Tri Delta held its Collegiate Leadership Conference on March 1-3, in Dallas, Texas, where more than 600 collegiate chapter officers gathered for Tri Delta learning, officer-specific learning and personal development. Throughout the weekend, officers attended tracks specific to their positions where they received training on being a brand ambassador for Tri Delta, enhancing their officer position and developing an action plan to take back to their chapter.
This year, CLC also focused on wellness for our members and our chapters, and on showing the world Our Kind Of Kind.
On Friday evening, attendees heard from mental health expert and advocate, Ross Szabo, who shared his profound personal story to help members reframe the concepts of mental health and mental illness through the lens of physical health.“Mental health is not having a problem,” Ross said.“Mental health is how you address all of the challenges in your life. Your mental health is as important as your physical health.”
Tri Delta also announced that, thanks to generous funding from donors through the Tri Delta Foundation, it would be piloting its Mental Health Initiative in spring 2019 at 23 collegiate chapters in partnership with the Human Power Project.
Following Ross’ keynote, collegiate chapters participated in the Innovation Showcase, which gave chapters the opportunity to share their innovative programming ideas and learn from one another. This year’s showcase had two parts: Delta Demos, a science-fair type setup where many chapters had tables sharing their programs and events; and Dolphin Tank, where selected chapters “pitched” their ideas on stage to a panel of Executive Board judges. Ideas included: LSU Delta Omega’s “Adopt a Pearl” program; North Dakota State Epsilon Omicron’s “Delta Dates”; Miami/Ohio Delta Beta Chapter’s DHOP in the Park event; Chi Chapter’s Service Swaps event at the University of Mississippi;and, the winner, Theta Epsilon Chapter from Southwestern who shared an idea to integrate a chatbot into tridelta.org.
A Focus on Kindness
Collegiate leaders started their Saturday by celebrating our Ritual, as Tri Delta honor initiated three new sisters: Krystee Fuller Edwards, Auburn; Jillian Grembowicz, Boston; and Alicia Schortgen, Texas A&M.
Saturday’s focus was on kindness. At the Live Kind, Lead Kind Luncheon, Fraternity President Kimberlee Di Fede Sullivan, Pepperdine, provided an update on Tri Delta’s commitment to kindness and shared how our chapters and members have answered the call to kindness over the past year. “These opportunities to show kindness are our moments of light,” said Kimberlee. “And our lights are many. Let’s continue to light the way through Our Kind of Kind.”
In her speech, she also addressed the racist incident involving Theta Gamma Chapter at the University of Oklahoma. Denouncing racism and intolerance, Kimberlee said, “Let me be clear –racism and intolerance has no place in Tri Delta. It is the antithesis of kindness and we will not stand for it.”
The luncheon also featured a panel of five collegiate leaders who participated in a powerful dialogue on diversity and inclusion. Serving on the panel were Aly Luckett, William & Mary; Amaris Gonzalez, Syracuse; Michaela Johnson, Stockton; London Moore, Oklahoma; and Wynter Daggs, California/Berkeley, who served as moderator.
The panel discussed ways their chapters promote inclusivity and the importance of educating members and engaging in conversations on implicit bias. “It’s ok to feel like you don’t know everything – it’s a constant education,” said Michaela. “But it’s no longer ok, especially as a Tri Delta, to ignore this conversation.”
Aly encouraged members to “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Have an open mind, and be ready to listen and learn.”Saturday evening was devoted to self-kindness and self-care. “Self-care Saturday” kicked off with a keynote from women’s empowerment ambassador Stacy Nadeau, Creighton, on self-compassion, self-love and resiliency. Stacy shared the importance of befriending your inner critic to combat negative self-talk and become your best self.
“What we’re doing when we’re increasing self-love and self-kindness is we’re taking back our power and letting it live with us,” said Stacy. “Your power is where you build your kindness.”
Following Stacy’s keynote, was an evening of sisterhood fun with activities like yoga, a movie night, a study room and a special Q&A with Stacy.
“Where do we go now?”
CLC wrapped up on Sunday with a celebration of our collegiate chapter successes and Tri Delta’s 20-year partnership with St. Jude. At the breakfast awards celebration, our 2019 collegiate chapter award winners – including the Sarah Ida Shaw Award winner and runners-up – were announced.
Dr. Mari Ann Callais, Tri Delta’s senior director of strategic initiatives, closed out the conference, inspiring our collegiate leaders to take their CLC experience back their campuses and chapters. Addressing the question “Where do we go now?” Mari Ann urged attendees to use their leadership positions to create change on their campuses. “You need to go back and tell your Tri Delta story,” she said. “Your Tri Delta story matters, your Tri Delta story can change the world.”
Before attendees departed Dallas after a weekend full of learning and leading, Fraternity President Kimberlee Di Fede Sullivan left them with these parting words:
“My hope for you is that you take the opportunity to be brave, you take the opportunity to be bold and take the opportunity to be kind. I truly believe Tri Delta can change the world, but first you have to take back to your chapters, communities and university what it means to live, learn and lead for a lifetime. It is our time to show the world what it means to be a part of this amazing organization. It’s our time to show the world Our Kind Of Kind.”