This past summer, the Theta Theta chapter headed to the International Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, with no expectations. Jourdan De Beer, President, stated that the he intended to use the Convention as "a time to network, gain leadership experience, and find new ways benefit the chapter in the coming fall". Little did he know however that the 2016 New Orleans International Convention was going to be much more exciting.
The Theta Theta Chapter started the 4 day convention by winning the 100+ Man Chapter Award. Soon after, they were awarded the Scholarship Plate, given to all Pi Kappa Alpha Chapters who have a cumulative GPA of above a 3.0. These were much expected and have been won consistently for the past 3 years.
As programming awards were starting to be handing out, well known top chapters started to flash across the screen: Florida State, Drexel, University of Louisiana - Monroe. These were chapters that are known for winning Smythe's year-in and year-out. Just to be a finalist in any Programming category was to be a part of the top elite, let alone to win one. As the Programming Award for Chapter Management came up, President Jourdan De Beer recalls "finding a pen to write down the winning chapter in order to seek them out later to talk about all the things they do well". The Theta Theta Chapter at Texas A&M University was one of the 3 Finalist! "This came as an complete surprise" Jourdan explained, "We do a ton of things very well chapter management wise, but there are also areas for improvement. And the award goes to...the Theta Theta Chapter at Texas A&M. For the first time in its brief history, the Theta Theta Chapter had won the Programming Award for Chapter Management. "It was a total validation that what we are doing as a chapter is moving us in the right direction" Jourdan proceeded to explain.
This however was not the only highlight from the Convention. It soon became time to hand out Raymond L. Orians Excellence Awards, awarded to the top 50 chapters in the nation. The Theta Theta Chapter has had its eyes on this for a while now, and knew they were getting close. As the list of winners was starting to be read off, Brother De Beer recalls "knowing we had put in the effort and just hoping it would pay off". And it did! The Theta Theta Chapter had finally won its first Raymond L. Orians Excellence Award for being a top 50 chapter in the nation. This was the first step toward a Smythe.
"Next year, we have our eyes set on the big one, a Smythe!" said Jourdan. "We've got a taste of victory, and that will make us work harder than ever to be the best chapter in the nation."
List of Awards:
Raymond L. Orians Excellence Award (Top 50 Chapter)
Programming Award - Chapter Management
Scholarship Plate - 3.0+ Chapter GPA
100+ Man Chapter Award