“Grand Chapter Congress.” It sounds like a lot of pomp and circumstance. And while there were some things that were a bit over-the-top (like the ridiculous ceremony where we were dubbed a part of the “Order of the Golden Knight” and our subsequent visit to Medieval Times where they flew the Delta Sigma Pi flag and dressed the Grand President in hilarious golden robes), most of it was fraternity business and education. It seems like a short week, but the early mornings, long hours, and late nights made it pretty exhausting - every session was mandatory. The congress began on Wednesday, with educational seminars on topics like chapter management, fraternity history and ritual, personal finances, interviewing and job hunting. Congress did not formally begin until Thursday morning, with the induction of honorary initiate Barry Salzeberg, former Deliotte CEO. Afterward, we commenced with business sessions, where we discussed and voted on amendments to our bylaws and ritual. The entirety of Friday was spent on caucuses for various national offices, and then Saturday morning, we voted for all the national officers for the next biennium. Banquet was that evening, and after a night of hilarity and fraternal bonding, we all went our separate ways.
While I can’t say that this trip had no boring moments, it was, by far, one of the most unique experiences I have ever had the pleasure of having. I arrived in Chicago a few days early and roamed the city with some brothers that I had only met once before. As an introvert and someone who finds it hard to go outside of my circle of established friends, it is always surprising to me how friendly, welcoming, and caring brothers can be, regardless of how well you know them. Past that, Congress was a gathering of over a thousand people, with a delegate from nearly every collegiate and alumni chapter around the nation. It’s almost overwhelming when you see so many brothers (and strangers) in one room, but you also get this really intense feeling of belonging. Throughout the seminars and business sessions, the sense of brotherhood only grows, as people offer advice and aid without hesitation; you also see that everyone here is working toward the betterment of themselves, their chapter, and the fraternity as whole. I met several past Grand Presidents, all of whom were eager and happy to give me advice, both about my aspirations in life and better ways to run the chapter. It’s inspiring to talk to alumni and collegiates alike, to hear their experiences, their failures and successes, and to become more than just brothers by association.
Most brothers do not have this opportunity, and what makes this even more special is that you get to see just how large the fraternity is. When you’re at school in your own chapter, you only see your chapter, and maybe some of the alumni and neighboring chapters. But when you come to GCC (or even LEAD), you see that it isn’t just the 60 individuals you see regularly, it’s thousands of brothers that would welcome you without a second thought. Many people don’t know the reason why Delta Sigma Pi was created, but the foundation of inclusion, on which it was built upon, is something that still resonates with the fraternity today; at GCC, it’s something that you see national officers and collegiate brothers and alumni working to uphold and improve on every level. This is the kind of experience that inspires you to be better, both as a person and as a brother.
* Visit our Instagram account @ucsddsp to see more photos of highlights from Laura's experience at the 50th Grand Chapter Congress!