Sept. HH & Fall LEAD

The September Happy Hour of the Des Moines – Central Iowa Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Pi is next week. Check Facebook for the latest details on the after-work social at the University Library Cafe (3506 University Ave. 50311) Thursday September 21.

The previous happy hour was August 31 at the relatively new Barn Town Brewing in West Des Moines. Alumni brothers enjoyed spicy popcorn, craft beers (including some mead), and a selection of dinner treats. There was even some ice cream eaten at the after-party at Rita’s down the street.

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The October 28 Omaha LEAD School registration price goes up from $50 to $70 after Tuesday, September 12. Register today to save on the registration fee.

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From IOWA to NOLA – GCC 2017

Delta Sigma Pi’s 51st Grand Chapter Congress was held in New Orleans, Louisiana August 16 – 20, 2017. Many collegiate and alumni brothers from central Iowa attended this biennial event. Recorded below are the experiences of 2 alumni: Jody, President of the Des Moines – Central Iowa Alumni Chapter, who was the chapter’s delegate to congress; and David, VP-CO of the Des Moines – Central Iowa Alumni Chapter, who was the chapter’s alternate delegate.

Both David and Jody flew to NOLA, David by way of Minneapolis where he happened to share a plane with some Twin Cities Alumni Chapter (TCAC) members and Jody by way of Chicago and some flight delays and an 8-hour layover at O’Hare. But Jody did end up arriving in the crescent city and had an especially memorable taxi ride from the airport to the hotel driven by an extremely Cajun cabbie.

The hotel was the Sheraton New Orleans, and both commented how great of a location this was to the city’s action, being just a block from the famed French Quarter and 2-blocks from Bourbon Street. Throughout the week, Jody and David became well-acquainted with several of the local establishments including The Jimani and The Worlds Famous Cats Meow. There were a few issues with the hotel. More than 1 brother was treated in the hospital for allergic reactions to hotel food. The lack of ventilation in the hotel rooms left pot smoke lingering in rooms and hallways. (It is unconfirmed whether or not it was Deltasigs or other hotel guests passing the doobie.)

Brothers got lucky with the timing of Grand Chapter Congress. Earlier in August the city experienced flooding associated with failures of the city’s storm water pumping system.
Then later in the month after congress had concluded, remnants of hurricane Harvey made landfall in Western Louisiana. During the week of Grand Chapter, the weather was mostly pleasant, hot, with some rain. August is typically a slow month for tourism in the city, so especially early in the week, brothers felt like they had much of the town to themselves. It was not hard to get on tours and see performances. Several TCAC brothers took a bayou tour.

Neither Jody nor David participated in the community service initiative, working on the city’s historic cemeteries, but they did hear that one of the COYs found some bones (not an unusual occurrence) while cleaning up around a grave.

Cajun band (note the woman (center) playing the washboard)

Tuesday night both Jody and David (by invitation) attended the National Officers Appreciation Event, which was held in a bowling alley that also featured live music (pictured) and arcade games. This was a fun time for the 2 bus-loads of brothers who attended.

As the sessions kicked off on Wednesday, David had the special opportunity of assisting with the setup of AV equipment and gaining backstage access to the logical operations of a Grand Chapter Congress. In business, it’s all about who you know, and David’s connections to TCAC President, Adam and Central Office’s Jeremy provided David the ‘in’ for helping things run smoothly and managing activities like estimating attendance during different sessions and setting up projectors.

Jody attended the Alumni Forum session and said that it was good. Linda, the National Alumni Development Committee Chair led the discussions that featured ideas from different alumni chapters from around the country. Jody believes the Des Moines – Central Iowa Alumni Chapter needs to develop and hold an annual ‘signature event’ that it will be known for, much like other chapters do. Also interesting were the comments and experiences by one East Coast alumni chapter that was just starting up, so Jody was able to compare Des Moines’ progress as an alumni chapter to one newly-created.

The Wednesday night’s Grand President’s Dance was good, but neither Jody nor David stayed the whole time. With the hotel being located next to such great night life, often options outside of the hotel seemed just as attractive as the fraternity’s scheduled events. This was a comment that they had heard from other alumni regarding previous Grand Chapters held in NOLA… that those were unique because of the fun location. The space for the Grand President’s Dance was not as large as the 2015 GCC in Schaumburg, but did feature some games and plenty of dancing.

Thursday was the honorary initiation. Both Jody and David were impressed by the story of Honorary Initiate, Alden McDonald, president and CEO of Liberty Bank. Mr. McDonald had an amazing story of coming from nothing to being the owner and CEO of a bank, then that bank being devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and McDonald building it back again.

