Representatives of the William Woods University Panhellenic board recently attended the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values Central Fraternal Leadership Conference in Indianapolis.
The Panhellenic board consists of two or three representatives from each sorority on the WWU campus. Abbie Gutmann, an Alpha Phi from St. Louis, Mo.; Lissy Wedell, a Delta Gamma from Batavia, Iowa; Stephanie Behlmann, a Chi Omega from St. Charles, Mo.; and Hannah Mansell, an Alpha Chi Omega from Jacksonville, Ill., attended the four-day conference.
Nearly 3,000 Greek leaders from 200 universities attended the conference, which featured 120 speakers and 200 education sessions. According to event materials, “Fraternal values are more than words; they are standards by which we vow to live.”
“I attended many recruitment sessions, along with a full day in the LeaderShape program,” Wedell said. “In the LeaderShape program, we learned about the different personality types and how to work with them to produce a cohesive product.”
Keynote speakers included representatives of Campuspeak, a national provider of educational speakers and workshops. Among them were:
Dr. Lori Hart, who visits close to 100 campuses a year, bringing messages about relationships, alcohol education, and fraternity and sorority Life.
Steve Whitby, who provides critical lessons about student leadership and human potential through stories of normal people facing extraordinary opportunities.
Rick Barnes, who presents a variety of practical keynotes on Greek and college life.
T.J. Sullivan, who encourages college student leaders to take risks, try new approaches, confront apathy and ignite passion in their organizations.
Others who addressed the conference attendees included Terrell Strayhorn, author of “College Students’ Sense of Belonging” and professor of higher education and director of the Center for Inclusion, Diversity and Academic Success (IDEAS) at The Ohio State University.
Phired Up Productions also made a presentation. The company teaches, coaches, researches and writes about how fraternities and sororities can recruit and retain more high quality people through a values-centered, research-based, relationship-focused approach.
“I think it was a valuable experience for the women to meet other students in similar leadership positions. They were able to learn from the multiple sessions offered and also by networking with other student leaders,” Lacey Sweeten, WWU director of student involvement, said.
Gutmann felt that the conference helped her better understand what she should be getting out of Greek life.
“My favorite part was being able to meet my Alpha Phi sisters from all across the country and getting the opportunity to ask them about ideas and questions about topics at hand,” she said.
Town Halls were used as an opportunity to share ones opinions and discuss issues affecting the community within each university and compare to others across the country.
Panhellenic provided the funds to attend the conference. Sweeten felt that going to the AFLV Central Leadership Conference was money and time well spent.
“I think that the whole experience is very valuable,” said Sweeten. “Clearly the sessions covering so many topics are an amazing learning experience, but also being able to meet other students and professionals in the higher education field.” She added, “Even just traveling to a new city and sharing a hotel room with people from your school you may not know that well is a great opportunity for the students to get out of their comfort zone and have a new experience. I think it really gives them an idea of what fraternity and shared values are really about.”
Mansell summed up her experience at the conference in a few words.
“I learned that we can only truly learn from imperfect people, because we are imperfect individuals,” she said.