By some stroke of misfortune, you’ve been chosen to represent your chapter at your yearly national convention. This is what you find upon your arrival.
So you’ve made the long flight or drive into a large Midwestern city and are comfortably situated in your hotel room for the night. What follows will be one of your fraternity’s national conventions, where you’ll be in close quarters with brothers from around the country for the next three days. It’s a lot like summer camp back when you were a kid, only with quite a bit more showing off and tight-gripped handshakes. Now you can catch some sports on TV, maybe pass out after your long journey. But nope, it’s time for orientation. Let’s get this over with.
High Command: “I’m so glad you’ve all made it here today. Now we’re just going to hear a few words from the leadership before we officially get this started.”
Translation: “I’m so glad that even the shitty problem chapter from Central Arkansas School for the Sub-20 ACT made it here. Let’s hear a few words from everyone in the national fraternity that has any amount of authority, along with six unpaid interns and every member of the hotel staff. We’ve had a great 2015…er, 16, my bad, and I’m looking forward to shaking hands with all of you before briskly walking away and doing more important things.”
You get up at 5:30, giving yourself time for a shower and a quick breakfast before your first session of the day starts. Why the hell do they have to start so early, anyway? As you walk into your assigned room, you sit down in a group with your group leader and some brothers from your region. He starts to go over some basic chapter operations, making you reflect on the state of your chapter.
“Alright, guys, let’s go over some of the financial stuff first. Obviously, you should all be saving at least 5% every year.”
Oh fuck. Does it matter that we spent our savings on a new TV? That might have been kind of ill-advised. Oh well, thing is 80 inches and 4K. Worth it.
Over lunch, you get to talking to the president of your fraternity’s flagship chapter.
“Yeah, we only put through a class of 55 this fall, but it’s just a minor bump in the road. Good thing we were able to lower our dues to only 4 grand a semester, and we can still afford to renovate our tennis court in the back.”
Every word this guy says makes you feel like a bigger pile of shit.
Wow, didn’t know the Tri-Lambs from Revenge of the Nerds were here. This is your chapter from some small school in Iowa, fifteen strong with goobers only. All they’ve wanted for this whole conference is to get some Magic: The Gathering underway, and they’ve had drawn a surprising amount of interest. This fraternity is worse nationally than you thought.
At midday, you board a bus to head to the spot where, over a hundred years ago, a few men drunkenly founded your fraternity. Too bad your Alpha chapter was kicked off campus before World War II, rebooted in the 1990s, then kicked off again two years ago. What a shame.
Upon returning to the hotel, you have to represent your chapter and vote on over fifty new slight revisions to the national bylaws. You abstain by default for most of them, as you fall sound asleep in your chair.
At last, it’s time for the closing dinner. The Grand Executive Supreme All-Knowing Councilman gives a heartfelt speech about how much you’ve all learned, and you’re free to drink the night away before catching an early flight back home. You’ve earned it..
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