February 19, 2014

On the Road: Leadership Conference – Collegian vs. ELC

As a collegian, I always looked forward to attending Alpha Phi Leadership Conference and meeting sisters from different chapters in the quadrant. During my collegiate career, I was lucky enough to attend two of Alpha Phi’s Leadership Conferences. Both times, I found a stronger passion for Alpha Phi and realized the items I dealt with daily as Chapter President were not unique issues within my chapter, but universal.

I came back to campus with a plethora of refreshing and exciting ideas. However, this time, it wasn’t just me rattling off innovative ways to move our chapter forward.  After conference, it was the entire executive board that was on the same page: just as excited and Alpha Phi enthused as I was.

Attending the Western Leadership Conference as an ELC was one of the many rewarding aspects of the job and a very different experience than attending as a collegian. After visiting and working with over ten chapters in the fall, it was exciting to reunite with these collegians and see how much they have grown as leaders representing their chapters. It was incredibly gratifying watching these young leaders that I have been working closely with over the last few months come together to gain  a better understanding of the future of our beloved Fraternity.
What I did not realize when attending Alpha Phi’s Leadership Conference as a collegian was how many amazing volunteers attended. From chapter advisors to the Alpha Phi International President, the room was filled with successful, generous, and hardworking women.  What was even more exciting was to see that many of these volunteers have shared the life-changing experience as I am having as an ELC. There is that instant bond when you meet a fellow sister who has lived out of a suitcase for nine months on the road helping and mentoring Alpha Phi chapters across the U. S. and Canada. Sharing stories and laughing at how traveling was exponentially different 20 years ago than today – I truly appreciate being able to send my fellow ELCs a quick text message rather than using the chapter house phone for a price to pay per minute!

Instead of leaving Leadership Conference with a t-shirt from a different chapter, I left with an even greater appreciation for the Alpha Phi volunteers and our hard working collegiate chapters. My biggest takeaway from the Leadership Conference this year is that Alpha Phi doesn’t end after college, or traveling as an ELC for that matter. The truth is… Alpha Phi will be with me forever.

Elizabeth Palumbo (Gamma Rho-Penn State) is a first-year Educational Leadership Consultant.

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