By Todd Simmons, Ohio Epsilon
Each year, when Ohio Epsilon at the University of Akron begins the process of selecting members to represent the chapter at the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute, we remember a great quote from our Province President, Jim Warner.
“You shouldn’t send ducks to eagle school.”
It is a quote that has resonated greatly within Ohio Epsilon, and the chapter has benefited from following this advice and sending as many “eagles” as possible to Kleberg each summer.
The three pillars of the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute are purpose, networking and leadership. These values are extremely important because they coincide with the three Cardinal Principles that we abide by as men of Phi Delta Theta. The men that spend valuable time in Oxford, Ohio during Kleberg refine their skills in these three categories, and they always return with a greater understanding of each one.
Sending a large number of men to Kleberg year-after-year has greatly impacted our chapter. Over the past three years, Ohio Epsilon has sent a total of 34 delegates to the conference. We sent 15 men in 2014 with one being a Peer Mentor and another being our first Whole Man Scholar. We were able to show our support of the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute and grow the capacity for leadership within Ohio Epsilon at the same time.
The most notable benefits that the chapter has gained are positive attitudes, heightened leadership skills and a greater drive from those who have attended Kleberg. By developing a greater purpose to live our ritual, connect with members of GHQ and other chapters, and attend sessions to refine leadership skills, our members begin to step into leadership roles even before they leave Miami University.
Upon returning to campus, it’s guaranteed that those who attended will begin to work harder, take on more responsibility and apply the knowledge gained at Kleberg to benefit the chapter. Any leadership book can be read and applied, however, what happens to a Phi while he is at the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute lights a fire that burns his Phi Delt passion brighter than ever. The building of this Phi pride and the desire to lead, coupled with a greater understanding of the purpose of Phi Delta Theta is easily the most important factor that has led to Ohio Epsilon’s success.
The proof is concrete. More than 70% of our current executive board members attended Kleberg at one point in their undergraduate career. Our past four presidents attended the conference. Three of those four have returned as Peer Mentors.
This summer, we hope to send two peer mentors, three Whole Man Scholars, and 15 undergraduates, for a total of 20 Ohio Epsilon men in attendance.
The experience a man gains in four days at the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute is invaluable. It is the gift that keeps on giving, generation after generation. Our chapter has more than doubled in size, been recognized for numerous awards on campus, been named the most outstanding fraternity at the University of Akron’s for three years in a row, and was recently the runner-up for Phi Delta Theta’s Harvard Trophy. This success directly correlates with Ohio Epsilon’s focus on sending more men to Kleberg.
Registration is now open for the 2015 Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute through myPDT. Per the 2015 Chapter Minimum Standards and Expectations policy, all chapters must have at least three (3) delegates in attendance. This can be a mix of Kleberg delegate track and Phikeia Education training track participants, but does not include brothers named as Peer Mentors or those who receive Whole Man Scholarships to attend the Honors College of Leadership. If a chapter registers three members for the delegate track and one for the Phikeia Education training track, all register for free. Additional delegates may pay the $350 registration fee to attend. All delegates are responsible for their travel costs.