Convention 2015 delegates in Chattanooga, TN

Convention 2015 delegates in Chattanooga, TN

Active and alumnae sisters began arriving at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Chattanooga, Tenn., on Wednesday, July 16. While some visited the nationally renowned aquarium, others floated along the Tennessee River on a city sightseeing “duck” tour.

By Thursday morning, a record number of members were in town to participate in not one but two service projects. More than 110 sisters, including 45 alumnae, attended all or part of Convention 2015.

The afternoon’s agenda began with a breakout session called “Primers for First-timers,” followed by the first business meeting, called to order by National President Heather Pritchard. After the meeting, the delegates divided into groups to make “brag boards” to promote their districts. Proposed legislation was discussed in a breakout session, followed by a festive alumnae dinner at Big River Brewery. The night ended with a brag board “jam,” where sisters mingled and played with a selfie stick in the photo booth.

Friday’s business included a summary of the state of the sorority, a workshop entitled “Code Blue with Nurse Tammie,” led by local RN, Tammie Crowder, an initial budget discussion, election overview and candidates forum. The three NEB positions up for election were president-elect, vice president of business operations and vice president of membership, with all three incumbents throwing their hats into the ring unopposed. A post-dinner trivia session got people dancing to the Time Warp.

Saturday’s business was dominated by a debate that led to tabling the proposed budget which Heather presented earlier on behalf of the vice president of finance.

After the leadership module and communications sessions, the delegation broke for lunch by district. The alumnae met at Sticky Fingers barbecue for a tasty “Queen Bee” luncheon and alumnae group photo.

Saturday afternoon continued with leadership module part two and an alumnae opportunity workshop. Because of the heat, the delegation group photo was taken inside the hotel near the grand staircase.

Several proposals were passed, including the constitutional and bylaws revisions and amendments proposed by the National Structure Task Force to move the NEB toward long-term strategic roles. The delegates also debated a proposal to waive national dues and fees for recipients of the Girl Scouts Gold Award. While the delegation was in favor of a collaboration with this like-minded organization, the proposal did not pass. Another series of amendments regarding changes to the alcohol policy, which was heavily discussed, also did not pass.

Other announcements included a realignment of the sorority’s districts, and sadly the NEB approved a request from the remaining members of Alpha Eta at USC-Aiken to dissolve the chapter by declaring it inactive. All sisters who were active in the previous school term immediately transitioned to alumna status.

One more session of business concluded with elections, where the three NEB candidates were re-elected: Heather Pritchard, president-elect; Kasey Stevens, vice president of operations; and Megan Johnston, vice president of membership.

Alumnae and guests gathered for the alumnae societies induction to celebrate milestone years of membership in a special ceremony.

Other activities during the week included a daily Instagram challenge, chapter introductions, photo station and scavenger hunt. The hospitality suite was available to hang out in.

Following Saturday’s dinner, everyone attended the awards reception held in the ballroom, serving up a dessert that included bananas foster and chocolate mousse. This is when OPA acknowledges the exemplary work conducted by the chapters and individual sisters during the year.

The Southern Belle Riverboat, docked on the Tennessee River, welcomed all attendees at the Sunday morning bon voyage brunch. Vice President of Alumnae Relations Ginger McGarity presented the remaining alumnae awards and announced that Connecticut will be the location for the spring Digging for Diamonds (D4D) alumnae society event.

Kasey then took the podium and revealed that the location of Convention 2016 will be in Phoenix, Ariz. Her announcement was met with rousing approval from the room while being broadcasted live on Periscope.

Concluding the morning was Heather’s important rationale for the 2015 President’s Project: Mental Health Matters. She then declared Convention 2015 officially adjourned. After singing the national song and passing the rose, the sisters were re-energized for another year of friendship, leadership and service.

If you have any feedback to share about Convention 2015, please feel free to reach out to us at Farewell, Chattanooga!

See the Fall 2015 Chevron for more Convention coverage. Visit the OPA Facebook page for photos and video.

Thea Moritz (Beta), VP Communications