Collaboration and intergenerational interactions are stalwarts of O∆K’s mission and vision. Historically, circles conduct in-person membership selection, business meetings, and leadership development programming. Facing the COVID-19 pandemic, our circles were forced to be creative and innovative. Omicron Delta Kappa rapidly responded to the new dynamics as students left their colleges and universities. Plans for spring initiation ceremonies and the 2020 National Leadership Conference were changed. Read more to learn about how the Society adapted.
VIRTUAL INITIATION CEREMONIES
By the end of March 2020, the National Headquarters developed a strategy to help circles by providing virtual initiation ceremonies. Revised initiation guidelines were distributed, and imagery for accompanying presentations was developed. Strategies for broadcasting the ceremonies, whether for one specific circle or multiple circles, were implemented. Most significantly, two National Virtual Initiation Ceremonies were held representing 44 circles with 1,196 attendees. As it became evident that the on-campus distribution of membership emblems would be challenging, the headquarters team sent individual welcome packages including pins, certificates, and other items to nearly 900 new members.
Omicron Delta Kappa will continue to support circles by providing the National Virtual Initiation Ceremony throughout the fall semester. These ceremonies will again be live-streamed on the ODK HQ YouTube channel (note the D instead of the ∆ if one wishes to search for the channel on YouTube) so circle members, family, and friends can witness the ceremony. The recorded spring national ceremonies may be viewed on the ODK HQ channel as well.
VIRTUAL NATIONAL AWARDS CEREMONY
For months, the 2020 National Leadership Conference Planning Team regularly met in preparation for the annual conference, which was scheduled for June 4-7 in Lexington, Kentucky. With the pandemic and related restrictions on travel, the decision was made to cancel the in-person conference. Each year, one of the highlights of the conference has been the awards ceremony. In the interest of making certain that all of the honorees’ accomplishments and contributions were appropriately recognized, the Society hosted a Virtual National Awards Ceremony on June 28. This program, emceed by former National Awards Committee Chair and Trustee Mike James, featured the service award winners, along with the newest inductees into the Five Star Society.
One of the program’s highlights was the announcement of O∆K’s two new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Awards. More information about this year’s awards recipients may be found on pp. 26-27. The program also celebrated this year’s Gen. Russell E. Dougherty National Leader of the Year honorees (profiles of these exceptional students are on pp. 8-9). The recording of the ceremony may also be found on the ODK HQ YouTube channel.
NATIONAL LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
It was a difficult but necessary decision to cancel the 2020 National Leadership Conference. Stephen Dominy, NLC Conference Chair, and the members of the programming and local arrangements committees spent more than a year working on the details for the annual gathering. However, many individuals in this group of dedicated volunteers have spent the summer months developing strategies for sharing the conference programming in other formats.
O∆K is proud to announce Listen Up O∆K Leaders – our Society’s first-ever podcast series. These podcasts will be held once a month throughout the fall semester, and members may access them through Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Music, and Apple Podcasts. Featured speakers and topics include personal leadership, civic engagement, DEI leadership, and career development. While this particular series of programs have been developed with the current collegiate membership in mind, the Society is exploring hosting other leadership-focused podcasts and webinars for a broader audience throughout the year. The 2021 National Leadership Conference is also being planned as a virtual event. Information about the dates and programming for the 2021 NLC will be posted soon on the O∆K website (odk.org).