Monday, November 1, 2010

People join people

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a conference in Houghton, Michigan.
I have to admit, I didn't really want to go at first.  I was missing the Iowa-Wisconsin football game, and I had to leave on Thursday and therefore miss two days of class and had to work really hard to get ahead on homework before I left.  And it was a really long drive.  And I do not like sitting in cars or driving by myself (even though I only had to go to Minneapolis and back by myself).  But alas, I decided to go and it turned out to be a good decision after all.
The conference was the regional conference for Theta Tau, the professional engineering fraternity I am involved with.  Now usually these conferences are fairly boring, with a few break out sessions, a campus tour, and a pointless building game.  This one, however, turned out to be a little different.  This time there was an outside speaker brought in from a company called Phired Up which specializes in recruitment services for membership organizations especially Greek organizations.  The presentation was mostly about how to better recruit better members using dynamic recruitment.  I learned some interesting stuff, but that's not the point of this blog.  One of the things that Vince (our presenter) told us that day was, "People don't join organizations, people join people."  He then asked the group to think back to when we joined Theta Tau and think about the one person who really brought us in.
The name I thought of was Adam Smith.
Now I have no idea if Adam will ever read this post, but rest assured I've already told him that he was the reason I joined.
So let me tell you the story.  In August 2008, I moved to Iowa City and was to start my first semester at the University of Iowa (I was a transfer student).  I knew some people from high school going to school there but I didn't really know any engineers.  And boy was I scared and nervous.  I had received a mailing about Theta Tau earlier that summer and decided to go to an event in an effort to meet some people and partly because Matt told me girls couldn't join fraternities, so I set out to prove him wrong.  Not like me at all...okay just kidding.
Anyways, I met Adam at the first event I went to a speed meeting type of event. I did talk to him a little that evening but it's the next event that sticks out in my mind.  On Saturday morning before the first football game, a tailgate (non-alcoholic) was planned at the engineering building as a rush event for Theta Tau. I went to this event after much debate.  I had no one to go the game with and it's possible that I spent the previous night crying by myself because I thought I was never going to meet anyone.  Back on topic, I went to the event and had a good time and found out that Adam and his then girlfriend, now fiance, Sam, were going to the game too.  So I went along with them.  When I got over to the game, I realized that I had pulled my barcode of my ticket.  Adam gave me his number and I walked all the way home to get the rest of my ticket and came back.
When I finally arrived back at Kinnick, I called Adam and proceeded to try and find him.  And oh my, I was sooooo lost.  I had been to Kinnick a few times before, but I was by no means familiar with it.  And Adam, bless his heart stayed on the phone with me.  The crowd was so loud at times, we couldn't hear each other. But he stayed on the phone and patiently explained where he was to a very confused me.  I did eventually find him and sat by them the rest of the game and cheered.  And it was a good day.
I know this probably doesn't sound like much.  But when I think about how easy it would have been for him to just hang out the phone when the crowd got loud or to never answer my call at all, it becomes a bigger deal.  I can't say whether or not I would have still joined Theta Tau if it wasn't for that one day, but I can say that after Adam did that for me, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.
I didn't realize then what a big part of my life it would become either.
People don't join organizations, people join people.
Thanks Adam.

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Also coming up soon:  Why do I still put time into Theta Tau?
I am also trying to figure out how personal I want to make this blog and what I should focus on.  Right now, I just seem to talk about various things going on in my life and I will probably continue to do that.  I am considering delving more into the personal side of my life.  Thoughts from any of the 3 bloggy friends who read this?
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