Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Guest Post: CLA Lexington - Was it worth the trip?

Here's the word from our Lexington Kentucky operative.


I returned Sunday from the Kentucky CLA. All things considered it was OK. Of the four CLA's I have attended since 1995, I would have to say the Kentucky CLA was the worst one I have had to experience.

I was disappointed with the alumni track. It really felt like it was an after thought and thrown together. Last year at the Philadelphia CLA, the alumni track was outstanding. In my opinion this CLA was far from the caliber of past CLA's I have attended. I will have to give some credit to the staff for dealing with a CLA that was spread out over three levels of the hotel. Registration, memorabilia, and some of the meeting space was on the main lobby level. Other meeting space was on the second floor. While the bulk of the meeting space was in the basement. To access the basement meeting space you had to go out into a shopping mall area, and down two escalators and make your way to the main meeting / conference area. This mall area was attached to the U of K basketball arena, and oh ya, there was this little event going on, the Kentucky vs. Florida basketball game. As the day wore on this area became increasingly filled with fans.

The facilitator of the Saturday morning alumni session did a good job (Adam Seiber I think was his name). The alumni committee director from HQ (Gary Huff) did a good job of talking about the alumni training, and showed off the soon to be rolled out alumni volunteer online materials. Ritual was also executed very well, and as always, makes me glad to be a SigEp. The remainder of the time I just kind of felt like I was there, not really sure where various rooms were located or what undergraduate session would be most beneficial to attend, or if there was an alumni session I should be in. I made the most of it by speaking with other chapter counselors, AVC members, or students regarding the undergraduate sessions. Several of the guys from the chapter commented that many of the sessions were the same as last year, or were not relevant (we don't have a house, but the finance discussion kept coming back to a housed chapter). The guys who went to the VP of development sessions felt that the facilitator kept presenting the same material just in different ways. After lunch Saturday I sat in on the presidents presentation, and the facilitator was suppose to be talking about action plans. The group chose academics, and then a very much longer than necessary discussion was allowed about having a chapter GPA requirement, and not enforcing it. I am pretty sure the facilitator realized the group was off topic, and tried to get back on topic by splitting the group up. This did not happen because a well meaning undergraduate did not want to split up because he was afraid he would miss part of the discussion one of the other groups had.

There were positives that came out of this weekend, I did meet other AVC and Chapter Councilor's, and was able to meet / speak with the RD. But most importantly the brothers from our chapter were able to bond, plan, and have some fun. I was happy that I was able to meet with several of the chapter officers one on one, and the entire chapter delegation was able to meet for two-three hours on Saturday night. We discussed what each officer is taking back, and what they are going to incorporate into their job when they return. One good concept sunk into my gray matter, that behind every one of our quality high performing chapters is an equally good alumni board.