By Brantley Taylor
A couple weeks ago I had the honor of attending the National Convention for Zeta Tau Alpha in Orlando, FL. I was accompanied by our recruitment chair, Alexa Wagner, and one of our upcoming leaders, Jenna Anderson. Going into the week I had no idea what to expect being surrounded by so many women from such a variety of backgrounds, but all tied together by the common thread of Zeta. It ended up being one of the greatest experiences I have had through our sorority.
If you don’t know what Convention is, I’ll try and paint a picture for you. Imagine hundreds of women ages 18-80+, lots of cheering, even more crowns, and the celebrities of Zeta themselves, the national council. I soon realized that Zeta might be the most extra sorority when I saw that even the room keys were specialized to have the convention logo on them. Putting aside all of the bells and whistles though, convention helped me to realize how blessed I am to be in charge of the Delta Psi chapter.
I’ll be honest, I was intimidated going into the week based on the fact that there were huge state schools like FSU, Alabama, and Georgia in attendance and I didn’t know how a small private Christian school like Samford was supposed to stack against them. However, I quickly learned that it’s not the size of the school or the chapter that matters, it’s how your chapter is run and the quality of the girls in the chapter.
Delta Psi ended up winning an Academic Achievement Award for our overall chapter GPA, a Quota Award for reaching quota set by nationals the past two years, and a Major Donor Award for reaching Founders Club Level by donating over $25,000 to our philanthropy. On top of these awards we also won Crown Chapter Award! We have been blessed enough to have received this award for the past couple years and are so proud to continue the streak. This helps prove to us that what we do matters and every event we have is worth it in the end.
The single greatest moment, however, was the night of the Silver Awards Banquet. Silver Awards the highest esteemed awards given to chapters across the nation for exceeding expectations and being the best of the best chapters in a variety of areas. Delta Psi hadn’t won a Silver Award in the past 10 years, so going into the night I admittedly was more excited for the dinner being served rather than watching all of these other chapters winning awards while we clapped graciously. Then came a moment that really blindsided me. Just about the time when they were reading off the description of the chapter who was winning 1st Runner Up for Collegiate Public Relations I was thinking, “Hey that’s not fair we do all of the same things that this chapter they’re about to call does.” Of course right after that thought crossed my mind, they called Delta Psi, Samford University up to the stage as the winners. We all just sat there at first not recognizing that we were indeed the winners, until Jenna said, “Hey! That’s us!” and we all ran to the stage to accept it. This is a huge milestone for Delta Psi, breaking a decade-long dry spell.
I am so thankful to be in charge of a group of girls who work harder, do more, and seek to be better every year. It’s moments like those that give you clarity into why you do what you do. Convention also taught me the meaning behind, “Zeta is forever”. Being in college it’s hard to imagine the sorority itself being something that’ll last you past the four years you’re in it. The friendships, yes, but the sorority? Well, let me tell you Convention puts it all into perspective. You see that Zeta is so much bigger than just your own chapter. It’s easy to get so narrow-minded and focus solely on what you are doing, but when you zoom out of that view and see what the other 170 collegiate chapters and 238 alumnae chapters are doing as well you get a better appreciation for Zeta as a whole. You’re able to realize that Zeta matters, what we do in our sorority matters, but what we contribute to the overarching organization matters even more. We are young women, given the opportunity to make a difference. I’m beyond proud of my chapter and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for Delta Psi long after I’m finished being president. I’m also so proud I get to call myself a Zeta Tau Alpha.