Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Post-Conclave Contemplation and Challenge

It is an early Sunday morning (7 am). Luckily, I don't have a flight out until much later. As I sit in the lobby of the Rosen Shingle Creek resort, I see tired brothers rushing to make it to the airport. No cordial greetings or salutations are exchanged, but no offense is taken - we've all experienced an incredibly long, satisfying four days.

For some of us, Conclave simply represents another step forward in the Leadership Continuum. For others, Conclave is a time to relax and enjoy old friends and new ones. Recall the men dressed in white bath-robes lounging by the pool. Contrast them to the brothers on the alumni National Board of Directors selection committee (who need a vacation now). Then there were brothers who have been here a very, very, very long time - to whom Conclave represents a lifetime of brotherhood and so much more. For all of us, Conclave represents a celebration of our Ritual, our past achievements, and an opportunity to begin thinking about our future ones.

Like our great Fraternity, Conclave 2009 was diverse. Brothers and guests enjoyed informative and even moving seminars. We celebrated a variety of accomplishments and honored those who consecrate the cardinal principles of Virtue, Diligence, and Brotherly Love.

Someone on Twitter asked me this week what "conclave" meant. She laughed and asked if we had anything to do with the Pope. A quick Google search reveals a medieval definition of the word "conclave": a private meeting or secret assembly. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think there was anything secretive about our affairs this week. We have nothing to hide as a Fraternity - if anything, we do not share enough with each other. After that heartfelt speech by our new Grand Chapter President Gary Kief, I definitely feel a sense of urgency to share - to become more transparent.

We were all challenged this week - to give of our time, our talents, and our money. I know I have a personal challenge for myself - to give from my heart. I know we all have had diverse experiences during Conclave. All of us have unforgettable memories to share. Some of us may not recall a whole lot. But, I think we have all discovered or even rediscovered reasons why we love Sigma Phi Epsilon. I challenge us to share the stories from our heart - that we might all be touched, inspired, challenged, and motivated to strengthen our sacred brotherhood.

My name is Daniel Liu. I am a recent graduate from Southern Methodist University, Texas Upsilon RLC. I became a SigEp on March 20, 2006 when I completed the Sigma Rite of Passage. I will never forget that night - standing next to another man who has become one of my best friends (delegates at Conclave 2007 and serving as a groomsman in his wedding).

Earlier this past year, I shared my SigEp story in an editorial column for my school newspaper. If you have time to read it, here's the link

I know we have all grown accustomed to long speeches, long nights, and even long-lasting friendships. But, I do not wish to capture too much of your time. I simply encourage you to find courage to share your experiences (whether through this blog, a comment, a Facebook note, or even a handwritten letter to those who have changed your life). My commitment to you is to continue to share and post resources, experiences, and advice that make me "just darn" proud to be a SigEp.

In Phi,

Daniel Liu