The summer months mean a lot of things for us sorority girls, such as summer jobs, tans, shirtless boys, and for many of us, sorority convention. Given that there are at least 18 sororities holding a convention this summer and we’ve been to this rodeo a few times, we figured it would be a good idea to offer all of you newbies some advice.
It Is NOT A Vacation
We repeat: this is not a vacation. While it’s great that your convention is in a super cool place–Las Vegas, L.A., New Orleans–you won’t have any time to see it. Hell, you’re lucky if you get half a day off, but trust us–you’ll want to use that time to sleep. Since these sororities are putting out a lot of cash to hold their shindigs, they want to get their money’s worth. You are going to be in programming from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. If you want to see wherever it is you are going, it’s best to go a day early or stay a day late.
Actually Go To Stuff
As tempting as it can be to skip that meeting or educational session to go lie by the pool or take a nap, don’t. There are two reasons for this. First, we promise you will actually learn something that will be useful to you and your chapter. Second, people are watching. Seriously, we’ve been the people sent to hunt down errant attendees, and you don’t want to be publicly shamed like that. Also, get your ass in your chair on time–you do not want to be the one everyone turns around and looks at when the door creaks open in the middle of a quiet meeting.
Don’t Pack Your Going Out Clothes
None of your national officers or advisers want to see your ass coming out of the bottom your skirt or your boobs coming out of the top of your shirt. In truth, we snicker at those girls: “Did you see the one in the sequin miniskirt? She thought that was pin attire? This isn’t a club!” There are no boys here to impress, so dress professionally and pack clothes that you would wear to work at an office. Bonus tip: 99 percent of the time, these places are freezing. Pack a sweater.
The best time to meet the big badges–your national and regional officers–is at a sorority convention. Seek them out by sitting next to them at a meal or in a meeting and then turn up the charm. This will pay off in a few months when a member of your chapter does something horrifically stupid and that person remembers having met “such a nice girl from that chapter.” Maybe she won’t automatically assume the worst. Use this time to build relationships with the people who matter. You never know when they might be able to help you out later.
You won’t get fed breakfast. Lunch will be a sandwich with pasta salad. Dinner will be meat or chicken with vegetables. Odds are, there will be a soft pretzel break at some point. If that doesn’t appeal to you, we suggest you pack some snacks: protein bars, hundred calorie packs, whatever you want. Also, don’t count on the Starbucks stand in the hotel, because the line will probably be 50 people deep at all times. We personally ship a box to ourselves at the hotel full of Diet Coke and Kind Bars.
It’s not really appropriate to go drinking at the hotel bar during these events, regardless of how old you are. As we all know, there is an unspoken rule that even if you are 21, you shouldn’t be drinking in front of alumnae at an official meeting-type event. But something no one tells you is that the alumnae plan ahead for this. They have copious amounts of booze in their rooms and throw raging room parties during conventions. Learn from them and plan ahead, but also know that you need to be up, dressed, and in your chair by 8 a.m., not looking hungover. They will be, but they’ve had more practice at hiding it.
We hope this is helpful for those of you who are headed off to your organization’s convention this summer. We promise it will be a fun experience, during which you will meet some great people and actually learn some helpful things. We are both headed to our organization’s convention this summer, so be on the lookout for our post-event column. If you happen to share our letters, we’ll see you there!