Convention changed my life. And arguably, it changed a lot of other people’s too. That sounds extreme, I know, but hear me out.
In November of 2007, I was elected to serve Alpha Rho Delta as recruitment chairman for a term that would run January 2008 through December 2008. During the winter break leading up my term in office I was searching everywhere for recruitment resources. I was reading networking books, body language books, and everything else I could to be more of a people person. Then, one night I came across some company named Phired Up and their e-book ‘Good Guys’. I stayed up until 4am reading the book, and I knew that I had just stumbled upon a gold mine. This book, written by Josh Orendi and Matt Mattson, would become my recruitment bible.
Fast forward to May of 2008. I learn that I am going to the 167th Annual Convention of Chi Psi in Ithaca, NY, hosted by Alpha Psi. Because my father lives relatively close to Ithaca, I decided to drive from Ohio with a great friend and Brother, Brad Bachman. He had been to two conventions before so I peppered him with questions the whole way. I remember him telling me, “I can’t really explain to you how awesome it is and how much you will love it. Just trust me, it’s going to be amazing.”
So I get to Convention and I am totally overwhelmed by the instant camaraderie. People I’ve never met before are helping me with my suitcase, showing me where to go, inviting me to sit with them at meals and generally just being enthusiastic about Chi Psi. In those first hours in Ithaca, I realized that Chi Psi truly was a band of Brothers bigger than my own Alpha, and longer lasting than my four years of college.
At the Spencer Institute sessions, I was floored by two things:
1) During the small group discussions, I was helpful to other Alphas. Being a new officer from Chi Psi’s (then) newest Alpha, I thought I would be the idiot in the room. But when I realized that I was on the right track it was an incredible confidence boost.
2) JOSH ORENDI, The author of my recruitment bible, ‘Good Guys’ was the program facilitator. I’ve never listened more intently in my whole life. In fact, I distinctly remember cornering Josh during the lunch hour and asking him about 1,000 questions on everything. I was a sponge.
When convention closed, I drove back to Ohio with a new arsenal of recruitment skills, a world full of ideas (namely, Stuff the Bus) and a big-frickin Phoenix– the Founders Trophy for most improved Alpha in Chi Psi. Additionally, I knew during that moment that I wanted to be an Alpha Visitor– a decision that has introduced me to so many faces, places, and experiences that have truly made me a different and (I think) better person.
During the fall of 2008 I went on a recruitment rampage for which I am still apologizing to my Brothers. I was a recruitment general leading my Alpha through a battle for the best men on Miami’s campus. Which leads me to my next point…
Being in Chi Psi changed my life. I’ve met so many people, been so many places, and been forced to adapt to so many different situations. As Brother Bessey asked in last week’s blog “How would my life be different without Chi Psi?” I cannot even begin to answer that question as Chi Psi has been such an integral part of my life.
Thus, the way I’ve learned to see it, for every new person that I’ve helped bring into Chi Psi… that is another life that I’ve helped change. Every time I cold called someone in Boulder during the Psi Delta recolonization, every time I shook a hand under the tents on Bowman field at Clemson, every time I struck up a random conversation during formal recruitment at GT, and every time I contacted a potential new member at Miami… those were all opportunities to change someone’s life.
For every time I got rejected, hung up on, stood up or laughed at, I reminded myself of the mission… “if I can get just one person to join, it will change their life for the better. That one ‘yes’ will be worth the last 50 ‘no’s.”
Going to convention changed my life by giving me the skills I needed to improve my Alpha. Further it was an affirmation that I wanted to be an Alpha Visitor. In three years since my first convention I have met hundreds, or thousands, of people and helped bring many into Chi Psi. I know that my life is better for having done that… I certainly hope that I improved or changed some lives along the way.
This Summer’s 170th Convention in Ann Arbor, MI is 71 days away. I strongly encourage you to be there. “I can’t really explain to you how awesome it is and how much you will love it. Just trust me, it’s going to be amazing.”