The Spitzer Conference was great. I met amazing people from all over the country from campuses that are nothing like ours. As I mentioned before this years theme was sustainability, which is a large topic of discussion on our campus. Growing up in the NW I have begun to take things such as recycling and clean energy for granted. Many of the students at the conference were trying learn about making their campuses greener. I found that much of that information was not relevant to our campus, but I attended many sessions and workshops about leadership and a few on bringing the Darfur Genocide to the forefront of American Jewry and to Campuses across the world.

Sunday night I attended a wonderful performance by Vincent Nsgeniyumva and the Vanga Inanga Cultural Troupe; they are a group of Rwandan musicians and dancers. It was amazing to see their passion for music and life after what they have suffered. (I will be posting pictures of the evening soon.)

Monday was a very long day we had sessions that ran from 9am to 10pm, I enjoyed them none the less. Something that I have noticed about our campus, is that it can be hard to get students active and involved, it was nice to learn that we are not the only place. Almost every person I spoke with mentioned that is a large issue on their campus as well. I was finally able to meet Deb Berger, the woman in charge of helping Evergreen have a Hillel. It is always nice to put a name with a face, she had a few great sessions where we discussed Hillels on smaller campuses. Monday evening I also had a friend come visit me from Virginia (after our sessions were over) and when she tried to drive back home she had a flat tire. We tried to fix the tire, but not without some embarresment, and a few good Samaritans trying to help us. One, was of course was very drunk and could not figure out how to change a tire. But the other man was very nice and helpful, we couldn’t manage to get rid of the drunk man until the tire was completely changed, but it made for a few good laughs and a great story later on down the road.

Tuesday was lobby day. I don’t know how many of you have lobbied in DC, but I was an experience. Although I am from Oregon I was set to lobby to Washington Reps, with other students from the area. While on the Hill we missed an appointment because the building had to be evacuated due to a fire alarm, another one was canceled because of th fire alarm and we ended only meeting the Congressman Jim McDermott’s chief of staff. It was a good meeting but I was a bit disappointed, because I was hoping to be able to meet with more people.

This was my first Hillel conference and I was impressed, a lot of hard work and energy went into the planning. I know that I will take what I have learned with me for years to come. I can’t wait for the next one.