By Tiffanie “Grace” Duong, Contributing Writer
I attended the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values (AFLV) Central Conference for the second time this February. I attended the conference for the first time in 2016, but this year it was a different experience. Last year I represented the University of Iowa’s Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) as the vice president of finance & operations. This year, I had the wonderful privilege of serving as our MGC president. In addition, I was given the opportunity to be a student presenter.
This year, the Interfraternity Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the Panhellenic Council, and the Multicultural Greek Council of the University of Iowa came together and created the AFLV Legacy Fund. The fraternity and sorority community at the University of Iowa has continuously benefited from the programs put on by AFLV. The AFLV Legacy Fund was created because we, as a community, wanted to give back and provide the same opportunity to fraternity and sorority members in other schools to experience AFLV as well. The University of Iowa Fraternity and Sorority Community made an initial donation of $7,500 and will continue to donate in 2018 and 2019, so universities can apply for fundings to send fraternity and sorority members to AFLV events.
All of our council presidents went on stage during the Saturday morning general session, with over 3500 people in attendance, to announce the AFLV Legacy Fund. I have never spoken in front of so many people before, but I surprised myself by being able to do so that day.
One of the tasks as the MGC president is to ensure that our council submits applications for Council Awards & Assessments. Every year, our council officers work hard to better our Fraternity and Sorority Life community. We take notes on our failures and successes during the year and submit them for assessment at the end of our terms. At AFLV Central, we meet with the judges who review our assessments and provide us with feedback on what to work on and what we are doing well in. This year, at the awards banquet, I had the privilege to accept the awards for Council Management, Philanthropy & Community Service, and Public Relations in MGC Division I on behalf of our council. I am so incredibly proud of the work our council did this year, and we will be striving to do even better in the future!
Also at AFLV Central this year, I was selected to be a student presenter during an educational block on mental health in a session titled “Supporting Our Brothers and Sisters”. Since 2015, I have been dealing with numerous mental health conditions from a martial arts accident that happened that March. Several months into recovery, I was unfortunately rear-ended in a car accident and was rear-ended again in another car accident two weeks later. It set me way back in my recovery process. I didn’t feel like myself, I struggled in school, and I couldn’t engage in any of my favorite activities anymore. I realized the importance of having a supportive and understanding environment to help me heal. College is a time when a lot of mental health conditions develop due to the high-stress environment students are in. Students do not realize, however, that many of their peers are going through similar experiences. Having an open conversation about mental health and supporting each other is important. My intention through my presentation was to begin the discussion on mental health and hopefully making others feel comfortable with the topic by sharing my own experiences.
AFLV provided so many opportunities for me to grow personally and as a leader in general. I walked away from AFLV with tremendous insight of myself and of my community, allowing me to lead my council with confidence and purpose.
Featured Image: Tiffanie Duong
Article Image: Tiffanie Duong