Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The 40th Alpha Sigma Tau National Convention

This post was contributed by the former AST President.

 On June 26, 2014, three representatives from the Epsilon Pi chapter of Alpha Sigma Tau arrived in Atlanta, Georgia for AST's 40th National Convention. The representatives were Alexandra Carter (Vice Preisdent of Community Relations), Stephanie Mastrostefano (Recruitment Advisor), and I (Chapter President). Getting the opportunity to attend National Convention was very exciting for us because this was the first Convention since the Epsilon Pi chapter was installed in the spring of 2013. What made the occasion more exciting was that the three of us are founding members of the chapter.

From the moment we landed in Atlanta, we found ourselves surrounded by AST sisters from all over the country. The confusion on people's faces when upwards of 50 members of AST boarded the train leaving the airport was priceless. It was official; AST was ready to take over the Buckhead district of Atlanta!

We kicked off Convention by attending our first General Session, where we started taking care of sorority business. We started off by electing our new National Council and Nominations committee. We concluded the evening by having a Welcome dinner with sisters, followed by a concert by Rachel Hale, an AST who was an American Idol contestant.

On Friday, we started the day bright and early to tackle some more sorority business in General Sessions II and III.  We had the tasks of making changes to our National bylaws and ritual. I think it's safe to say that those sessions were the most intense of all of Convention. It was great to see that many sisters speak so passionately about the most important parts of our organization. We ended the day by attending the Panhellenic Dinner and Awards Presentation, where Julie Cain Burkhard was the speaker of the evening.  Julie Cain Burkhard is the Executive Director of the Phi Mu Foundation, Past National President of Alpha Chi Omega, and Past Chairman of the National Panhellenic Conference. She spoke of the importance of life's "defining moments" and how she expects that this National Convention was likely to be a defining moment in all of our lives.

Saturday was a day full of educational workshops. The three of us split up to try and attend as many different sessions that we could. We were determined to learn as much as we could to bring back to our chapter. We attended workshops on having fierce conversations, recruitment, running effective committee and chapter meetings, body image and the media, building leadership skills, ritual-based business practices, navigating your college Panhellenic, and conflict resolution. We broke up the day of educational sessions by attending the Recognition Luncheon, where we recognized all the outstanding achievements of our sisters. We closed out the day, and Convention, with our Yellow Rose Banquet. It was here that the Convention Top Tau awards were given out, as well as many other awards.

I left convention with a renewed sense of why I chose to join Greek Life, and more importantly why I joined Alpha Sigma Tau. Julie Cain Burkhard was absolutely right; AST's 40th National Convention is definitely now a defining moment in my life. I am determined to take everything I have learned at Convention to help our chapter become the best it can possibly be. I also would love to become a volunteer for Alpha Sigma Tau and hopefully one day serve on our National Council. Our 41st National Convention will be held in Jacksonville, FL in 2016, where I plan on attending as an alumna member.

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