Grand Chapter Congress - Seattle
As I sit here at SEATAC Airport my minds starts to slip from the lack of sleep and pure exhaustion that hits me from five nights of sleep deprivation and “socializing.” I reflect back on this last GCC and how amazing my Fraternity really is. It seems easy to type a typical statement like this and build hype for DSP, but what really makes this event better than any other event the organization hosts? Before I answer that question let’s get one thing out of the way.
If you love to travel, you guys really did miss out on Seattle, Washington. As much as I love the great state of Texas and bleed burnt orange, this state beats it hands down when it comes to weather. For the entire trip the weather was in the 70s to mid-80s. The weather may have been perfect in my opinion, yet the scenery sealed the deal. Currently living in the DFW Metroplex, I absolutely hate traffic. I never thought I’d say this but, I would not mind the 405 or 90 rush hour traffic in this state. There’s something naturally uplifting about that scenic view of mountains, islands, and Lake Washington as you drive home. The change in scenery is also reflected in how hilly and green the entire city is. Buildings seem to grow around the environment rather than rise upon it.
And that’s just a small taste of the environment we were in. I haven’t even gotten to the visiting famous places yet. So as a fellow traveler I feel I should inform you of my “must-see” places if you are there. I may just agree that this city is the “New York of the West.” The locals even make this statement as I heard it several times not just on tours but in various literature and conversation with random strangers. Yet why this is the “New York of the West” may be the result of large corporate headquarters located in this city. As a business major and having a business-oriented mindset, I happened to come across some very interesting and worthy places to visit in Seattle. And word to the wise, visit these places during the weekdays! Places look like ghost-towns on weekends.
So my first stop on the list is Microsoft. A brother from my hometown chapter of Iota Psi took the time to give me a tour of the place with her boyfriend that worked in the Windows Phone division of the campus. And yes I did say campus. Think of a campus that happens to be a huge chunk of an entire city. I think the real estate size is over nine million square feet. I would highly recommend visiting the area. Especially the Xbox division, since I could not see that area. If the signs didn’t give it away it was the windows of Master Chief cut-outs and Xbox boxes.
While we’re on the subject of the video game industry, there are three more game headquarters to visit. Almost next to the campus is Nintendo of America, where the company handles sales, marketing, and advertising. This would be an amazing place for marketing majors to work at. Equally as good we had two other huge companies that were a walk away from the hotel. They are the famous Valve Corporation and the Bungie Studios. You may know Valve from famous games such as Half-Life and Bungie from Halo and their new project, Destiny. Unfortunately I could not enter either facility. Both places are only open during weekdays.
Some other Fortune 500 companies headquartered there are clothing merchant Nordstrom, Internet retailer Amazon.com and if you haven’t already guessed it, the coffee chain Starbucks. Other notable companies are Costco, Eddie Bauer, Expedia, and T-Mobile USA. All great places to apply for recent graduates or seasoned job seekers.
Just to be clear, Starbucks can be found in almost every corner of Seattle. If you love the brand and coffee, make plans to visit the original Starbucks in Pikes Market. Be ready to wait in long lines though. Your patience will be tested against how much you really want that coffee you can purchase at any of the 120 stores around the corner (I’m exaggerating a bit).
Pike Place Market itself is what some would consider the “soul of Seattle.” A little history about the place; Pike Place Market first opened in 1907 and is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers' markets in America. The Market's mission has always been to allow consumers to "meet the producer" by which local farmers and craftspeople rent their tables on a daily basis. Just to let you know there are more than 200 businesses, 190 crafts people and about 100 farmers who sell their goods here. And not to mention there are over 60 different places where you can eat. You can easily knock out a day here. I regret not taking enough pictures of the market.
If you’re already at Pikes Place, take the chance to get on that Argosy cruise! It is an amazing tour that encompasses an hour long ride along the bay and gives a unique, breath-taking view of Seattle from the water. It’s a narrated tour that circles the Elliot Bay and Seattle Harbor.
Next stops are place all around one of the biggest landmarks in America, the Seattle Space Needle. This 41 second ride into the atmosphere really does give an incredible 360 view of the city. Well worth the wait in line. The Chihully Garden and Glass museum and the base are also pretty interesting as well. Yet I got more worth out of visiting the EMP Museum next to the needle. Whether you are an audiophile or pop-culture nerd you have to visit this museum. The Jimmy Hendrix and Nirvana exhibits were a great walkthrough and the Icons of Science Fiction and Fantasy exhibits were a nostalgic site to see as well. I won’t go into the details but check out the gallery when you can. My only complaint is that the museum was too small. I would have loved to see more.
The Pacific Science Center was interesting to a point. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I was less than ten years old or had children. It’s a very fun family-oriented place, so as a single male it was my shortest walkthrough of the day.
