This is part of a series by our Conference Coordinator Interns who have been working at Hillel International this summer to plan Hillel Institute: August Convening at Washington University in St. Louis.
"So Aaron, what do you want to do with your life?"
If I had a nickel for every time I've been asked that question this summer, Hillel would never need to run a donor drive again. But the funny thing is, my answer has changed with every conversation, and so has my understanding of the question. My summer at Hillel International has proved to be a critical period in both my professional and personal development. I have had the opportunity to examine my interests, passions, and how they might relate to my eventual career. Whether it is during one of the professional development sessions that Hillel planned for me and my fellow summer interns, or sitting in Starbucks chatting with a Hillel professional, each conversation and interaction has led me to a better understanding of who I am and what I want to do.
Working as a Summer Conference Coordinator Intern, I have gotten an "inside look" on what it really takes to host a conference. I have had the privilege of working with a swath of Hillel professionals on various projects for the conference, and each task has given me a new perspective on the intricacies involved in event planning. I have also thoroughly enjoyed the Hillel International office culture, which is one full of love, compassion, and energy for the work being done. The attitude of Hillel professionals, both in the field and in the international office, is infectious and you can't help smiling when you walk through the door.
Hillel also encourages its summer interns to network as much as possible by utilizing the same engagement model as their Engagement Interns: we go on coffee dates. When I first arrived at Hillel, it seemed a little odd that I was encouraged to ask other Hillel staff to go to coffee, but after my first coffee date, I was hooked. The simple fact that Hillel builds time into each intern’s schedule to meet, explore, and build relationships with other Hillel professionals plays a huge role in the success of the summer internship and the conference. These relationships have allowed us to explore new avenues in our career, take on unique projects, and make new life-long friends.
Although I still may not know what I want to do for the rest of my life, the opportunities afforded to me through the Hillel Summer Conference Coordinator Internship have helped me better define "my path" and where I'm headed. I am incredibly excited to offer these same opportunities to more than 600 people at the annual Hillel Institute: August Convening at Washington University in St. Louis. Through the hard work and dedication of more than sixty people at Hillel International, we hope to spark a deep passion for the continuation and commitment to our Jewish community and the enrichment of college students around the world. It has been an absolute pleasure to work as a Summer Conference Coordinator Intern and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to give this experience to other college students.
Aaron Sugar is a rising senior at North Carolina State University. He is currently a Conference Coordinator Intern with Hillel International at the Schusterman International Center in Washington, D.C.