OutSight Consulting

Conference Tips for MGC Members

MGCA 2005, only two Betas and two Gammas.

MGCA 2005, only two Betas and two Gammas.

As we enter the conference season… AFLV Central and West, the NGLA Conference, and several other regional conferences I thought I would write some advice for the culturally based Greek members out there attending conferences.

I remember my first MGCA (called AFLV Central now) in 2001. Out of over 1,200 participants there was less than 10 total members from MGC type groups. There was maybe 25 members from NPHC orgs. Yep, it was hard on us, and I was mad about it, and mad about the way things went down. So I am here to say that things have gotten a little better… BUT in order for you to have a good experience please accept a few tips.

Be proud of your org, use this as a change to learn and grow and spread your message.

MINGLE – please mingle and get to know your fellow IFC/Panhel delegation members. You see and interact with your MGC/NPHC peeps all the time. So this is a good time for you to network and get to know Greeks in chapters you don’t regularly associate with on campus.

EDUCATE – this is a time to teach IFC/Panel members on your campus about your org, and also other campuses. Don’t be mad at what people don’t know. I remember one of my first conferences when Greeks from other schools would say, “I wish we had a chapter like yours (Latino) on our campus” and I would get pissed cause… THEY DO! I was mad, but being mad doesn’t change things, use it to motivate you to help them learn.

LEARN – don’t sit back like, “They need to learn about us!”. Guess what? It is a two-way street, you want them to understand and respect your intake process, maybe you need to learn and understand their process. If we mock how they do things, we shouldn’t expect them not to mock us. You will find some campuses that are doing inclusion well, learn from them as well, and follow up to bring those ideas back to your yard.

BE FLEXIBLE – Someone is going to reach out and touch your Teekee. It will happen, almost guaranteed. How you react can create an opportunity for education, or create more division. Think of it this way, they are reaching out to ask a question, not disrespect you. So block them, or grab it back, RESPECTFULLY, and explain to them why it means so much to you, and how you don’t like it touched. Use the opportunity, don’t let it pass you by.

ASK QUESTIONS – How come your chapter does XYZ? Hey I know you want to know, man I wanted to know stuff and never asked. They won’t bite, and it can start a cool dialog. I learned so many things about IFC and Panhellenic chapters over my years in Greek Life (I was a Greek advisor for ten years). Then be ready for them to ask you a question, and bam, relationships and greater understanding can be created. One block at a time.

FIND A MENTOR – There aren’t many, and mentors don’t need to be a minority (mine wasn’t), but each year there are more and more diverse Greek advisors at these conferences. Find one, get a mentor, and follow up with them after the conference.  I was lucky to have some really good mentors and it made all the difference.

I will be at most of these conferences this year… come to my workshops, lets chat, and lets keep pushing the ball forward. We need more inclusive campuses today more than ever and we can be an important cog in that process…

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Higher Education and Leadership Development