by Jaynellen Jenkins, Phi Beta (East Stroudsburg U), International Vice President
We are told in our earliest days as collegians that AOIIs, wherever found, are our sisters and this is never more evident than during the Convention days that we all cherish. The AOII 2019 Convention experience opened with a presentation from Steve Farber author of Love is Just Damn Good Business, who advised us to, “do what you love, in the service of people, who love what you do.” It was so fitting to be seated in a room full of AOIIs who are committed to serving others and one another for our Fraternity which we all love so dearly. Farber asked us, “how are you going to change the world?” He challenged each of us to “operationalize love,” in our chapters and our communities. He explained that extreme leadership cultivates love, generates energy, inspires audacity and provides proof. Leadership should transform. Our participation as leaders throughout Convention, whether in business or educational sessions, will allow us to promote a transformational AOII membership experience for those we lead.
Operationalized love was also evident in the moments we all shared with Rae Ann Gruver and Evelyn Piazza at the Panhellenic Brunch on Thursday in their presentation titled, A Parents Perspective on Ending Hazing. Together, they shared the details of the loss of their sons as a result of hazing. They have taken the circumstance of a tragedy, they never wanted to share in common and allowed it to inspire their partnership. Through their love of their sons, Max Gruver and Tim Piazza, they are working ambitiously to make a difference by personalizing this loss with their audience members so they bring about change on their campuses and through legislative efforts. Mrs. Gruver recalled to us that if we are living, “The Object of the Fraternity,” then hazing clearly has no place in our AOII chapters. Our charge as we return to our campuses and communities is to empower our sisters so that they ensure that our new member experiences promote a spirit of fraternity and love among our members. In addition, whenever we see a concern, that we report that concern and that we are not complicit to acts of hazing. Serving as an advocate for the safety of others must be a priority. In doing so, we operationalize love in our communities and we protect the overall Greek Life experience.
What will operationalizing love in AOII look like for you in the next biennium? Our alumnae chapter leaders may be inspired to energize their sisters with inspirational programming. Our Network and AAC volunteers may look to inspire audacity in our collegians so they pursue new partnerships that make an impact on campus communities. As new AOII Executive Board members, we will cultivate love by connecting with our membership and by building trust across our sisterhood so that an exceptional membership experience is commonly identified by all of our members.
Each AOII Convention brings our sisters together to create memories that will last a lifetime. Among the standout moments of our Convention experience occurred during the business session on Friday when our Collegiate Chapter Presidents were asked to approach the microphone to share the best take away moments that they plan to share with their chapters. Their responses were thoughtful, and ranged from Ritual to business operations to PIP storytelling. What was most impressive was their poise and their determination. From the perspective of the alumnae, it was a clear reminder of why we do, what we do, for AOII. Our collegians fuel our AOII inspiration when we see that they love AOII as much as we do!!