By: Angela David
Lately I’ve had one song stuck in my head. Lyrics saying “Come on, oh baby, don’t you wanna go? Back to that same old place, Sweet home Chicago.” As we kick-off our 365-day countdown to Convention 2016, I hope you all want to join me in sweet home, Chicago! I am so excited to have the honor of being your National Convention Chairman. I feel so thrilled to have the privilege of helping bring my Sigma sisters to the city I call home for Convention 2016 themed, “What Will Matter”.
An eye-opener during my first Convention was that Sigma is so much bigger than me, my Chapter, my Alumnae Chapter, and even those I am friends with on Facebook. I know that Sigma has helped shaped “What Will Matter” for me as we reflect on our values of faith, hope, wisdom, power, and love. Convention gives us the opportunity to reflect on what our Founders’ thought mattered back in 1898, but also gives us an opportunity to look towards the future of “What Will Matter” and the legacy we set during Convention.
As someone who has lived in Chicago (ok the suburbs) my entire life, I still find the city completely intriguing. There is always a new place to discover and explore. Chicago is a city that is hard to describe in just a few words, especially those must-see/must-do places. Convention is very similar in it is difficult to describe in just a few words to someone the feeling of being surrounded by over 600 of your sisters. The best way for me to describe it is to share what local Chicago alumnae have said:
“You don’t understand the power of convention until you attend…Women working together for a common goal …sharing, learning and laughing. If you have never attended but always wanted to it will be very emotional being in the presence of something greater than you as an individual and realizing the impact you and your sisters have on future generations.” – Jill Zager, AN, Fox Valley, IL Alumnae Chapter
“The ultimate girl time! I have attended 12 Conventions – I was privileged to be the delegate when I was a collegiate and my roommate at that Convention became a friend for life as well as my roommate after college. Conventions have provided the opportunity to reconnect with sisters who I may only see every three years – some more frequently – others less. It provided the sense of a national organization to me – the broad scope – sisters with a common bond who share much and also offer plenty of diversity. It is pure joy to witness the respect and love we share together!” – Nancy McGowan, Kappa, NW Suburban Chicago Alumnae Chapter
“Convention is hard to put into words…overload on Sigma, fun, inspiring, too little sleep, lots of laughter…I guess I would relate it to having a kid…the reward is much more than can be explained. It has to be experienced to really understand how inspiring and wonder it is.” – Rebecca Calkins, EO, Fox Valley, IL Alumnae Chapter
Convention truly reminds me of the famous Portillo’s Chocolate Cake because there are many layers to convention (if you have never been to a Portillo’s make sure to put this as a must stop during your visit to Chicago).
The Cake itself…
Convention is structured, similarly like a cake needs to be structured (if not we’d just have a big pile of crumbs). Convention has the structure of business sessions each day. Business sessions are like one large chapter meeting. There is a head table where the Executive Council sits, overlooking the Convention Body, which is similar to officers presiding over a chapter meeting. The Convention Body is made up voting delegates each representing our collegiate and alumnae chapters and National officer positions. This may look similar to what you’d know as chairmen and chapter members. Additionally, there is a seated gallery where non-voting members can take part in the business of the Convention Body, because we all have a say in “What Will Matter.” Whether you currently are or once were a collegian, you know chapter meetings are where all the major decisions are made. So on a National level, Convention is your opportunity to help form and mold the organization, and as our theme is, really help decide “What Will Matter” to Sigma now and in the future. Past Convention Bodies have helped shape what mattered to the organization with discussion around our National policies, such as hazing, alcohol, office structure, and even ritual. You have a say in what our organization looks like and values. Convention is wonderful because that “you” can be ANY member, no matter how old you are, how long you’ve been a Sigma, or even if you’ve been disconnected the past few years…ALL are welcome to attend.
Convention is so sweet just the like frosting on the chocolate cake. Do you think I’d ask you to come to Chicago and have you sit in meetings all day? Of course not! Did I mention that Chicago is home to not just one alumnae chapter, but THREE! Along with a spectacular local Convention Committee comprised of members of the Chicago North Shore Alumnae Chapter, Chicago NW Suburban Alumnae Chapter, and the Fox Valley, IL Alumnae Chapter, and the amazingly supportive National Headquarters’ staff, we promise to provide a Convention filled with lifelong memories, laughter and tears, and of course more stories than the Willis Tower (or Sears Tower to all Chicagoans). Convention provides many opportunities of fun from the themed banquets, to a “slumber party” atmosphere with rooming with sisters, to meeting sisters for the first time (even though you are probably already Facebook friends). We want to note that we understand that Convention is not only a time commitment, but a financial one too. We want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck here in Chicago, so be rest assured that the Convention Committee is filling up the event with spectacular surprises and take-a-ways.
Special secret ingredient…
Portillo’s throws in something special to their chocolate cakes…mayonnaise! I can just see your face squinting up to think of adding such an odd ingredient to such a sweet treat. Just like the mayo, you can look forward to many surprises and exciting events added to our 2016 Convention agenda, such as a surprise Sisterhood event, a little taste of Chicago, and the return of a southern tea where we honor our roots in the Farmville Four.
These are just “three” little hints for now, but please know the Convention Committee and I have many, many more surprises up our sleeves of “What Will Matter.”
Registration will open in the Spring of 2016, but in the meantime, I encourage you to check our National Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Blog and website for future updates, hints, giveaways, contests, and, of course, the official countdown! However, I would be doing my position and our Sisterhood a disservice if I didn’t challenge you to actually speak to someone about Convention. As a professional fundraiser we are always told to have an elevator speech ready in our back pocket, so I challenge you to start the conversation about Convention and what matters to you about Sigma. I truly hope by sharing this glimpse of Convention and what matters to me about Sigma will encourage even just one sister to attend.
I cannot wait for all of you to join me next year and as Frank Sinatra said it best “And each time I roam, Chicago is… Calling me home, Chicago is… Why I just grin like a clown… It’s my kind of town.”