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a real passion for young people,” she said, “and trying to help them and open up opportunities for them in their career.” At Marilley’s urging, Shulman and his team


attended PCMA’s Convening Leaders annual meeting for the first time this year, and while they were there, they spoke at the PCMA Student Union, making a pitch for meeting professionals in training to staff a conference with upwards of 10,000 attendees in Washington, D.C. “It was right over our spring break, so it was perfect,” said Emma Jack, a volunteer in Marilley’s “Precision army” who last month graduated from Grand Val- ley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich., with a degree in hospitality and tourism management.


“We jumped at the opportunity to gain more expe- rience and a free trip.” All told, about 130 students — from Grand


Valley, James Madison University, Virginia Tech, Michigan State, the University of New Haven, and the University of Central Florida — answered the call. They did a little bit of everything at AIPAC 2013 — checking room sets, working donor recep- tions, and directing attendees around the conven- tion center and on Capitol Hill. “It was really interesting to see Precision work with [AIPAC],” Jack said, “because sometimes it can be difficult to work under a company, but they worked really well as a team.” As an event-planning major, Jack was particularly impressed by how AIPAC and its partners transformed Walter E. Washington’s cavernous underground exhibit space into AIPAC


88 PCMA CONVENE JUNE 2013


Village. (See “It Took a Village,” p. 83.) “It looked like an outdoor garden,” Jack said. And then there was the fact that she was staff-


ing a high-profile conference with a significant lobbying component on Capitol Hill. “For students to be able to go out and not only see Washington, D.C., but be a part of an important issue — we didn’t have an opinion on the issue one way or the other,” Jack said, “but to see how many people are really passionate about the cause and what they’re working toward…. It was amazing to watch all these people come together and work toward it.” For Shulman, the student-heavy Precision


army was “a game changer. An absolute game changer.” He added: “This conference sets the tone for this organization, for everything we do throughout the year. The success of this confer- ence is critical for our development campaign, for our legislative efforts, for our political activity, and so forth…. “It’s important, I think, to create the energy


here,” Shulman said. “You can see this place is abuzz right now with the energy off of Vice Presi- dent Biden’s speech this morning, the presence of Defense Minister Barak. Everybody is starting to think about their lobbying efforts tomorrow. But the energy of bringing everybody together under the same roof is what catapults us through the rest of the year.”


. Christopher Durso is executive editor of Convene. PCMA.ORG


Dining Out The AIPAC Policy Conference is ‘prob- ably the largest kosher event in the country,’ with F&B programs that include the lavish President’s Dinner at the National Building Museum.


ON THE WEB


For more informa- tion about the AIPAC Policy Conference, visit aipac.org/en/ policy-conference.


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