Virtual Convention 2020 FAQs
What is Convention?
Gamma Phi Beta hosts an international Convention biennially (every other year on even numbered years). The theme of our 79th Convention is Our Oasis. This year is different as this is our first virtual Convention! Join us online and help us make groundbreaking history!
Who should attend Convention and why should I tune in?
Anyone who loves Gamma Phi Beta is invited to join our virtual forum as we conduct Sorority business. Collegiate and alumnae chapter officers, advisors, volunteers and members who simply want to connect to the Sorority virtually are all welcome. Every collegiate chapter is expected to register a delegate and alternate delegate. Each alumnae chapter is encouraged to register a delegate and an alternate delegate.
Why was Convention 2020 in Palm Springs, California, moved to an online virtual experience?
Due to the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, International Council voted to make Convention 2020 a virtual experience. This decision was not an easy one, but after reviewing The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines as well as state and regional restrictions, it was clear that executing an in-person event was impossible. Transitioning to an online format will allow us to conduct Sorority business while prioritizing the health and safety of our attendees.
Were other options considered while making this decision?
Considering the ever-evolving situation and our contractual obligations to our convention hotel, there were a variety of alternate convention plans presented to International Council. These ideas included but were not limited to: limiting attendance, postponing convention, scaling back the convention schedule and incorporating and/or moving to a virtual platform. After careful consideration, it was decided a virtual Convention experience was the best option to protect the health and safety of our members and staff.
Is International Council authorized to change the location of a convention?
Yes, our Bylaws state: “Conventions of the Sorority shall be held biennially in the even numbered years on dates and at a place to be determined by International Council.” Bylaws Article IX, Section 1.b. Pursuant to Gamma Phi Beta Bylaws, International Council has the discretion to set the dates and place of Convention. This could include that the location be on a virtual platform.
If public gathering restrictions are lifted before the original Convention dates, will this decision be re-considered?
Unfortunately, we will not be able to move back to an in-person event in Palm Springs, California. Even if current restrictions were lifted and society returned to operating as we knew it all planning and execution need to be focused on holding a virtual event to best serve the interests of the Sorority.
Has Gamma Phi Beta ever postponed, canceled or changed a Convention before?
Yes, Gamma Phi Beta has several historical precedents of changing or canceling Convention.
- Convention 1923 was postponed until 1924, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Sorority.
- Convention 1926 was scheduled to be held in Virginia; however, circumstances forced a change of plans and postponement of Convention. Grand President Grace Howard Smith became ill and resigned in spring 1926, Resulting in Convention being rescheduled for June 1927, on Mackinac Island, Michigan.
- Convention 1933 was postponed to summer 1934, due to the Great Depression.
- Both Convention 1942 and 1944 were both canceled, and we did not have another until 1946, due to WWII. The National Panhellenic Conference’s (NPC) agreement to defer conventions was quickly followed by a government ban on conventions of any kind.
Will the decision for Convention 2020 impact future conventions?
Not at this time. The dates and location for Convention 2022 will be announced on June 27th!
How do I register for Convention?
You may register securely online by clicking here. Please do not register for other people; only register for yourself. If you need help with your registration, please e-mail Conference and Meeting Manager Sara Chojnacki or call her at 303.799.1874 ext. 363.
How do I know I’ve completed my registration for Convention?
You will receive a confirmation code once you have submitted all registration information. If you don’t see it in your inbox, please check your spam or junk folders. If you did not receive a confirmation code, please contact Conference and Meeting Manager Sara Chojnacki.
My chapter applied for a Convention scholarship, when will we be notified?
All scholarship applications were due by March 16, 2020. Those that applied will be contacted with more information by May 15, 2020.
I already booked airfare and hotel room for Palm Springs. What do I do?
You are responsible for canceling any airfare to Palm Springs. All hotel reservations booked in the Gamma Phi Beta hotel block will be automatically canceled and you will receive an email letting you know when that is complete. Gamma Phi Beta is not responsible for any refunds or cancelations.
I registered to attend Convention in Palm Springs. How will my registration refund be issued?
Any remaining funds from your initial Convention registration will be returned by the original method that you paid. Please allow up to a week for funds to be returned to your credit card. If you issued a check to Gamma Phi Beta, please allow several weeks for a refund check to be issue. If your chapter issued a check for multiple registrants, you may be contacted with further instructions.
What is the schedule for virtual Convention?
The tentative schedule for Convention is now posted but is subject to change as we continue to work on the new virtual program. You can find the schedule here.
How can we still conduct business if we are not all together in-person?
While we will not physically be together, a virtual platform will allow us to be all together to conduct the necessary Sorority business. Gamma Phi Beta Bylaws provides flexibility for electronic or remote voting when International Council determines that it is necessary. Bylaws Article IX, Section 4.
How will International Council be elected and installed?
Delegates will be able to participate in elections virtually and will be provided the tools to cast their votes even while remote. Once the votes are tabulated, the 2020-22 International Council will be announced and installed virtually through our online platform.
How will the 2020-22 Nominating Committee be elected and installed?
Delegates will be able to participate in elections virtually and will be provided the tools to cast their votes even while remote. Once the votes are tabulated, the 2020-22 Nominating Committee will be announced.
How will chapters, alumnae and individuals receive their awards?
You will not want to miss our virtual awards ceremony. We will be announcing our award winners at this time and would love for you all to join us to celebrate the winners virtually. All physical awards will be mailed to the recipients in July 2020. The date and time for this event are still being decided and will be announced soon.
How will Bylaws be voted on at Convention?
We are still working through the logistics on how we plan to conduct the Bylaws virtually. Check back here for more details to come.
This is my first Convention, what else do I need to know?
This virtual Convention is a first for us all! If you want to tune into this historical business session, you must be registered in order to receive access.
Will attending Virtual Convention still count towards the number of Conventions I have attended?
Yes, Virtual Convention will still count towards attending a Convention and you can add it to your number for future Confirmed Conventioneers parade participation.
Are hats, bags, t-shirts and pins available for purchase?
Hats and bags will no longer be offered as a part of the Virtual Convention experience. However, you will be able to purchase t-shirts and pins during your registration to mark this historic occasion.
None of my questions are addressed here. Who do I contact?
If you haven’t found an answer in the information provided, please contact Director of Conferences and Meetings Page Adams at 303.799.1874 ext. 322.
Virtual Convention Tips
- Only delegates may bring a motion to the floor or vote, but any member can be recognized to voice her opinion during discussion.
- Be aware of your surroundings; limit visual clutter or distractions in your space.
- Speak clearly and audibly when contributing to discussion.
- Raise your hand or use chat box to show your desire to speak up.
- You may use your smartphone or tablet for viewing Convention related materials or texting Convention business related questions/comments only.
- Stay seated and present during meeting times.
- Make sure you have a good internet connection and a quiet space to focus and participate in the business session.
- Mute your microphone to eliminate unnecessary background noise.
- Be on time – Convention runs on a tight schedule.