Typically, when summertime is near and finals are over, every college students longs for the sweet freedom of being carefree on the beach or freeing that itch of Hustle at their amazing summer internship in hopes to guarantee a permanent position post-graduation. I, on the other hand, know that summertime means CUFI Summit in Washington, D.C. Each July, thousands of pro-Israel activists along with top policymakers, influencers and government officials come together for the CUFI Washington Summit, held each year at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
For the past 2 years, I’ve attended Christians United for Israel’s annual Summit as a recipient of their CUFI on Campus DC Summit scholarship program. As the countdown to summit begins, I’ve got 10 reasons why YOU should join me & apply!
1) IT’S FREE (and Safe)
Seriously, I LIVE for a free trip away from Charlotte. The Scholarship covers up to $400 airline cost from current city to Washington D.C, 4 nights at the designated CUFI on Campus hotel and Summit registration. Breakfast is provided Sun-Wed, Lunch on Sunday, and the remaining meals you will have to cover. (Don’t leave, I’ll get to that soon)
2)Meet Amazing Future Friends
I’ve met the most AMAZING people at Summit, who eventually turned to extended family by the end of the trip. For four days, you’ll be surrounded by HUNDREDS of college students from ALL over the country. From computer science majors from Alaska to EMC interns from Rhode island, musicians from Florida, and a whole lot of Texans. Everyone is typically chill and link up together during our down time as well as during Summit workshops. Because there are so many of us, we typically are assigned 3-4 to a room, so there’s no way you won’t leave with making a new future best friend, business partner, or sibling separated from birth.
3) Be around a Diverse community
To add on to No.2, the diversity at Summit is INCREDIBLE. We truly represent the many shades, nationalities, backgrounds, beliefs, etc that makes our great country IN our capital. Whether you go to a HBCU or PWI, you are bound to find a different amazing person throughout the week. With such a diverse atmosphere comes incredible conversations to be had with eye-opening perspectives. You could even have a great podcast session due to the gems and keys being dropped.
4) CUFI On Campus Staff is INCREDIBLE
Let me just say that there is NO staff that can even compare to the Gladiators that make CUFI on Campus possible.
Laura Serbin, the backbone and MVP, is the administrative assistant to ConC and your main point of contact that will get you squared away and taken care of. Her personality is contagious and by the end of summit, you’ll understand why.
David Walker, the head honcho, is the National Campus Director and Campus Field Organizer – Central Region oversees & directs CUFI on Campus national outreach efforts. If you see him in the hotel lobby or throughout Summit, wave and say Hey! Literally the nicest person I’ve met and very passionate about what he does. Tell him, Megan sent you!
Jessica Marzucco, a true ride or die, is the Campus Field Organizer that oversees CUFI on Campus outreach efforts at universities in the western half of the United States. Her testimony on how she became involved with CUFI is inspiring and one of the reasons why I continue to come back. She’s a true woman of Grace and just the same, if you see her, don’t be shy! Introduce yourself, say Hey, and give a hug!
Samuel Lourie, the coolest Sam you’ll ever meet (hands down) ,is the Campus Field Organizer that oversees CUFI on Campus outreach efforts at universities in the BEST half of the US, the Eastside (NC Stand Up!). I just recently met Sam a few months back during an event my first Summit roommate, Megan (see what Laura did there, 2 Megans from Charlotte), and during an informational bootcamp a month following. Like Jessica, his testimony is power packed and he’s also pretty good with jokes, so if you like a good laugh, he’s the man.
Lydia Williams, the ultimate lady of grace + grit, is the BDS Task Force Coordinator. She helps CoC leaders to fight against and successfully defeat Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions legislation against Israel from getting passed in Student Body Governments in American universities. If there is a workshop you should attend, it needs to be hers. She is like the CoC version of Olivia Pope, she get it handled. #boom
5) It’s in Downtown Washington, DC
Alright, so I told you earlier that ground transportation isn’t covered throughout your stay (including to/from airport and during summit). I typically take the METRO train from the airport to the hotel, because the train station is only one block away. Their METRO train system is also fairly easy to use and cheap, so getting lost shouldn’t be a worry. The hotel typically booked for us is only three blocks away from the convention center AND within walking distance of a majority of all tourist sites (Lincoln memorial, Vietnam War, Memorial, Korean War memorial, the White House, national mall, and more!). Chinatown is also approximately four blocks from the hotel, and you’ll find shopping and food all over. The food scene is phenomenal. From franchises to ma and pop spots, and hip small businesses, the options are endless. Even if you’re not a big walker, DC’s weather in the summertime is amazing, so being outside will surely be a preference. But if you’re not convinced, Uber and Lyft are cost-friendly convenient alternatives to taxis. If you’ve never used used either, lucky for you I have a promo code for get you a free ride! Click here find out how.
