Another report on CLA, tis time from Appleton Wisconsin. Brought to you by Kevin Teets. (Can you tell he has some newspaper experience?)
Negative temperatures were not enough to chill the momentum and celebration in Appleton, Wisconsin as 200 members of Sigma Phi Epsilon joined together this weekend for the Carlson Leadership Academy (CLA).
Chapters from the states including North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin participated in the leadership development events of the CLA that began on Friday night with information on attending the Atlanta Conclave, and concluded on Saturday night with an awards dinner and keynote speech delivered by past District Governor and current National Leadership Committee member Tom Barton.
The focus of this year's CLA was execution. Former expansion director for Sigma Phi Epsilon Headquarters, John Schuyler, gave the charge to those in attendance. Schuyler's dynamic presentation was more than just a speech. Schuyler delivered comments on a topic, and then challenged each chapter to come up with responses to his question. Schuyler asked chapter members to identify specifically what the recruitment phrase "lifeblood of the fraternity," actually means. Faculty and volunteers rotated from table to table listening and assisting with discussion on the topic of execution and the importance of recruitment.
Friday night's events concluded with each brother being given a selected portion of the Buchanan Cup Application. The "Buc Cup," named for past Grand President Edwin Buchanan, who graduated from Ohio State in 1911, is the fraternity's premiere chapter award. In keeping with the theme of execution, Drake University's Resident Scholar, Kevin Teets, informed the audience that the Buchanan Cup application served as a "gut-check" for chapters to measure their current performance. The coveted Buchanan Cup is awarded biannually at the Grand Chapter Conclave. Chapters were told that this year's Buchanan Cup application is due on April 2, 2007.
Saturday morning began bright and early. Breakfast was served at 8 a.m., and the first session titled "Building Balance," commenced at 9 a.m. This session focused on building upon the self-evaluation of the Buc Cup applications that were filled out the night before. After this session, current chapter officers and those aspiring to be in a chapter leadership position went to rooms for training on the topics of chapter president, vice president of programming, vice president of member development, vice president of finance, vice president of communications, vice president of recruitment, and chaplain training.
These training sessions were facilitated by CLA faculty including John Schuyler, Chris Dillion, Shawn Dalgleish, Dave Friederichs, Ryan McCavitt, Mark Allen, David McLaughlin, Kevin Teets, Tom McGreevey and David Haug. Lunch and a keynote speech delivered by Brother McGreevey provided for a break between the officer training sessions.
The afternoon provided time for CLA participants to attend different hot topic sessions. Four sessions were on the topic of "Rainmaker Skills," taught by Brothers Dillion, Friederichs, Warren and Schuyler. Other hot topic sessions included Balanced Man Scholarship Summer Recruitment, Improving Senior Apathy, Improving the Brother Mentor Challenge, SigEp History, and the Ruck Leadership Institute.
An hour break between the last hot topic session allowed for brothers to adorn themselves in suits, ties and fraternity pins to celebrate the ritual of Sigma Phi Epsilon. SigEp members that had not been initiated participated in a discussion on ritual and brotherhood led by Brother Teets. A very moving impromptu gavel pass took place during this meeting that allowed for new members to talk about why SigEp is important to them.
After the ritual and ritual study, all brothers gathered together for the awards dinner. District Governor Dave Friederichs emceed the closing events. The awards dinner began with the annual raffle. Up for grabs this year was among other things, a pearl founders badge, a scholarship, and an Apple iPod Nano. Some confusion erupted as the names were drawn for the raffle prizes. The name that was drawn to win the iPod Nano was the same name that was told to sit down only moments before. Despite some recounts being demanded, the confusion set the stage for some very entertaining comments to be exchanged between Friederichs and Brother Barton.
Brother Barton's keynote speech challenged all brothers to be appreciative of what the founders created, especially William Philips, otherwise known as Uncle Billy. Barton reminded all brothers that they are forever in debt to Uncle Billy, and that they should do all that they can to pay that debt back to Sigma Phi Epsilon.
Awards and recognitions were given throughout the CLA. Among those recognized for their work for setting up the CLA were SigEp Administrative Coordinator Barbara Shanahan and SigEp Health and Wellness Director Ryan Blanck. Other key assistants on site included undergraduate Whitaker Leonhardt and Director of Chapter Campaigns, Scott Thompson.
Manpower Excellence Awards are given to those chapters who are number one on their campus in manpower. This award was given to ND Alpha, Wisconsin Beta, Iowa Delta, Minnesota Alpha and Wisconsin Theta.
Iowa Delta (Drake University) and Wisconsin Beta (University of Wisconsin) were also recognized for having more than 90 members.
Chapters that had excelled academically and achieved a grade point average greater than a 3.15 included Nebraska Beta, North Dakota Alpha, Nebraska Delta, Wisconsin Beta, and Iowa Delta.
Iowa Theta, Iowa Delta, Nebraska Beta, Wisconsin Theta, and North Dakota Alpha were also recognized for being number one on their campus in grades.
The Frank J. Ruck Leadership award was given to James Holstein of the University of Nebraska-Omaha. The Zollinger Outstanding Senior Award was awarded to Brian Burke from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Chapter counselor David Haug, of the University of Wisconsin was also recognized with an award for distinguished service as an alumnus.
All awards have their value and recognition, but none provide more opportunity to the recipient than does the Tragos Quest to Greece Award. This award allows for around 15 sophomores and juniors to spend one week in Greece studying the ritual in Delphi and studying the culture and history of Greece in the same place where Socrates taught. The award is made possible through the donations of Bill and Lilli Tragos.
This year's Tragos Quest to Greece recipient was Brother Matt Bruce of the University of Chicago. "I would be lying if I didn't say I was amazingly nervous," Brother Bruce said when asked how he felt during the awards dinner.
"It's very exciting. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to explore Greece with a group of extraordinary undergraduates, and learn from the alumni who guide the journey," Bruce said.
Kevin W. Teets Jr.
Sigma Phi Epsilon Resident Scholar
Drake University Law Student
Thanks to Brother Teets for his comprehensive report.