to Iota Nu brothers was undoubtedly one meaningful highlight of this trip. Additionally, I had the chance to compare experiences with brothers from Ohio to Florida, and with alumni from our own chapter.
The high point of the trip, for me, occurred when hundreds of Deltasigs began to march down Canal Street, closed to traffic at the time, tossing beads to onlookers. Despite how amazing of an experience the walk was, one of my favorite moments occurred before we exited the hotel area. So many phones waved in the area, videoing the surroundings, but even without a video, I can visualize the excitement as we prepared to make the same walk with so many brothers there for many of the same reasons as ourselves. The moment we all joined in and sang, “Rose of Deltasig” really cemented that idea. A small group of brothers began the song and everyone within earshot joined in, celebrating Delta Sigma Pi and, although many of us have never met, the connection each one of us shares.
Attending Grand Chapter Congress helped me to grow professionally and personally, and renewed and reminded me of the special bond of brotherhood. I know everyone’s experience would be different, but I recommend every brother attend Grand Chapter Congress.