Convention is held every two years during the even-numbered years. One delegate from each alumnae and collegiate chapter in good standing and in attendance at Convention make up the legislative (voting) body of the Sorority. They elect the members of International Council and the Nominating Committee for the next biennium. They vote on amendments to the International Bylaws and on Convention resolutions. International Council is the executive body of the Sorority. It is responsible for the governance of the Sorority and works within the framework of the Gamma Phi Beta Bylaws. All Gamma Phi Betas are invited to attend Convention, but only the elected delegate from each collegiate and alumnae chapter in good standing may vote.
The Business Session begins with a procession of collegiate chapter flags carried by the delegate of each collegiate chapter. Each flag has the Greek-letter name of the chapter in its school colors. All collegiate delegates will be informed prior to Convention regarding the logistics of carrying their chapter flag. As each chapter flag is carried in, it is tradition for all members of that chapter to stand. A Gamma Phi Beta flag, representing the Sorority’s closed chapters, is also carried in and those members stand in honor of their chapter as well.
All delegates will have an assigned seat in the front of the room in Greek-alpha order for collegiate chapters and state, then city, order for alumnae chapters. Chapters that are not in good standing will be seated as the end of the delegate section, as they will not have the privilege to vote on Convention business.
Prior to Convention, proposed international Bylaws amendments and the slates for International Council and the Nominating Committee for the next biennium are sent to each alumnae and collegiate chapter. It is very important that these are shared with the chapter and discussed. As the representative for the chapter, the delegate should receive direction from the chapter on how to vote on issues sent in these mailings, but she should have the freedom to base her vote on what she hears and learns during discussion at Convention.
During the Business Sessions, any member may speak, but only delegates can make motions and vote.
Each alumnae and collegiate chapter should prepare in advance for Convention by:
- Budgeting adequate funds to send at least one delegate and one alternate delegate (and for collegiate chapters, the chapter advisor, if possible).
- Electing a delegate and alternate delegate to represent the chapter in the Convention body, who will vote in the chapter’s best interest.
- Attaining good standing in the current fiscal year 30 days prior to Convention. (The chapter delegate must represent a chapter in good standing in order to be able to vote). Good standing means that at least 30 days prior to Convention, chapters must have paid all financial obligations and submitted all required reports to International Headquarters. (For a complete list of good standing requirements, refer to the Good Standing page in the Alumnae President’s Book or Collegiate Operations Manual. To track good standing refer to the Chapter Good Standing Report in Beta Base.)
Alumnae Chapter Delegates
Alumnae chapters are encouraged to elect and send one delegate and one alternate delegate. No international volunteer leaders (elected or appointed), or alumna member of the Nominating Committee may serve as an alumnae chapter delegate or alternate. All alumnae delegates and alternates must also be in financial good standing (having paid their international alumnae dues of $25 in the Convention fiscal year, or be Life Loyal). Alumnae chapters should budget for all, or as much as possible, of their delegate's and alternate delegate’s expenses.
Collegiate Chapter Delegates
Each collegiate chapter is required to elect and send one delegate and is encouraged to send one alternate delegate, in addition to other chapter members as general participants. The delegate and alternate delegate must be members in good standing. The collegiate chapter's president usually serves as her chapter's delegate, but she must still be formally elected to serve in this role. If the president cannot attend Convention, the chapter should elect another officer or member to serve as the delegate.
While at Convention, delegates have certain responsibilities.
- All delegates and alternate delegates must check-in at the credentials table at Convention prior to the opening Business Session.
- Alumnae and collegiate delegates and alternate delegates are expected to attend all Convention activities.
- During the Business Sessions, delegates will sit in their assigned seats, while alternate delegates and visitors will sit in the visitors' section. A fun tradition is for the collegiate delegate to sign her name in the chapter's autograph book.
- All delegates (and all Convention attendees) must abide by the Convention rules as adopted at Convention. The sergeant-at-arms at Convention ensures all are complying with these rules.
- The delegate should listen carefully to all discussion and then vote as she sees best, based on her chapter's wishes, as well as what she learns at Convention.
- At leadership training workshops, delegates should take notes, pick up all handouts and ask questions. These are also great times to meet new friends and share perspectives and ideas.
- Delegates should be sure to bring their Gamma Phi Beta badge (pin), their chapter's copy of the proposed Bylaws amendments and slates for International Council and Nominating Committee. In addition, delegates should refer to the Gamma Phi Beta website for the complete list of what to bring.
- Collegiate delegates should be sure to have a credit card to present to the hotel at check in to guarantee personal charges not covered by the Sorority.
- It is the delegate's responsibility to inform her chapter of all that happened at Convention. The delegate and alternate(s) should prepare a presentation to be given during the first meeting of the year, sharing Convention highlights and workshops. She should report the result of the elections, Bylaws amendments and resolutions to her chapter. She should be sure everyone understands how these changes will affect each individual or chapter. Any handouts from Convention should be given to the appropriate officers. She should also be prepared to present leadership training sessions based on what was presented at Convention.
The credentials form is an official document used to identify and certify that the chapter’s delegate and alternate delegate have been elected by the chapter and have the right to vote during the Convention Business Session on the chapter’s behalf. The credentials form must be signed by a current chapter officer other than the delegate or alternate delegate and returned to International Headquarters by May 2 prior to Convention. If a change of delegate and/or alternate delegate is made, then a new credentials form must be completed and submitted to International Headquarters before Convention. (See the credentials form, found by accessing the icons at the top of this page, for additional detailed instructions.) At Convention, all delegates and alternate delegates must check-in at the credentials table before the opening Business Session. Per Gamma Phi Beta’s Rules and Procedures, a delegate will not be able to vote if a credentials form is not submitted with all the required signatures, and if the delegate does not check-in at the credentials table prior to the first Business Session.
Convention resolutions express the wishes of the Convention body. Resolutions are generally a result of discussion at Convention. Any member or chapter may offer resolutions to be voted on by the delegates at Convention. Resolutions passed by the voting body are acted on by International Council or referred to committees for study during the next two years. Action taken is reported to the next Convention body.