I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about attending the 2012 Omicron Delta Kappa National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. this past summer. I, like probably every conference attendee, was intimidated about how I would fit in with some the best and brightest students in the United States. The ODK conference was replete with the future innovators, scholars and leaders who will make a difference in the world for decades to come. Fortunately, I can report that the 2012 ODK National Conference was an engaging, motivating event that showcased the quality of leadership that ODK as an organization embodies and fosters.
In all, more than 200 delegates from almost 30 states attended the conference. The national convention is required every two years in order to ratify any changes that the National Board of ODK has approved. ODK National President Betsy Holloway reported that ODK initiated 15 new circles, and 2800 new members. These increases represent the largest growth in the organization’s history. As well, ODK set a new record in fundraising for scholarships for student members, and announced a new partnership with Nationwide Insurance.
Most exciting, the national branding initiative was announced. In the past, national guidance on official representation of the ODK logo has been undefined. The new logo, seen below, is sleek, simple and dignified. We are looking forward to implementing the new logo anywhere we can.
Besides the new initiatives and announcements, the greatest benefit of attending the conference was the opportunity to share the challenges that our respective circles face. Participation, fundraising, and member selection are some of the common challenges for circles across the country. It was invaluable to hear how others have implemented creative and innovative solutions to these challenges. This experience will allow the Oglethorpe Circle of ODK to improve our effectiveness and make our circle even more vital to the leadership culture on campus.
The conference concluded with a celebratory awards dinner that rewarded those members who had made inspiring contributions to their respective communities and ODK at large. This year’s recipient of the Laurel Crowned Circle Award was Col. Ralph Hauenstein who was given the award on the eve of his 100th birthday. Col. Hauenstein served his nation in the European theater under General Dwight Eisenhower as head of intelligence. His service to ODK and his nation was rousing and exemplifies the values of our organization.
For those who are unfamiliar with our organization, ODK is the only national leadership honor society in the United States that focuses specifically on leadership. Induction into the ODK circle is considered one of the highest honors that a student can attain while at Oglethorpe University. ODK is highly selective and only the top 35 percent of students based on GPA are permitted to compete for membership. ODK inducts only one to three percent of the student body per academic year. Initiates are drawn from all pillars of campus life according to the ODK charter; those pillars are scholarship, athletics, campus and community service, journalism, and creative and performing arts. If you are interested in ODK membership feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.