Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. will hold its biennial conference, the 66th Boule, at the Charlotte Convention Center July 12-18, bringing the largest dinner event in the venue’s 19-year history even surpassing the Democratic National Convention (DNC) events held there in 2012.
On Thursday, July 17, the Charlotte Convention Center will serve a three-course meal to more than 10,450 members, the largest sit-down dinner ever held at the venue. Prior to the dinner, the convention center staff will convert 280,000 square feet of exhibit hall space from a general assembly layout to a seated dinner with more than 1,050 tables seating 10 people each and then will change it back after the dinner for an event the next morning. In addition to the dinner, the convention center team will service a variety of receptions and plated lunches for more than 16,000 members throughout the week including a plated lunch for 1,235 members on the same day as the dinner.
“We are honored to host Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in Charlotte and look forward to providing them with the world-class service and southern hospitality we’ve become known for at the convention center,” says Steve Bagwell, CRVA vice president of venues and Charlotte Convention Center director. “The plated dinner is the largest we’ve ever accommodated and will require more than 24 hours of prep, setup and breakdown with nearly 800 volunteers including 425 servers.”
More than 170,000 pieces of china, glass and silver will be used for the dinner and 7.68 tons of food products including:
– 2,000 pounds of salad mix.
– 4,000 pounds of potatoes.
– 2,500 pounds of green beans.
– 2,500 pounds of chicken.
– 4,375 pounds of short ribs.
– 200 gallons of sauce.
Over 11,500 members are registered to attend the conference, which is the first in the sorority’s 106-year history to be held in Charlotte or in the state of North Carolina. The Charlotte region and surrounding cities are home to 20 graduate and undergraduate chapters. The graduate chapters are located in Charlotte, Concord, Gastonia, Salisbury, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Asheville, Hickory, Durham and Hillsborough. Two chapters from Danville, Virginia, and Chesterfield, Virginia, are also serving as hostess chapters. The seven undergraduate chapters are at Johnson C. Smith University, UNC Charlotte, Queens University, Davidson College, Livingstone College, Appalachian State University and Western Carolina University.
Aligned with the conference theme “A Royal Celebration of Global Leadership and Timeless Service,” Alpha Kappa Alpha will host a variety community events including a Youth Summit on Thursday, July 17 at the Carole Hoefener Center. Approximately 600 local youth between the ages of 11 and 14 will participate in interactive workshops hosted by members covering topics such as character building, education, leadership, civic engagement and more. Dr. Sampson Davis, author of “Living & Dying in a Brick City: An E.R. Doctor Returns Home,” will serve at the keynote speaker and share his story of overcoming a background of poverty, drugs and violence.
In addition to members-only conference events and activities, Alpha Kappa Alpha will also host public events open to the local community including the following:
SATURDAY, JULY 12
9 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Second Biennial Golf Classic at The Golf Club at Ballantyne
The benefit golf tournament will help raise funds for the Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation and will be hosted by celebrity guest Roland Martin, commentator for TV One news network.
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | STOP HUNGER NOW Service Project at the Charlotte Convention Center
In honor of International Mandela Day and to parallel the sorority’s mission “to serve all mankind,” the organization is seeking more than 1,000 volunteers to help package 100,000 meals to be sent to global areas in need. Members and non-members can register for a one-hour session here.
SUNDAY, JULY 13
1:30 – 3 p.m. | Town Hall Meeting at the Charlotte Convention Center
A panel of leaders will discuss civil rights, voter empowerment, social justice and legal issues impacting the lives of minority communities. Panelists include U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield and former congresswoman Eva Clayton among others.
5:30 – 7 p.m. | Public Meeting at the Charlotte Convention Center
Alpha Kappa Alpha will hold a public meeting to connect with the local community and share their mission, conference plans and community service projects on a local, regional, national and international level. An awards ceremony recognizing leaders across the globe will also be held during the event.