Hello, my name is Fedjyni Gaspard, and I am a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. I was former chapter president of the Sigma Iota chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc and the current president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council at Florida Atlantic University. Recently I attended and graduated from the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute conference. And I am going to share with you what I have gained from this amazing experience.
UIFI is the premier leadership development experience for fraternity and sorority members. I first heard about UIFI last year, when one of the ladies from the Pan-Hellenic Association was speaking about her experience. She spoke so highly of her experience and how she felt inspired to bring back what she has learned, not only in her chapter but the fraternity and sorority life community. So when, the time came around to begin applying for UIFI this year, my fraternity and sorority life advisor encouraged me to apply for the scholarship in order to attend the conference. I applied for the scholarship and a few weeks later, I received an email confirming that I had received the scholarship, I was ecstatic! As I began to prepare for my trip to Indiana, I was beginning to feel a little nervous. I started to think about the fact that I would be traveling alone, and staying with a group of people that I knew nothing about for a week. However that changed, the moment I walked into the house.
I attended UIFI session 3, and was apart of the fabulous chapter 5. A few people and I arrived the night before the conference actually began, so we had the chance to get to know each other and speak about our chapters back home. However, once the conference began, it was breathe taking from the very first day. From day 1 UIFI was intense. We all began speaking about the problems we faced as leaders in our chapter and our Greek community on campus. I almost found it hard to believe that even with all these different organizations and councils we all still had the same type of problems. Throughout the conference we got into in depth conversations about how fraternity and sorority leaders live their ritual. We also had many conversations about hazing and how this issue is causing the community to question our relevance, especially on college campuses. Our sessions were split up into small and large group discussions. I mostly enjoyed our small group discussions because we all had a chance to discuss our problems in detail and also come up with different solutions. Throughout those five days it was scary how open we all became within our chapters and also with other attendee’s of that session. We laughed, we cried, and learned a lot about each other; strengths and weaknesses.
Something that I learned from UIFI that I want to share is the importance of our organizations is and the things that we are constantly doing to destroy the value of them. I want everyone to realize that there have been some conversations about whether our organizations are still “relevant”? And we know they are, but we have to prove to the world why.
One thing that I wish to change in the fraternity and sorority life community is the way we live our lives on a day to day basis. I hope that the way our community live their daily lives reflects the way the values and rituals. I want to inspire the community to lead by example.
After attending UIFI I feel the same way I felt as I felt when aspiring to join my organization and the way I felt when I made the pledge to commit to serving my organization for a lifetime. I am re-inspired and committing to changing my chapter around for the better. As a graduate of UIFI I made a promise to be the change that I want to see in my chapter and I will do everything in power to accomplish that promise. I made a promise to Do More and Be More.