Under the grand auspices of The Acacia Fraternity and the Acacia Fraternity Foundation, the 8th Biennial Acacia Leadership Academy successfully was launched yesterday July 29th,2009 at the Acacia House on the campus of Indiana University. More than 100+ delegates from different chapters and colonies from across the United States and Canada converged onto the grounds of Acacia here in Bloomington, Indiana. This event gives these young minds the opportunity to unearth the essential skills needed for leadership and to further understand and develop the values of the Acacia Fraternity.
The event was inaugurated at 3:45 pm in the Dining Hall of the Acacia House where Darold Larson, Executive Director of the Acacia Fraternity opened the event by welcoming the delegates and giving them an overview of the various events that were to be coming throughout the week. This was followed by a brief introduction by David Allen, President of Acacia Fraternity who also welcomed the students. As it was decided to operate the fraternity under one chapter, Keith Bushey, Assistant Executive Director of Acacia Fraternity divided the delegates into four different groups. Each of these groups would nominate officers for the following positions:
Immediately after dinner, the delegates assembled back in the Dining Hall, where the nominees for all these positions were given the opportunity to speak to audience and attempt to convince why they should be chosen for their respective position. Following that, all the positions were put to a vote and the individuals were chosen for the respective positions on the Executive Board of the Acacia Leadership Academy. The opening night was concluded with all the delegates enjoying a few good games of bowling at the Classic Lanes Bowling Alley.
Day 2 began at 7:30 am in the morning with the delegates having breakfast with the staff and the rest of the attendees at the Acacia House. Following that, there was a formal inauguaration for the Acacia Leadership Academy under the reins of its Venerable Dean, Tyler Heil from Ohio University Chapter. Secretary Goutham Ramdas from the Saint Cloud State chapter presented the Roll Call for all the chapters attending the event. Darold Larson and Treasurer Brian T Biddle from the Saint Cloud State Chapter presented the budget that was put forward for the Acacia Leadership Academy. This was followed by Officer reports from the different members of the Executive Board of ALA. Andrew Kaiser, a pledge from the Missouri Chapter will be initiated in this year's ALA at the Masonic Lodge. Preparations are currently underway.
After the formal opening, delegates were given the opportunity to listen to speaker David Westol from Limberlost Consulting on "23 Ways to Detect Hazing", as hazing was one of the key topics being addressed at this year's Acacia Leadership Academy. David Westol is an alumnus of Michigan State University and the Detroit College of Law. Mr. Westol has been actively involved in the Greek community for the last 40 years, with one of his college positions being the Theta Chi fraternity's recruitment chairman. In 1980 he served as a National Vice President for the national board of his fraternity. He is currently the owner and CEO of Limberlost Consulting in Carmel, Indiana. His presentation today covered 23 techniques that can be used by not just Acacia chapters, but fraternities and sororities all over the country, to detect hazing within its confines. Some of these techniques also include emphasis upon pledge class unity, window coverings around chapter house, collecting cell phones etc. He emphasized that the purpose of a fraternal life was to enlighten a student through practices of integrity and honor, not through acts of physical or mental aggression a.k.a hazing. Following his presentation, the delegates from University of Illinois presented a brief panel on hazing. This panel was particularly enlightening especially because of the presence of one of their former alumni. They brifely spoke about how they ran into issues that came about because of hazing previously. The delegates then broke off for lunch and had a chance to interact with some of the staff members and other delegates from across the country. Acacia apparel has been on sale all day today for delegates to purchase too.
Right after lunch, everyone convened back into the Dining room and Mr.Westol was back again this time to take everyone through a potential (yet fictional) situation of what can happen when a pledge is put through extreme hazing, one which can lead to death. The impeccable detail from Mr.Westol's lecture gave the delegates a deep insight into the mindset of that of a pledge when he/she is being subject to hazing and also that of those who conduct the hazing especially when it goes awfully wrong. Dave Westol went on to state that nothing ever good comes out of hazing and if active members thought that it was something fun to do, then they were very mistaken. He encouraged the delegates to perform better by stating " You have the principles and values in place as an Acacian. Now, we need young men to say and do what they promised to say and do". Truly his words of wisdom were a great eye-opener to a lot of students who gathere here at ALA.
Currently, all delegates are involved in the Acacia Olympics. Stay tuned to this blog to hear more as we bring you live updates from the 2009 Acacia Leadership Academy here in Bloomington, Indiana !!