–This post was written by Narayan Das Khatri, Council of Student Members representative for Region 7.–
Region 7 headed to central Texas for the 2013 Regional Summit, March 1-3. The annual meeting was hosted by the Texas State University – San Marcos chapter. Texas State University – San Marcos is the alma-mater of a true Texan president, Lyndon B Johnson and the campus is a beautiful site as it sits on hilly Texas grounds where you can overlook most of the city.
The Summit was full of fun with 83 delegates joining from Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. We had the opportunity to meet and greet each other as most of us were meeting for the first time. We were happy to have Sareena Helton (Associate Director of US Region 7) and Holly McCaleb (Director of US University Relations) join us for the weekend.
The Summit started on Friday at 3:00 p.m. with registration in the evening and the Advisor Reception. Then the Opening Ceremony started with a welcome address and wonderful introduction of the host committee by the chair of planning committee, Rebecca Saathoff. We than had a fabulous key note address from Whitney Francis, who is Global Community Management Lead for Google Local. She discussed the importance of branding yourself and how to do it. All the members then participated in an ice-breaker which involved string, marshmallows and team building. All the members then headed to Sunset Bowling Lanes for to have some fun and socialize with each other. Chapters also had the opportunity to exchange t-shirts with each other. Such fun!
Day 2 started with morning breakfast at the Embassy Suites hotel. Then we carpooled from the hotel to the university campus. There we had three sessions of amazing workshops on wide range of topics such as, GK 101, Poking the Bear, How to Listen so People Will Talk etc. These workshops provided great insight into the realms of leadership, collaboration, team spirit, participation and most importantly, service. We then enjoyed lunch at the university cafeteria. The last workshop of the day was a roundtable conference for chapter members, presidents, advisors & officers. Conversations were constructive and it was a great opportunity for chapter’s to share ideas and brainstorm together. We all learned a lot of valuable information at the workshops that we can bring back to our chapter members.
At the end of our busy day, it was time for the Closing Banquet, which was held at the Embassy Suites with everyone in their classy attire. We were honored to have former mayor of San Marcos, Susan Narvaiz, as our keynote speaker. She gave a moving address regarding community service and how it personally shaped her career. After dinner, we had door prizes and a group photo, not to mention countless photos taken in small groups with some funny and not-so-funny poses. It was indeed a fun evening.
Prior to Summit, the delegates collected items from their chapters to donate to the Southside Community Center of San Marcos. Collectively, the region donated 5 boxes full of hygiene products, blankets, clothing and other essentials the shelter requested. In addition to the efforts for the Southside Community Center the region also collaborated with the San Marcos Green Belt Alliance to clean and preserve trails in the San Marcos area.
To wrap up the weekend, everyone had the option of a Sunday activity. Many members took a river boat cruise, some headed home, while others joined for the additional service project with San Marcos Green Belt Alliance.
Overall, the Summit was a great opportunity to get together and learn; it was a great success. For this, I would like to thank all the delegates for being there and make it what it came out to be. A special thanks goes to Region 7 Associate Director, Sareena Helton, who put so much effort into this and was kind enough to have one-on-one meeting with all the chapters on all three days of Summit.
Last, but not least, many thanks to the host chapter of Texas State University – San Marcos for such a wonderful hospitality and without their dedicated efforts it would have never happened.