In August 2010, I attended the 169th Chi Psi Convention hosted by Alpha Theta Delta at the University of Washington. At the time, I was entering my first term as Alpha Pi’s #4, and our Alpha had accrued an enormous amount of debt to the Fraternity and Spencer Properties. I decided to run for the position because I had a genuine interest in operational finances, and I wanted to make a substantial difference in my Alpha. While I knew that our Alpha’s financial status would not be solved overnight, I maintained a vision and promised myself I would do whatever it took to place Alpha Pi in a position to succeed.
The 169th Chi Psi Convention changed my entire outlook on the Fraternity. Meeting brothers from all over the country made me realize that there was more to life outside the gates of Union College and the city of Schenectady. During my time in Seattle, I developed friendships, shared experiences, and capitalized on the opportunities presented to me. Many of these friendships I have continued to keep four years later.
Br. Paul Braswell’s #4 Spencer Institute track sessions gave me a new perspective on how to operate an Alpha budget. In addition to crunching numbers allocating funds where the Alpha’s leadership deemed appropriate, I learned how to communicate with my peers, engage alumni, hold others accountable, and implement proper accounting practices. I also received an interactive introduction to QuickBooks accounting software, and a step-by-step tutorial of the software’s applications – two things I would never have received as thoroughly at the local level.
My advice to those undergraduate brothers who will be attending next week’s 172nd Chi Psi Convention at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC is to arrive with an open mind and an open heart. Do not be afraid to introduce yourself to other Alpha delegates, alumni, and Central Office staff members. Cherish the time you spend together because this will definitely be one of the most memorable times you will experience during your undergraduate years as a Chi Psi. In addition to developing relationships with all those in attendance, you must take full advantage of the Spencer Institute programming and everything it has to offer. Your facilitators have spent weeks preparing the track agendas with the purpose of providing you the best experience. I encourage you all to ask questions, share experiences, and challenge others to generate meaningful discussions. When you return to your campuses in the fall, share these experiences and insight with your Brothers and alumni. It is our hope that the success your Alpha earns is a direct reflection of your effort and time at Convention.
I wish you all the best of luck, and I look forward to seeing you next week in Winston-Salem!