More than 500 brothers, from undergraduates to alumni, descended upon Lubbock, Texas last month for the brotherhood’s 25th anniversary national convention. The theme of the conference was “Celebrating 25 Years of Growth, Service, and Excellence: Entering the Silver Era” and focused on celebrating the past 25 years of rich history, tradition, and brotherhood.
The convention was held at the Holiday Inn Lubbock Hotel and Towers and the campus of Texas Tech University, home to the Alpha Chapter. Every chapter and colony was represented during this momentous occasion.
National founders Joe Cereceres, Eugene Dominguez, Juan Barraza, and charter line members Jorge Rodriguez, Albert Navarro, and Abel Mendoza were the spotlight of the conference. The founders and charter line hosted an informative panel in which they discussed the inception of the brotherhood and why they saw a need for it at Texas Tech.
For many brothers, this was the highlight of the convention, getting to hear from a primary source about the beginnings of the fraternity and getting to meet the men who created the organization that all brothers have sworn their lives to and which has given them so much.
“National convention was a great experience and reaffirmed to me why I even pledged in the first place. This brotherhood is so strong that I really am happy about the life decision I made” said Fall 2008 Texas A&M Kingsville initiate Amo Vera.
Aside from the founders panel and the usual business meetings, brothers also had a chance to hear an inspiring and uplifting address by National CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) CEO Michael Piraino. Piraino challenged all brothers and chapters to stay true to their commitment to selfless service, to be leaders and stand up for those in need.
“Our partnership with CASA is very important and it really goes in line with the essence of the brotherhood and principles we pledged to uphold. Our commitment to service isn’t taken lightly and isn’t something we just say because its popular; we were founded at Tech because our founders saw a need- a need for a support group for Latino men and men of color, a need for service in the minority community” said Delta Chapter Fall 2006 initiate Arnulfo Gonzalez.
For those brothers who attended their first convention ever, the feeling of camaraderie and brotherhood was instantly felt. Brother Aaron Escajeda from the Beta Chapter at the University of Texas at El Paso said that he felt like he was at a family reunion.
Three colonies received chapter status at the Silver Gala banquet which ended the 3 day long celebration. University of Texas San Antonio is now Alpha Delta chapter again. University of Wisconsin- Oskosh became Alpha Omega chapter, Northeastern Illinois University became Beta Alpha, and Califonia State- Dominguez Hills became Beta Beta chapter.
For one brother, Denny Esquivel, it was a double celebration as his colony was granted chapter status and he was awarded with the prestigious Knight of the Roundtable Award.
“This national convention was definitely one to remember. My entity got to see their hard work pay off by earning chapter status and becoming Beta Alpha and it was a humbling experience to receive the Knight of the Roundtable Award” said Esquivel, a Spring 2010 founder at the Beta Alpha chapter at NEIU.
All in all, this convention was one for the books and one that all brothers who were blessed to attend will remember for the rest of their lives. The instant bond with brothers they had never met in person, the brotherhood, the business, and the humbling experience to hear from the founding line and the charter line are some of the most memorable aspects which brothers noted.
The Silver Era Gala closed out the weekend with an awards ceremony and the most solemn part of the evening, the Omega Chapter Memorial Ceremony.
“I only knew one of the brothers being honored in the Omega Chapter Memorial but it was unreal how solemn, how emotional the whole thing was. Just knowing that the brothers we were honoring, those who had passed away and had been born into new life were brothers who had sworn themselves to the principles and mission of our brotherhood and to know that they aren’t with us anymore, it was pretty heartbreaking” said Bryan Parra, Fall 2011 initiate at Delta Chapter.
Brothers are already saving their money for the next national meeting which will tentatively take place in January of 2013. The location has not been set yet but the NEC, BOD, and NAA expect it to be as successful and as memorable as the 25th Anniversary National Convention.