Time is running out for you to register to join us in Orlando this August for the 52nd Biennial Convocation of Sigma Pi. Registration remains open through end of business next Monday, July 14, 2014. You can register online by clicking this link: http://sigmapi.org/index.php/step-by-step then selecting the appropriate package and clicking on the “Register Now” button. Note: You MUST have a free username and password set up at http://www.mysigmapi.com before you can register. If you have questions about the process, be sure to click on the “Registration Instructions” button. If you are a delegate or alternate for your alumni club, be sure to also complete and submit the Credentials form.
Convocation is always one of my favorite Sigma Pi events. This one will be the 11th that I have attended. My first was in Irvine, California in 1992. I was a newly initiated undergraduate, eager to experience an international-level event. What an experience it was! From the sheer numbers of brothers all in one place, to learning how Robert’s Rules of Order really works, it was an event to behold.
As a 20 year-old from northwest Georgia, I had never experienced Southern California before. So, part of my Convocation experience was going out a week early and doing the tourist stuff. I did the NBC tour in Burbank, went to Universal Studios, toured the Warner Brothers lot and studios, and got to sit in the front row of the audience for a taping of “The Arsenio Hall Show” at Paramount Studios. I walked by actor Jonathan Frakes (Cmdr. Will Riker) while he was sitting outside a sound-stage in-between shooting scenes for “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” got to see the sets for “Cheers” and “Entertainment Tonight,” and stand on the set of “Soul Train.” I took one of the van tours of Beverly Hills to see the stars’ homes. I walked along Rodeo Drive, sat on the beach at Santa Monica, drove the Sunset Strip, and shopped at Tower Records - and all of it because I was going to Convocation. And all that was before Convocation had even started!
Convocation itself was quite the experience. Especially that particular one. Meeting so many brothers from all over North America, not to mention the Past Grand Officers that were there. Watching Brotherhood on display as Bobby Burgess (Upsilon ’63) received his Founder’s Award with his chapter brothers coming together to surprise him in song. I was hooked. The tourist experience combined with the unbridled brotherhood that I experienced during Convocation, made me know that this Convocation would not be my last.
Baltimore 1994, Tampa 1998, Phoenix 2000, Philadelphia 2002, Chicago 2004, New Orleans 2006, Long Beach 2008, Danvers 2010, and San Antonio 2012. The only Convocation I’ve missed was in 1996 when it was held in Toronto. I was in the Atlanta area at the time, which was hosting the Centennial Olympic Games during Convocation. Between not being able to be off work during the Olympics, and having some tickets to Olympic events I could not make it.
Besides remembering the cities and the hotels of Convocations, one thing I treasure from my Convocation attendance is the friendships I have made with brothers as a result of seeing them every six months or so at Sigma Pi events. From Past Grand Sages to alumni volunteers. From meeting a “shiny pin” undergraduate, to seeing them attend again as an alumnus.
So, I encourage you to begin or continue your Convocation experience by joining us in Orlando. Who knows, maybe you will have the kinds of experiences like I have that will not only “recharge” your Sigma Pi batteries, but also get you in the habit of attending Convocation. There’s even an official group for those of us who attend Convocations – The Sigma Pi Historical Society. Membership is open to any brother who has attended two or more Convocations. You can become a Fellow of the Society upon attending your fifth Convocation.
One of my favorite things at Convocation comes at the very end, when all the brothers gather in a huge circle around the ballroom, join arms, and sing “The Fireside Song.” I always get a little choked up and have to fight back the tears during this. It symbolizes that even though we may have disagreed over motions that came to the floor for debate, or were on opposite sides of some vote, in the end we are all brothers of Sigma Pi. It is a great way to close out Convocation.
I hope to see you in Orlando!