Chartering Convention Recap
Three years of intense effort - building a foundation, conquering challenges, and making a mark on campus - boiled down to a few days in Washington, D.C. as the men of John Carroll University's Beta Theta Pi colony sought their charter to become an officially recognized chapter of the international organization. The 171st General Convention was held at the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington, Virginia (outside of Washington) from August 5-8, 2010. What follows is a recap of four incredible days where JCU was rightfully introduced to the General Fraternity as one of Beta's outstanding young chapters. Yes, chapters.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Thursday was filled with travel for many of our brothers, with some leaving their hometowns while it was still dark in the morning. Twenty-one undergraduates, alumni, and advisors made the trip to Washington, D.C. Advisor Joel Mullner '07 and founding father Nick Orlando '11 started their Convention experience on Wednesday, as both were taking part in facilitator training for the Peter F. Greiner Leadership College. All undergraduates except for president Andy Lane '12 - who served as the chapter's delegate to the Convention - participated in Leadership College throughout their time in D.C.
The afternoon kicked off with Leadership College sessions. New this year, participants had the option of engaging in a leadership, recruitment, or ritual-based track. All of our men were either in the "emerging" or "advanced" leaders track so that they could take part in what all hoped to be an unforgettable moment on Friday morning. Following their introductory sessions, Convention participants attended the Opening Banquet. For many of the undergraduates, this served as the first of many eye-opening experiences throughout the four days as to the elaborate scope of a General Convention. This year's theme, "Firmam Consensus Facit" (cooperation makes strength), was introduced; writer/journalist Erv Johnson, Idaho '53 discussed his new book, Beta Statesmen; and several individual awards were announced. Senator Bill Nelson, Yale '65, was awarded the Oxford Cup, the fraternity's highest individual honor. Also present were Senator Richard Lugar, Denison '54, astronaut Joseph Allen, DePauw '59, and news correspondent Howard Fineman, Colgate '70.
At the conclusion of the day's activities, some brothers chose to explore the nighttime beauty of the Lincoln and World War II Memorials, while the chartering presentation team engaged in some last minute preparations for the big day.
Friday, August 6, 2010
This was it: the day many men have worked toward for almost three years. After an early wake-up call, John Carroll was ready to go as they stood before the Permanent Organization/Nominations & Charters subcommittee at 7:30am. A team of four men - consisting of founding father Kyle Sobh '10, Alpha Class member and former colony president J.J. Kuczynski '10, Beta Class member and current colony president Andy Lane '12, and Delta Class member Nathan Catalano '12 - offered a twenty-minute presentation to the subcommittee, which included a short video, summary of the colony's presence on JCU's campus, and short testimonials from each presenter. The committee asked several questions of the team, as well as other brothers and advisors present, before going into deliberations and unanimously deciding to offer their recommendation to the General Convention delegates to charter.
Undergraduates began the rest of their day in a morning Leadership College session before being excused around 10:30 to be a part of chapter history. Waiting anxiously outside the doors of the Convention hall, brothers and advisors were then invited inside to a standing ovation and an energetic version of "There's A Scene." The Convention delegates had just unanimously granted JCU its charter to become the Eta Epsilon chapter of Beta Theta Pi. All twenty-one brothers stood at the front of the Convention Hall as General Secretary Charlie Warner, Lynchburg '87, offered a few welcoming remarks and cited a few statistics about the chapter, including its 100% initiation rate for Fall 2009 and Spring 2010, top standing academically as compared to all other fraternities, and previous recognition as Hardin Leadership Development Award winners. The group then left the Hall and began its celebration, immediately texting and calling fellow brothers, advisors, and parents to share the positive news. It was an incredible and emotional highlight to the day.
After returning to their Leadership College morning session, the JCU delegation again gathered together during the Awards Luncheon at a few tables marked "Reserved" at the very front of the banquet room. What followed was yet another unforgettable memory for all those who attended. John Carroll was recognized not once, but six times with General Fraternity awards, including:
- Charles Henry Hardin Leadership Development Award
- Virginia Tech Award for Academics
- Excellence in Risk Management Award
- Campus Involvement Award
- Member Education Award
- Charles Henry Hardin Leadership Development Award Special Recognition for the Highest Percentage of Members attending a leadership opportunity
To close the Awards Luncheon, former president J.J. Kuczynski '10 and current president Andy Lane '12 offered a synopsis of John Carroll's successes to all those in attendance, the only chapter during the Convention highlighted in such a way. "In just under three years, the brothers at JCU have been able to change the dynamic of Greek Life on campus and have made significant contributions to the surrounding community," opened Kuczynski. To watch the speech in its entirety, visit our Video Gallery.
At the conclusion of the awards luncheon, JCU Betas took to downtown Washington, D.C. for an afternoon and evening full of fun, history, sightseeing, and brotherhood to celebrate the events of the day and the accomplishments of the past three years. Brothers went to the U.S. Capitol, White House, many of the memorials, U.S. History Museum, and walked around the National Mall. A few brothers who dined at the Old Ebbitt Grill even serenaded their waitress! Most brothers met up at the end of a long but exciting day at the Lincoln Memorial to reflect on their experience thus far while overlooking the Reflecting Pool. It goes without saying that August 6 will live forever in the memory banks of all those who attended the 171st General Convention.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Saturday kicked off with a Model Initiation for all initiated Betas as we welcomed four new members to our brotherhood. It was a great opportunity to experience and reflect on the Ritual. After a casual lunch, undergrads returned to their Leadership College tracks before getting ready for the Celebration Banquet. Most of JCU's brothers participated in the Convention Chorus, singing Beta classics "The Loving Cup," "For the Staunchest," and "Marching Along," and took part in a rehearsal prior to joining the Marching Line, an annual Convention favorite. The Celebration Banquet was a great way for JCU Betas to again see the preparation and thought that goes into a Convention and large-scale Beta event. Attendees watched a video reflecting on the passing of John Wooden, Purdue '32, and were inspired by "Alone," a video produced by Robert Umstadter, San Jose State '05 with an original soundtrack by Ryan Newton, Kansas State '08. Sisson and Knox awards were distributed to the top-performing chapters in Beta's Broad Domain, and attendees heard from JCU professor and Beta Theta Pi Vice President Scott Allen, Minnesota '95, about the General Fraternity's strategic planning process and four key priority areas of self-governance, recruitment, education, and volunteers.
Following the Banquet, attendees took part in their final Leadership College session before turning in for the night.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
It's amazing how four days can seemingly flash before your very eyes. Attendees enjoyed a hearty meal during the Farewell Breakfast to connect one last time with many of the brothers and guests they met during the Convention. The Beta Four sang a rendition of the "Irish Blessing" as friends and brothers parted, with memories to last a lifetime and the realization that this is no time to rest on their laurels. It was hard to go anywhere during the 171st General Convention without hearing some sort of positive comment about John Carroll; however, this brings a challenge and expectation that JCU will continue to shine on the General Fraternity's stage for many years to come.
Wooglin Daily News & The Bridge Builder