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If you ever trip and fall into a leadership position either within your chapter or your school’s Greek community, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself on the guest list for a fraternity leadership conference near the beginning of your tenure. These milquetoast, glorified D.A.R.E. 10-year reunions can be downright painful if you take them at face value: a collection of boring, corporate-style seminars featuring pointers on how YOU can PUSH your chapter from BEHIND so these BOYS can be the GENTLEMAN they’re DESTINED TO BE as well as health & safety awareness tips you already learned during pledging (before having things on the “DON’T DO” list done to you immediately after). And while there’s no getting around the many lame roadblocks these misery conventions provide, there is still enjoyment to be had.
Lucky for all attendees, having fun at the conference events and having fun while on this pseudo-vacation are not mutually exclusive. Here are some tips to making the most of your fraternity leadership conference experience.
If you spend the whole trip being a hermit, you’re going to be miserable. If you spend it hanging with the people from your school that you came with, you’ll have anywhere from a bad time to a good time depending on the quality of your squad. If you want to have a truly great time, you should spend the majority of the trip networking with students from other universities. You’ll be able to very easily connect with any normal student at the conference over the fact that you both think the seminars are trash and that you wish you were literally anywhere else. While it seems odd that your friendship will be based mostly on the concept of essentially wishing you’d never met each other, it works out somehow. Planning your conference sneakouts is a great bonding experience as well.
Explore The City
Most of these leadership conferences take place in cities that have at least something going for them. Odds are you won’t be in an A city like NYC, Chicago, or Vegas; B cities are more these conferences’ speed. Indianapolis, St. Louis, Gary, etc. B cities can still be pretty neat, though. Whether it be checking out a restaurant that was on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, a bar district, or a sporting event, do your best to escape the conference and explore what luxuries decent-but-not-great America has to offer; just try not to get caught. But even if you do…
The Worst Thing That Can Happen Is Actually Kinda The Best Thing That Can Happen
At the beginning of the conference, you’ll most likely be subjected to a spiel from the organizers wherein they inform you that conduct “not in line with the conference’s mission” (or some BS like that) will not be tolerated, and may result in disciplinary actions. And if your behavior is deemed over-the-top terrible? They’ll tell you that you can get the boot; be sent home early, bringing shame upon both your fraternity and university. They’ll tell you that it happens to at least one delegation every year, and that the last thing you want is to be that group.
Except there’s one problem: being the squad kicked out of the leadership conference for being idiots is metal as shit. One delegation I’m pretty sure was from Arkansas got shipped back to their state early at the convention I attended, and I’ve never respected the state of Arkansas more. I’m still not even sure they were actually from Arkansas, but that potential association was enough to make me respect that trash state. That’s how cool I think those rule-breakers were. I’m not telling you to intentionally get kicked out of your conference; I’m just saying that people who do get kicked out of their conferences are cool. I would never endorse bad behavior..
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