By Luke Benfield – Director of Education
The time is almost here for the 25th anniversary of the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute. While the name has changed over the years from Leadership College to the Emerging Leaders Institute to the Kleberg Emerging Leadership Institute, the purpose of the conference has remained the same – to equip undergraduate leaders within Phi Delta Theta with the necessary education and tools to succeed.
If you’ve been selected to attend the conference, congratulations! Less than 5% of Phi Delta Theta’s members have attended the conference. The experience has the opportunity to become a very valuable one, IF you approach the conference with a few things in mind.
That’s what this post is about – Things to do and things not to do in regards to the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute.
Things To Do:
Come into the conference with a positive attitude and open mind
The majority of conference attendees will be very excited to be there, because they are honored to have been selected by their peers as an emerging leader. Some, however, may have been told by their peers that they drew the short stick. The individuals who fall into the former category will come to the conference with an open mind. Those in the latter category will more than likely not. Be aware of this and do not let the close mindedness of a few distract you from your eagerness to learn. You will have the opportunity to learn a great deal from some of the Fraternity’s brightest and most dedicated volunteer and staff members. Be a sponge and allow people to pass along what they know. The experience that will be in Oxford for the conference will be impressive.
Explore the Phi Delt history in Oxford
This may be your only trip to Mother Oxford. Do a little research on our history and be aware of the many pieces of Phi Delt history on campus. In your free time, take some time to look around and experience this very special campus and town. If you’re a Foursquare user, we’ve made it easy for you to see the landmarks. Visit https://foursquare.com/phidelt/list/phi-delta-theta-landmarks-in-oxford-ohio.
Pick the brain of your volunteer faculty member
The volunteer facilitators for the conference have been selected from a large pool of applicants. They have been selected for a reason. Each one of them brings a love for Phi Delta Theta, unique experiences, and knowledge covering many Fraternity topics. Take the time to get to know your faculty member and ask them questions. Also, meet many of the faculty members, as you can learn much from each of them. These individuals want to see you succeed and will more than likely be of mentorship to you as you progress through your Phi Delt Career. That is, if you allow them to help you.
Participate in everything
You have a little more than two days to soak in as much as you can. To do so, take advantage of everything that is going on. Be at every small group chapter meeting, attend an educational session in all three blocks, show up at the Iron Phi 5K and Iron Phi Sports competition, and most importantly, be present when you’re at these thing. Simply put, ask questions and be an active participant in every discussion. Yes, you will have long days, but embrace them as opportunities to learn more.
Connect with fellow undergraduates and alumni
Creating a support network with people outside of your campus can be extremely valuable during your time as a leader within Phi Delta Theta. Having an outside perspective or a peer in a similar situation or position can assist you in your efforts to do great things at your chapter. Get to know the brothers in your Kleberg chapter, eat lunch with new people everyday, strike up conversations with as many people as you can.
Things Not To Do:
Take every idea as a good one
You will hear countless ideas throughout your time at Kleberg. Some of them will be very good, some of them will be very bad. When you do hear a bad idea, call people out and hold them accountable. We are our brothers’ keepers and it is our responsibility to address the negative things that occur within our organization. Those who continually want to talk about their “traditions” are generally the ones that you should take with a grain of salt.
Only hang around your fellow chapter brothers
You may have fellow brothers from your chapter in attendance with you. You’ll get to spend all year with them. Branch out from your comfort of your chapter and meet others. Valuable relationships will be built if you take this route. Make sure different brothers from your chapter are attending different educational sessions. It doesn’t make sense for all of you to be in one session, when there are five others occurring.
You will gain more from your Kleberg experience if you actively participate. Discussions within your small groups are confidential and we want you to feel comfortable talking about your frustrations, sharing your successes, and getting the answers to things you are trying to learn.
Go into the conference without a focused list of things you want to learn
To build upon the last bullet, don’t go into the conference without a plan. What are some of the topics you want to learn about? What things would be valuable for your officer position or one that you one day hope to have? Knowing the things that you want to get out of the conference will help you navigate it.
Think you’ll be able to change everything immediately upon returning home
Leaving the conference, you will be equipped with the knowledge to make positive change. Having said this, you’ll need to focus on a strategy to implement this change. If you try to improve everything at once, you’ll have a difficult time. If you strategically select 1-3 things to start on, you’ll have more success.
The Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute is a powerful experience, and we know you will enjoy it. Keep these do’s and don’ts in mind to make the most of your time in Oxford.
See you soon.