The following is a guest post written by brother Matt Colphon discussing his recent experience at BLTW 2010. This was Matt’s first trip to BLTW.
For reference, although I’ve been a brother since fall 2007, this is the first experience BLTW experience I’ve been able to attend. So when the opportunity to go came up, I was more than eager to join my brothers to the south, although I had no idea what to expect. At any rate, on Wednesday night we packed up the rental car and set off down the winding roads of Southern Ontario and the eastern seaboard, arrive in Chapel Hill some 14 hours after our drive started. I immediately took note of how beautiful the campus was, with its colonial buildings, luscious courtyards and the Kenan Memorial Stadium in the centre, as though it were a precious stone. I quickly dropped off my bags and proceeded to the opening ceremonies.
Nothing could quite have prepared me for what came next. As I entered the hall nearly 1900 brothers surrounded me, all dressed in letter, with some carrying flags of their chapter letters, countries or the white cross. Being from a midsize chapter in a non-Greek school this was by far the biggest show of fraternity pride I had ever seen. From that point forward everything seemed to happen at a surreal pace. Before long we were moving out, breaking out into session groups for the officer positions – Consuls here, Quaestors there – and going to our first group sessions. After a brief introduction to the 200 some other Quaestors attending that weekend, we quickly broke into smaller discussion groups which would be the focus of most of the training.
With 10 brothers and an alumnus each, the discussion groups are really where most of the learning happened during the week. We met for a few hours 4 separate times during the workshop and we discussed everything, from chapter sizes to financial struggles and successes, highlighting the differences and giving each other tips on anything relevant, both in and out of our portfolios. I was astonished to see how some chapters had recruitment budgets bigger than my entire semester’s cash flow, but it was still amazing to see how much of the work and method was the same regardless of size. From all that, I was able to walk away with a new set of tools going into the next school year.
BLTW isn’t all about work though. Tons of other activities happened during our stay. A ritual exemplification was performed, initiating 8 new brothers to the Alpha Tau chapter and demonstrating one of our most significant elements to 1900 active and alumnus brothers. SigFest was another hit, with basketball and football games, corn hole, a Texas Hold Em tournament and a t-shirt exchange attracting and bonding many brothers during the two evenings. And finally, the conclusion of the weekend was an event in and of itself, with major awards being given to chapters and brothers, including the prestigious International Balfour Award and the Peterson Outstanding Chapter Award.
My only regret about this BLTW is that it will be my first, but it will hopefully not be my last. The brotherhood I have built during the 3 short days eclipsed any expectation that I had originally had, and has made my Sigma Chi experience even more amazing than it already was. Hopefully in the future BLTW will be able to come up north to Canada (or at least New York) but other than that I wouldn’t change this experience at all.
In Hoc and Gaurd Well,