As I landed in Tucson on Wednesday afternoon, I was completely awestruck by the Arizona landscape. I felt like I was in the middle of the desert, surrounded by cacti, rolling mountains and vast skylines. After settling in my room at the stunning JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort, I headed to the Convention registration desk to greet the many convention attendees from across the United States and Canada. Each was eager and excited to begin a fun filled week with sisters.
The convention festivities kicked off Wednesday evening with the Welcome to Tucson Reception where I was able to mix and mingle with fellow interns and chapter members. As I sat down at a table, nibbling on my quesadilla and hamburger slider, International President Barb Zipperian herself sat down a few seats away from me. I thought my chapter adviser was going to leap out of her chair with excitement. Past International President Anne Gilchrist, the only PIP who can claim the honor of having served during the AOII Centennial, also joined our table. I then enjoyed casual conversations about convention, presidential duties and AOII memories with each woman. It was a wonderful meal, one that gave me a greater appreciation for my AOII membership. I will cherish it for many years to come.
The evening continued with a welcome from the Executive Board, followed by the first keynote speaker of Convention: Dr. Lori Hart. A Delta Delta (Auburn University) Alum, Hart had the crowd laughing hysterically with her casual and energetic speaking style as she shared stories of her time in AOII. Hart firmly believes that identifying the problems in a chapter is 90% of finding the solution. She challenged each of us, saying that every day, sorority and fraternity members make decisions about how to use their membership in their organization. Through group discussion and stories, Hart sought to identify the realities, the possibilities and the path forward for AOII chapters, challenging each chapter to pursue the highest standards of friendship on their campus. She reminded us that since its beginning, sorority life has always centered around friendship and said that as long as we stay true to that purpose, sororities will serve as a powerful force for good on campuses and in communities across the country.
As Dr. Hart would put it, I'm an explorer, so I was completely enthralled with her words and left the room ready to change my chapter, my campus and the world.
The first day of convention was a exhilarating fun-filled kickoff to a truly inspiring and life-changing week.
Thanks all for now.
Look for more posts on days 2-4 later in the week!
Alpha Omicron Pi International Headquarters