Over the weekend, the East Texas Region hosted its annual conference at the University of Houston-Downtown. The entities in the region are Texas A&M University (Delta Chapter), Sam Houston State University (Eta Chapter), University of Houston (Pi Chapter), Texas Southern University (Alpha Rho Chapter), University of Houston-Downtown (Beta Sigma Chapter), Stephen F. Austin University (Colony) and Prarie View A&M University (Colony).
On Friday, the conference began with opening ceremony followed by Omega Ceremony to remember the brothers that have passed away. Regional Director Frank Villalta spoke on the importance of the ceremony.
“I think it’s a nationwide thing we should always pay our respects to our bros that enter Omega Chapter,” Frank said. “Those brothers will never be forgotten and especially with the new bros, they start seeing people enter Omega Chapter from their own entity so I think it’s important for brothers to know that.”
On Saturday, the meetings began with state of the fraternity address led by National President Tony Pagliocco. Several other members of the National Executive Council were also in attendance to help answer questions. One notable presentation was on MyODPhi, an internal portal for brothers, by VP of Technology Jesus Apodaca.
Before the workshops started, Frank delivered the state of the region address along with what to expect from the workshops. “The biggest thing we wanted to focus on was branding ourselves, within the city and with each entity,” Frank said. “As a region, we have to be responsible for each other.”
Many of the workshops included topics on Title IX, branding, academics, programming and finance. Along with one on one meetings with each entity, the workshops included opportunities for chapter presidents to network with each other. Eta Chapter President Eric Hernandez said the president workshop was a great eye opener especially as a first time attendee.
“Whenever you think you can lead a chapter, based on what you know, I realized there’s a lot more to it”, he said. “It was good experience for us to interchange ideas and weigh solutions. Another thing that was really surprising to me is us, as a whole region, coming together to do this (hold regional conference) especially with the presidents. It’s a really cool way to network as a region.”
Saturday night was the banquet and UHD Greek Life Coordinator Jose Vazquez served as the keynote speaker. Vazquez’s speech centered on “leading from the heart” and keeping the brotherhood strong.
“You got to make sure that is for you and no for anyone outside the brotherhood,” Vazques said. “What you have is something sacred so don’t share that with just anybody.”
The conference wrapped up with an awards ceremony that recognized entities and entity leaders who excelled in academics, community service, and entity operations. Here are the awards:
Highest GPA: Prarie View Colony
Most Service Hours: Joshua Valentin
Brother’s Keeper: Eric Rodriguez
Social Butterfly Award: Eta Chapter
Director of the Year – Kenny Scott
Most Improved Entity – SFA Colony
President of the Year – Andres Jaimes
Entity of the Year- Beta Sigma Chapter
The next East Texas regional conference will be announced at a later date.