By Jenna “Eviana” Bradshaw, Staff Writer
The Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values (AFLV) Central/Midyear conference was such an amazing and unique experience.
The conference totaled to three days full of workshops, networking, and activities in Indianapolis, IN from Feb. 4 to 6; there were times it became overwhelming, especially with so many educational sessions. Since there were many workshops to choose from, I was only able to visit a handful of them. Below are descriptions of four I found to be very informative and useful!
Social Consciousness: One of the first keynote speakers, Jess Ekstrom, spoke about being socially conscious and what that looks like in our organizations. She said that, “philanthropy shouldn’t be a checklist.” It’s not just about making sure you tabled and brought ‘awareness’ to your local or national philanthropy; the goal should be to make a change in people’s behaviors. Awareness is only “skimming the surface of change.” We cannot just focus on the numbers but focus on the people. Ekstrom suggests having a perspective anchor that you can remember in order to hold you down when you feel lost or out of hope.
Here are some insightful quotes taken from other parts of Ekstrom’s keynote talk:
- “It’s not about what we do when we dream. It’s about what we do when we wake up.”
- “In a generation of microwaves, we can’t forget how to cook.”
- “Experiences still have value if no one knows about it.”
Asian-American Greeks: At the workshop geared towards Asian-American Greeks, the speakers talked about having and developing a “survival kit.” They broke up the session into four different parts: Identity, Recruitment, Balance, and Relevance. For identity, we need to be more conscientious of our fellow Asian-American Greeks and the community we can build locally (at our universities), regionally, and nationally. We discussed recruitment strategies, shared successful examples, and discussed more intentionally recruiting. Balancing being an advocate for APIA issues in addition to advocating for Greek life is stressful. We are constantly being bombarded with perceptions and stereotypes while also trying to follow our own aspirations and pursing our own goals. Take a beat, deep breath, and make sure to practice self-care. Ask and offer help to your sisters/brothers and others that you work with. And finally, relevance: why are we relevant? What does your organization have to offer students at your university and also other people in your community?
Intake. Recruitment. Growth.: Sam Centellas had a workshop targeting cultural Greek organizations. He spoke about how the information cultural Greek organizations present can be intimidating and unrecognizable for students unfamiliar with Greek life. Centellas suggests defining who you are – not just what your preamble or mission statement says but what does it actually mean to you? Then, find your target: what kind of students do we want to recruit? Lastly, market to them by knowing what their interests are. Relate to them on a deeper level. Centellas then offers advice for marketing organizational events, recruitment information, etc. Two styles of branding exist, offensive and defensive. We should try and keep our flyers consistent and recognizable.
When talking about our organization, be transparent. When people ask about the time commitment your organization asks for, be honest – it may prevent disaffiliation. Sam Centellas visits campuses to facilitate longer workshops. If you are interested in bringing him to your campus, email Centellas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phired-Up: As an organization we claim “year-round recruitment” but what does that really look like? Just wearing our letters is not recruitment. “If you want to increase the quantity and quality of your organization, increase the quantity and quality of the handshakes and conversations that you have on a daily basis. Try and ask for friendship first. Most of us joined our organization because of a certain person – this is the case for the majority of Greek members. Be more intentional with friend making and building relationships with men/women who you know how make your organization better.
Although I wasn’t able to talk about all of the workshops attended, these four stood out to me most. I am so happy and thankful for my experience at AFLV. I learned a great deal from the workshops but also from the sisters who attended and contributed to enlightening discussions.
If anyone wants any additional information about these sessions, feel free to contact me at Eviana.DFL@gmail.com.
Bradshaw, staff writer and Grand Valley State sister, and Jennifer “Salomé” Albesa, vice president of expansion and West Florida alumna, reported live via social media as correspondents for The Jade Times. Take in their experiences along with other sisters’ posts during the conference weekend below.
Featured Image: Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values
Article Image: Special to The Jade Times