The business sessions for debate and voting by the Grand Chapter kicked off Thursday. David and Jody described these as intense. Going into GCC Jody believed that the Fraternity and its members were generally of a progressive nature, in terms of thinking about the proposed legislation, especially after talking to many Midwestern alums who often shared her views. But she was surprised to find how passionate others were about tradition and keeping things exactly the way they are now. David was mainly concerned that collegiates might be misinformed either about our history, what these traditions actually mean and whether or not they are important to our future, and what the proposed changes would do in practice to the Fraternity.

There was some legislation that easily passed (having to do with clarifying some policies), but all of the other legislation failed (although 1 piece of it only failed by 3 votes). Part of what made passage difficult was the hurdle of achieving 3/4 of the vote (not just a simple majority).

Jody and David commented that the time for discussion did not seem adequate, but both doubted that more discussion would have changed any hearts or minds. Perhaps delegates were locked into their votes even before arriving at Grand Chapter.

More passion was expressed in the elections for National Officers than in the proposed legislation changes. North Central Provincial COY, Brikken gave the intro speech for Grand President Candidate Jodi (North Central PVP). Both David and Jody thought Brikken’s was a very good speech.
They also believed that it wound up being the best public speakers who came away with election victories. And both believed Grand President Candidate Tricia (Northeastern PVP and GP election winner) gave a great speech.

Nolan at the North Central Province Caucus

They also liked Nolan’s speech (pictured) for Jillian (former Des Moines resident, Great Plains RVP, and North Central PVP candidate). David and Jody heard from multiple brothers that the race between Jillian and Cory (North Central RVP and winner of North Central PVP election) was the toughest vote because they like both of the candidates so much.

Jillian at the North Central Province Caucus

This was a unique GCC experience for the Iowans in attendance as well as many of their Minnesotan friends because they all knew candidates Jodi, Cory, and Jillian and were very invested in the campaigning. Campaigns did not heat up until Thursday, but after that the swag was flying and David and Jody commented on the strong ground-game of Jodi’s GP campaign. David thought that the rules for campaigning are in need of updates especially related to the prohibition of campaigning via social media. David also noted his frustration with the fact that current board members had to stay impartial to all candidates.

The Friday night event was actually 2 events. Due to the record or near-record attendance of the 2017 GCC (about 1,200 brothers) there were too many people to fit onto the planned activity. This was a riverboat cruise. So many brothers, including 2 from Iowa attended a ghost tour (by boat) followed by a dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp. Jody believes that one of the Iowa brothers on the haunted boat tour captured photographic evidence of a ghost (a claim that has yet to be fact-checked).

1,000 brothers parade towards the river boat

The majority of GCC attendees who did not go ghost hunting, started with a parade (pictured) from the hotel down Canal Street towards the river, where the river boat (featuring a dinner cruise) was waiting. Both David and Jody commented about how neat the parade was. Large in size, tossing beads, stopping traffic, drawing much attention… it was quite a spectacle.

But Jody and David were less impressed by the river boat, the cruise, and the Southern cooking served on board. There were some good views from the water, especially of the city as the sun was setting and the town was going up in lights, but the boat felt crowded.

Banquet

Saturday night’s banquet was a good one. The evening’s emcee, Burton, kept things light and fun. This was especially helpful to combat the low spirits of many brothers from the Midwest who were hoping Jodi would have been elected GP. David and Jody also commented on how passionate Lifetime Achievement Award winner Claire Sammon Roberts was and the high quality of her speech during the banquet.

Overall both David and Jody had great experiences and great stories from the 2017 GCC. David (an Iowa State grad) had a neat moment finding and connecting with another Iowa State alum he had previously never met who currently lives in Richmond, Virginia. And one of David’s favorite moments came Saturday night out at the bars for one last hurrah with some of his closest friends and having a great time win or lose.

David (center, white t-shirt), Jody (furthermost right)

Jody did have a funny story about Nolan stepping in a very deep mud puddle that had filled a street pothole. 2017 was a very different experience for Jody compared to her only other Grand Chapter (Orlando in 2007). She was quick to point out that both of these were the highest-ever attended GCC’s. For one she was a collegiate and the other she was an alumni with years of volunteer leadership experience. Jody said her favorite part of the trip was Monday. That was before the official congress had begun and a bunch of brothers took the day to go out as a group to explore the city… with no agenda, before any campaign craziness, just being flexible and doing whatever looked fun. It was a long day and a great day.

David and Jody had a great time at the 2017 Grand Chapter Congress in New Orleans.
Mark your calendars for the 52nd GCC: August 14-18, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Fun at Gray’s Lake

Several brothers got together for the Des Moines – Central Iowa Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Pi Summer Picnic at Gray’s Lake Park in Des Moines. The afternoon picnic included grilling, Frisbee, and renting a canoe and stand-up paddle board.

Exciting Summer plans and happenings were discussed. Lots of food was eaten… even by those who didn’t really plan to eat anything at the picnic. The awesome menu included bratwurst (with sauerkraut optional) grilled corn on the cob, potato salad, bbq-flavored chips, chips with Queso dip, baked beans, and cookies.

