“Congratulations, you have bee selected to represent Florida State at the FRAS conference! It will just be the four of us, small but mighty”
I received the email a few months ago and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was told that I had to make clothespins and a box and posterboard and then “campaign” on social media. What I wasn’t told was how small our delegation would be in comparison to other delegations. Sure there were only three of us, but there would be other schools with only 6 or so, right?
Each delegation had on average 10-15 delegates. I, along with my delegation Tav and Leda, entered the Embry Riddle common area to hear multiple institutions chanting their school names with bellowing voices. I looked at Leda with eyes of annoyance and eyes of apprehension, “what did we get ourselves into?”.
The conference theme was Finding FRAS: a spinoff of Finding Dory and Finding Nemo. Each school was dressed according to the film they were assigned, except us and UF, we were dressed in spirit attire. UF had a delegation of 18 total if I remember correctly. 18 to 3 is a bit intimidating, and when 18 is screaming “IT’S GREAT TO BE A FLORIDA GATOR” practically in your ear, it’s nothing shy of annoying and frustrating.
There was idle time, and people began to be complacent. Some schools decided to start a dance battle, which turned to spirit games, which turned to a riff-off type of thing; all of which UF tried to come for us. I personally was annoyed at first but then it became humorous. Looking back on it it’s hilarious, but I’ll get to that later.
When things settled down, each delegate was given a different Disney character, and we all had to find our respective groups. I was assigned Elsa, and I had to find the other Elsa’s and participate in Trivia and dinner with them. I’ll be honest, when I first got with the group I wasn’t looking forward to it. Only two people really seemed cool, and everyone else was either too hyped or not hyped enough. But once we got talking we all gelled okay. I hit it off with a few people on my “team”, and it made for some good interactions for the rest of the conference.
After dinner we had our opening “ceremonies” and Roll Call video reveal. FSU took the initiative to sit behind UF’s delegation. We told them “we’re going to be nice, the ball is in your court”. They took it nicely and we played nice for the most part despite the occasional shade throwing.
There was a swap-shop afterwards where each school set up gear to trade with other schools and trading clothespins with other schools. We were just giving our stuff away. Soon enough the gators came by and threw some shade, but in the midst of that they told us they actually liked us and wanted to hang out with us. We got back to our hotel and ended up spending a good amount of time with their delegation. We stayed up fairly late just talking about RA-matters and our different universities.
The rest of the conference was kind of dull. We ended up hanging out with UF mostly, and then there was Rollins College who brought a huge speaker that was the life of the party. They played party songs to lighten the mood, and everyone loved it. The programs were great and the food was too.
The banquet at the end of the evening was very fun, they presented awards and gave recognition and then had a dance afterwards. It was an opportunity to get dressed up and take photos and mingle even more. There was a bit of a dramatic scene with UF and it caused some feistiness between our delegations, but let’s not talk about that.
I enjoyed my time at FRAS, and I met some really awesome people who I hope I keep in touch with. I can’t wait to put into action the things that I learned, and I can’t wait to return to FRAS again next year.