The best idea (I feel like I should have mentioned it earlier) is to purchase a City Pass for about $75 and visit all the places you can. It’s definitely a less expensive route to go and will give you a great Seattle experience.
GRAND CHAPTER CONGRESS
For some reason (maybe it’s the lack of sleep) this part of the article is hard to write about. Part of me wants to write about what happened at GCC in great detail. Yet what’s the point of that when you can read about it in the Deltasig magazine or ask brothers. We went to meetings and sessions. We campaigned and voted for leaders. We networked and gained new contacts, if not friends. We recognized greatness among us. You can do similar affairs in regular LEADs and Provincial LEADs. What makes this event any different? I started thinking about it and it made more sense to me that the event isn’t what makes it worth going to. It’s the Brothers you meet. They are the ones that influence and shape your views on the Fraternity. The event just helps facilitate the course of action that you may take. Your chapter and your Brothers are what complete a huge chunk of the GCC experience. Trust me when I say you bond with other chapter delegates at 8:30AM. With that being said I think it important to address individuals that shaped me as a Deltasig and encouraged me to become a more involved alumni member.
Anyone that has gone to a LEAD event understands that it’s for the weekend. This is one day of learning sessions and networking among chapters. Brothers can attend sessions to improve their chapters or improve themselves. Such self-improvement sessions in the corporate world costs a significant amount of money. The Fraternity offers these at a fraction of the cost through registration. And many members may not know this interesting fact – the chapter does not profit from LEADs. Registration only accounts for a small amount of expense for the event. Through these yearly events it makes me happy to see in such a short amount of time how Brothers become close friends and plans to visit each later become mandatory.
Grand Chapter Congress is five days of this. Since it is labeled a national event that happens every two years, you are guaranteed to meet Brothers from all over the nation, even some international ones. Regular LEADs and Provincial LEADs are targeted towards their regions and provinces. GCC is meant to be for everyone. Depending on what you do, it can be the ultimate Deltasig experience.
I cannot count the number of times I sat among old friends and reminisced about what we did last GCC and the countless LEADs we went to. We talked about the places we had the opportunity to travel to because of our Fraternity and how the experience gave us insight and culturally educated us about our nation. We acknowledged the value in connecting with other chapters to obtain ideas, become better leaders, motivate people and ways to innovate chapter practices, events, etc. for future prospects.
Congratulations to Onuka Ibe for becoming our new Grand President. From what I have heard and seen, I am excited to see what you will accomplish and I will help in in way I am able. I have no doubt we will prosper under your leadership.
Thanks Eddie Stephens for establishing the Cigar Aficionados Club and sharing your enthusiasm and knowledge about cigars with me and other new members. I look forward to seeing you triple the membership by next year. Your enthusiasm and love for DSP inspired me to create “Friends with Moose” pins for next year. Look out for them.
Much love and excitement goes towards Shayna Johnson as she becomes the new Regional Vice President of the South Central Region. I can’t wait to help you take this region to great heights.
Gilbert Landras – I have not forgotten about you at all. It seems like only the other day I sent you argumentative, harsh emails when you just became RVP for the Gulf Western Region. Though I was right (just had to take the low road on that one), we butt heads on many occasions after that. The friendship we formed is invaluable to me and respect for you has continually grown over the years. Thank you for being mentor and giving me the chance to serve my region and the Fraternity over the years. It is because you took a chance with me I stay involved and give back as much as I can. I can’t believe it’s been four years as a District Director under your wing. Here’s to another two years of service and congratulations on continuing to be RVP for the Gulf Western Region.
For anyone that I missed please forgive me as my mind slowly disintegrates from lack of sleep and slips in and out of consciousness on this plane. Thank you all for being a positive part of my life, helping me learn and grow as a person. You have made my life much more enjoyable because of it. And I thank you for it.
There is no way I can end this long article without acknowledging a great friend and brother from my initiating chapter in Corpus Christi, Texas. Her name is Thao Nguyen and she is from the Iota Psi chapter from TAMUCC. I cannot thank her and her boyfriend enough for driving me around Seattle traffic to visit many of the places I mentioned above. If you guys didn’t know, Seattle traffic and parking is nuts. I am grateful for their patience and altruism. I thoroughly enjoyed the Pho place we ate at and I am glad that my chopstick skills were better than the average American. This is a great example of how networking within the Fraternity can have its benefits, but most importantly how valuable Brotherhood is. It’s a great feeling when Brothers treat you like family. In my book this is a shining example of Brotherhood. I encourage all of you from around the nation to mimic such acts of kindness and selflessness.
Thank you for making my Seattle and GCC experience truly unique and special!