There was some discussion about the baked beans and how they should be served. Some people thought they should be heated up while others were just thinking about serving at room temperature (it was a warm day at the park, overcast skies and breeze helped keep it pleasant). Answer the poll below about how you like baked beans:

And the store-bought cookies got spiced up a bit after they were heated up on a paper plate put on the grill. All was very tasty.
After lunch, brother headed over to the concession and rental area and took a canoe and stand-up paddle board out onto the lake for an hour. It was a good workout and fun way to enjoy the outdoors.

There are several events coming up. Check out the calendar for the late August happy hour and September happy hour.

Picnics galore

This Saturday August 5 is the Summer Picnic with the Des Moines – Central Iowa Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Pi. Find more information and the latest updates on Facebook.

As pictured above, central Iowa brothers attended an evening of wine and music Thursday July 20 at Jasper Winery. It was a very hot day and the crowds at Jasper were below average, but a good time was had. The winery’s sangria hit the spot to many in attendance and several purchased food from a food truck or snacked on things brought from home. It was Jillian’s last official event with chapter while living in Des Moines.

Many neighborhoods hosted picnics Tuesday, August 1 as part of National Night Out. One local alumni submitted an op-ed to the Des Moines Register’s Better Iowa series encouraging YPs to attend this annual event.

Final bit of news: Adam, the first president of this alumni chapter after it was refranchised in 2011 has gotten married. The wedding was July 29 in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Adam moved away from central Iowa to Minnesota in 2013. Adam is currently the President of the Twin Cities Alumni Chapter.

Cold Temps at 2017 TCAC Pig Roast

Several brothers from the Des Moines – Central Iowa Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Pi, made the annual pilgrimage to Lakeville, Minnesota (just south of the Twin Cities) for the TCAC pig roast.

The Twin Cities Alumni Chapter has hosted an annual summer pig roast going back many years in history. Recently the chapter has hosted this picnic for 6 years running.
Last week’s pig roast was a cold one. Temperatures were in the 50s and 60s with sprinkles on and off. Brothers kept warm with blankets and socialization under the shelter.
Excellent as usual, the pork hit the spot with the approximately 50-60 alumni and collegiate brothers in attendance.

Of special note was the attendance of Past Grand President, Mark Chiacchiari (of Ohio). Travel worked out that Mark and his family could stop by the picnic on their way home from a family vacation in California.

Thank you, TCAC for inviting Des Moines brothers to another great event!

Summer Events Planned at Annual Meeting

The Des Moines – Central Iowa Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Pi held its annual meeting June 15. Much business was conducted at the Legends American Grill downtown. But much socializing and enjoyment also occured over beers and food. Officers for the coming fiscal year were elected, chapter operations and goals were discussed, and much debate was had regarding legislation to be voted on at the upcoming Grand Chapter Congress.

Several Summer events were planned around central Iowa. Be sure to check the calendar page of this weblog for info on these events as well as links to Facebook events.

Sushi, DSMUSA, Drake’s impact on central Iowa

The Des Moines – Central Iowa Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Pi held its monthly happy Hour Wednesday May 17 at Sakari on Ingersoll.

Attendance was slightly higher than average with 9 alumni brothers from around central Iowa attending the social event. There was much discussion about what is the best sushi, how to order sushi, how to eat sushi, and ‘what is dynamite shrimp?’ The answer may still be unknown but it is really good! It was a fun time with discussion of summer travel plans, recent injuries, future alumni chapter event ideas, and company re-branding.

3 alumni chapter members, who all happen to be women, and their names each start with the letter “J” have birthdays within a week of each other. So we were lucky enough to have some great cake at the happy hour. An excellent time was had by all in attendance.

Stay tuned for info on the June annual meeting.

Drake University made news last week, releasing information on the school’s economic impact on central Iowa. Many of the stats were impressive including:
Drake’s status as a “brain gain” institution—a net importer of students and skilled employees—boosts the regional economy by more than $2 billion.
Drake supports 3,369 jobs and $187.5 million in workers’ earnings annually through its day-to-day operations, construction projects, and spending by students and visitors.
The University’s broad range of academic, recruitment, and athletic programming attracts thousands of out-of-town visitors who spend $14.9 million and directly or indirectly contribute to $26.7 million in economic output for the region.

Replacing the seizedesmoines.com website and the CarpeDM slogan, The Greater Des Moines Partnership is pleased to share a new regional identifier: DSM USA. DSM USA is a bold statement to the world: This is a welcoming, diverse and vibrant community with affordable and accessible amenities for residents and businesses. This regional identifier is the result of significant quantitative and qualitative research, and its launch coincides with the launch a new website to market the Greater Des Moines (DSM): DSMpartnership.com.