Over the weekend of January 30th, the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association executive boards had the opportunity to attend the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values (AFLV) conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. AFLV regularly sees 3,600 attendees each year and offers programming tailored for all councils (PHA, IFC, NPHC & NMGC) and “exists to accelerate progress within Fraternity and Sorority Life”. Each year, members from Missouri State have attended this conference near the beginning of their executive terms, which allows for bonding and collaboration.
Many of the students in attendance commented on their experience. Panhellenic President, Emma Drace said, “The most impactful part of AFLV was the break out sessions. I learned a lot about how we can become a more diverse community and how to include everyone. I learned about the biases of sororities and how to break down those walls, especially during recruitment. I am looking forward to using the activities that we participated in and to show the rest of the community how we can grow!”
The students were able to acquire new knowledge on the state of the FSL community that they are eager to use throughout the year. Andrew Jackson, who is serving as the IFC Vice President of Administration said, “I thought the most impactful part of AFLV was seeing the volume of organizations and individuals trying to positively help their communities. I think everyone there was really transparent about the great things happening in the FSL community but still acknowledged that there is work to be done to continue to improve Fraternity and Sorority Life nationwide.”
Due to the number of students who attend AFLV each year, MSU student leaders were able to hear about different campuses’ experiences across the country. IFC President Rami Issawi commented, “My favorite thing I learned at AFLV is how tight-knit the FSL community is all around the country. No matter how big or how small a university is the issues that we are dealing with are all similar on every campus. Being lucky enough to be in the position that we are in, it is our job to help improve this culture one day at a time.”
AFLV provided practical knowledge for councils to use during their terms, including how to take care of themselves during their terms. Vice President of Membership Development for PHA, Bella Orlando said, “The most impactful part of AFLV was a speaker named Corey Ciocchetti. I attended three of his ED session blocks: Stress management, Self Authenticity and How to Be a Leader. Corey was very insightful on how to find your passion in college and work towards it. He also gave 20 tips on how to manage your stress better while balancing classes and your social life. I left Corey’s talks feeling inspired and ready to make an impact on the new members I will be working with this term.”
The Director of Plaster Student Union, Terry Weber, who is currently advising the Interfraternity Council attended the conference with the executive boards this year. “Attending AFLV has certainly been one of the highlights of the 2019-20 academic year for me. Not only did I get to reconnect with colleagues I have not seen for some time, but I was also able to attend programs that educated me on the trends within Fraternity/Sorority Life that are most pressing, at this time. Staying updated on these trends is vital to supporting our FSL community in the best way possible. AFLV is not just a conference for fraternity/sorority leaders; it is THE conference to attend. Over 3600 people attended the conference, from all over the country, demonstrating a draw significantly larger than the ‘Central’ part of the country and the quality of programming afforded to students who attend. While we sent a large delegation this year, I challenge our FSL community to send an even larger delegation next year and extend the reach of this tremendous conference.”
Included in the ALFV conference is an awards ceremony where councils from around the country receive awards recognizing the outstanding achievements from the previous year. This year, Missouri State Panhellenic Association was awarded a 3-star Collaboration award. This award recognizes “the ability to work successfully among the council, chapters, staff, and larger community”. 3-star is the highest level of achievement in each category.
Overall, this experience created more unity within the council executive boards and gave council members inspiration for goals within their position and an idea of where our community stands across the nation.