6) Come & Learn
If you’re a history buff, political science junkie, or just curious in general about all that’s been going on in the news about Israel and the Middle East, this is the place to be! You will be amongst some of the most notable and knowledgeable experts about the Middle East crisis, history of Israel, and the jewish people. It’s also a great place for young believers to learn about their spiritual heritage. You’ve always heard about Israel when hearing about Moses, Joshua, and King David, but somehow you kind of forget or not even realize that the very place many miracles took place at still exists. Summit puts you amongst hundreds of students in a variety of majors to give different perspectives but also thousands of passionate advocates
7) Opportunities are endless
Just like with any other nationally recognized organization your affiliation to such a large organization and participation will open doors for you. I’ve experienced numerous opportunities since my first time attending Summit. I traveled to Virginia for an Advocacy Training Bootcamp as well as traveling to Israel for an advocacy missions trip. And with those opportunities it goes back to number one. David Brogg, Executive Director of CUFI in one his speeches to “Just Show Up” and his words have always resonated with me. I live by those three words everyday and Just Showing up is sometimes the hardest part especially when walking into the unknown but you allow yourself to be present and watch as opportunities and doors open just from that simple notion.
8) Your life will be changed
One thing I can definitely say with confidence is that since attending the conference is that my life has been changed, not just in a literal sense but spiritually as well. My first time going to Summit I always struggled with finding peers that hold the same beliefs as me or were as creative and open-minded. I overcame that fear and learned that just being a part of so many different perspectives and different people with different backgrounds is life-changing and it’s an authentic introduction to a whole new experience that some have never witnessed before. For one’s life to be changed, it doesn’t have to be this instant epiphany or great awakening. It can just be small things that shift certain areas of your life and in the end you’ll be grateful for it. Whether it’s traveling for the first time (via train or airplane), being around Christian peers, or being around large groups of people (Introverts, I am with you on this), I say Go For It because at the end you know what your definition of a life-changing experience will be and you should take the chance.
9) Israel Needs You
Israel needs you. For years, the story of Israel has been falsely highlighted in a negative way and it’s crucial that as advocates we not only defend her right to exist, support her as the democratic state she is but to also showcase that she’s been wrongfully accused of the crimes the world is trying to throw against politically and spiritually. I personally take it as my duty to do whatever I can to show my love my support and my advocacy for God’s country and his chosen people because those who bless Israel will be blessed, and those who curse Israel will be cursed.
10) You can change the world
Even if you’ve witnessed all it’s amazing glory, and still don’t find that CUFI is meant for you, that’s okay. Because the resources and information given to you throughout the conference can be universally used to make you a more efficient, equipped and passionate leader. They say you are the company you keep and to be around current and upcoming leaders, you are bound to leave feeling transformed in some way. Whether it’s in school church, or professional endeavors, the dots will connect and it will feel like the ultimate blessing.
You made it to the end! I assume you stopped after No. 3 to open the application and submit your application then came back to reassure yourself that you did the right thing! But if you haven’t, in the words of Gwen Stefani’s first solo single, “WHATCHU WAITIN’ FOR?!” I could go on and on about why you should apply, but if you have any questions or want more insight on what to expect, please feel to leave a comment, go to my Contact tab or ask me via Twitter and I’ll be happy to share some more! You can also e-mail the mentioned gladiators listed in No. 4 for even more details. With that, I hope to hear from you and see you in D.C.!
Christians United for Israel is the largest pro-Israel organization in the U.S., with over 2.5 million members and 1.2 million Facebook fans. We educate America’s Christians about the biblical and moral imperative to support Israel. We equip America’s Christians to defend Israel in their churches, communities, online and in our nation’s capital.