The JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis welcomed more than 800 Tri Deltas from across North America for the opening day of Convention where sisters participated in the Initiation ceremony for honor initiate Laurie Ingram, Mississippi. Following Initiation, the women sat down to dinner where they were serenaded by "Out of the Dawg House," the premier all-male a cappella group from Indianapolis's own Butler University.
In addition to participating in official Fraternity business over the four days of Convention, attendees were also able to pursue excellence in their own personal, professional and leadership roles through educational tracks and workshops. Topics ranged from alumnae engagement, alumnae and collegiate chapter programming, fundraising, workplace success, networking, women's health and body image, money management, and being an effective leader. One popular session took a look behind "the big white curtains" and talked about the rarely discussed topic of Ritual. Presenters included Executive Office staff, outside professionals and many of Tri Delta's own volunteers. Attendees also heard from Leeza Gibbons, South Carolina, who was the keynote speaker for the opening session.
Sisters received a special history lesson with the "Tri Delta Through Time" Sisterhood Luncheon program, presented by Archives Coordinator Beth Dees Applebaum, Texas Christian, and Past President Sash Vaughn Gabbard, Illinois. The presentation traced the Fraternity's history alongside U.S. history, showing how much Tri Delta has grown and changed as an organization, and the Convention choir provided musical pieces to accompany the program.
The Philanthropy Luncheon gave Tri Deltas the opportunity to show off their school spirit while supporting St. Jude! During the luncheon, the women heard from Vivian Laws, Tennessee, St. Jude-patient-turned-Tri Delta, who recounted her battle with osteosarcoma.
Vivian told the room that she was inspired to go through recruitment at the University of Tennessee because of the presence Tri Delta has on the St. Jude campus. She says joining Tri Delta was the best decision she has ever made. "I've never felt more at home away from my home. And now I have the ability to raise money for St. Jude through an organization that is so special to me with my sisters behind me. We're unstoppable. I feel like there's nothing we can't do, no goal we can't reach."
And, of course, there was the big announcement: Tri Delta has committed to raising $60 million in 10 years for St. Jude. Everyone was encouraged to spread the news through social media, taking selfies and using the hashtags #TriDelta4StJude and #TriDeltaPlace.
Tri Delta couldn't visit Indy without getting in on the race car action! Fun Night brought Convention attendees to the IndyCar Experience at the Dallara IndyCar Factory, located across from the famous Indy 500 Raceway. There, the Tri Deltas had the chance to try out race car simulators or get behind the wheel of a go kart out on the track. Some brushed up on their tire-changing skills at the pit stop challenge, attempting to beat the best time in a race against the clock.
The Final Banquet brought Convention 2014 to a close. Sisters dressed in their finest and came together one last time in Indianapolis to celebrate the close of the biennium and the installation of the new Executive Board. The banquet also honored the Sarah Ida Shaw, Ernestine Block Grigsby, and Volunteer Service Award winners.
Sarah Ida Shaw Award Winner Madison Coburn, Mississippi, offered this message to the audience: "Today, I hope to leave you one simple message: Make a difference...As chapter leaders, I encourage you to remind your chapter of its responsibility to make a positive difference in each other's lives, on your college campus, and in your community."
The evening ended with the traditional candle lighting ceremony and Alpha Theta Phi. Immediately afterwards, attendees began lining up for another favorite Convention tradition — Delta Shop's Midnight Madness Sale! This year, a DJ turned the shopping spree into a party as sisters lined the halls, waiting for the doors to open. It was their last chance to grab a few final Delta Shop products before the journey home.
You can read more about Convention 2014 in the Summer Trident.