If you’ve never been to Convention before, you might be wondering what kind of business gets accomplished there. Keep reading to understand how the meetings unfold!
Our biennial Convention includes three formal Business Meetings where Official Delegates receive policy and program updates from National Officers and members of International Office staff, vote to update or amend the Constitution & Bylaws and other policies, and elect National Council for the next biennium.
The official Convention body is composed of these delegates: National Council members, former National Presidents, five officers of the ZTA Foundation, four officers of the ZTA Fraternity Housing Corporation, Province Presidents, District Presidents, chairs of Standing Committees, the Executive Director, former National Presidents (provided the former National President does not have another voting role) and an Official Delegate from each collegiate and alumnae chapter present.
Convention Business Meetings include formality and tradition. At the opening meeting, all of the Official Delegates and National Officers process into the meeting room and sit in assigned seats with chairback covers that indicate their chapter or office. National Council members sit at an elevated table facing the Convention body. Alternate Delegates and visitors sit in seats behind the official delegation.
Also at the opening meeting, Alternate Delegates and other visitors participate in the parade of flags (Who doesn’t love parades?), beginning with the Zeta Tau Alpha flag, usually carried by a member of Alpha Chapter, the American and Canadian flags, and the flags of all chartered collegiate chapters. This meeting also includes a welcome from a collegian from a nearby chapter; a response from a collegian chosen by National Council; an invocation; and the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner,” “O Canada” and The Creed of Zeta Tau Alpha.
Official Delegates and flag bearers participate in a rehearsal the night before the opening Business Meeting, where they learn all they need to know about the opening processional.
The Secretary-Treasurer calls roll at each meeting. During the first meeting, each collegiate and alumnae chapter delegate stands as the Secretary-Treasurer calls their chapter name. This takes a while, but it’s a lovely tradition. At the second and third meetings, the Province and District Presidents indicate the number of delegates present in their group to make roll call shorter.
The National President presides over the Business Meetings, which follow Parliamentary Procedure. A licensed parliamentarian sits at the head table with National Council and a stenographer keeps minutes of all the proceedings. Most voting is done by voice (ayes and nays) but delegates may call for a paper ballot counted by the Teller Committee.
Before Convention, National Council appoints registered collegians to serve as guards and pages. Guards make sure everyone who enters the meeting room has a name tag indicating that they are members. Pages escort speakers from their seats to the stage.
The final meeting includes the adoption of the Nominating Committee report, election of National Council and the Installation of National Council Service. By tradition, the former National Presidents conduct this service. No photographs are allowed during the service, but National Council takes time after the close of the meeting to pose for photos.
So there you have it. Now that you have an idea of the overall format, you’ll know what to expect when Convention gets here!