Hello! My name is Kristen Dennis and I am a student enrolled in the Travel & Hospitality Certificate Program at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, CA. Recently, I had been offered an opportunity of a lifetime to volunteer at a conference organized by Precision Meetings & Events, Inc. in Washington, DC. Numerous meeting and hospitality students were recruited by Precision Meetings & Events, Inc. to staff the 2016 American Israeli Policy Action Committee (AIPAC) Conference held from March 19-22, 2016.
I first learned of the AIPAC opportunity during PCMA’s 2016 Convening Leaders Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. Precision Meetings & Events, Inc. had solicited volunteers during the Student Union Program at Convening Leaders. I eagerly volunteered and I am glad I did! They covered my travel to the conference and it allowed me an opportunity to witness the “behind the scenes” planning of an enormous conference attended by approximately 20,000 attendees.
The AIPAC Conference was held in multiple venues across Washington, DC.
There were intense security concerns as the General Session Speakers included:
- Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States
- Paul Ryan, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
- U.S. Presidential Candidates: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich
As part of the volunteer staff we received training on conference attendee access levels, crowd control, and the physical infrastructure for the facility in which we were assigned to work. It was an exciting time to be in the Nation’s Capital and be involved in a very important international alliance symposium.
I would highly encourage all PCMA student members to seek conference volunteer opportunities as it is a perfect way to gain insight in all the different aspects of a conference.