By: Bella Sucheski, Lily Jandrisevetis, Alissa Zhao
New delegates might wonder what the job of a Conference Life Committee member (CLC) entails. Even some returners might not be sure, we know they’re important to the conference, but what do they do behind the scenes? The Blue Ridge Journal sat down with the CLCs from Pennsylvania, New York, and Alabama to get some answers.
Q: What would you say the job description is for a CLC?
Lilah Sherr (PA): A CLC representative meets regularly with other CLCs and the POs to discuss the conference. I relay information to our delegations, and I serve as a liaison between delegates and conference leadership.
Maille Bowerman (NY): A CLC’s role is to act as somewhat of a middle man between the Presiding Officers and each delegation. We both explain the conference and guide our delegations and make requests of the POs to enhance everyone’s experience. This year, we’ve taken on somewhat of a bigger role than usual, as almost every aspect of conference life has shifted. We’ve been meeting since mid-May to discuss and plan this conference.
Pavel Shirley (AL): CLC is a pretty easy to explain job. We are the link between POs and delegates, and that means we get to give the POs feedback from our delegates and relay information they give us.
Charlie Schumer (MN): The Conference Life Committee representative serves as the spokesperson for their delegation. The Presiding Officers give them information to share with their delegation, and then they relay concerns and feedback to conference leadership. CLC Representatives play an important role in making the conference better for next year.
Q: What is your daily routine during the conference?
Sherr: I attend CLC meetings daily to bring delegate questions and concerns to the POs, receive new conference information, and give updates to my delegation during meetings and roundtables.
Bowerman: I wake up at around 9, get ready for the day, and attend CLC meetings at 11. Then, I either work at my retail job or make time for committee meetings and social events!
Shirley: My daily routine isn’t that bad compared to how little sleep I get at normal CONA, but somehow I still end up just as exhausted. I usually try to go to sleep by midnight because you need that full 8 hours. From there I get up, scavenge something to eat, shower, and then I go to my CLC meeting. Those meetings happen at 10 (central) and at 11 I have my delegation meeting. At that meeting, I inform the Family about news they need to know, and then we split up to get to session. I’m in session until around 4-5, and I have precious free time until my roundtable at 7:45. After roundtable, I’ve been getting some work done on my proposal and go to sleep.
Schumer: Every morning we have a meeting at 11am EST. At this meeting we get updates from the Presiding Officers, but the main focus is on gathering feedback from the previous day’s activities.
Q: How were you chosen for this position?
Sherr: I was offered the position by Pennsylvania state leadership and gladly accepted.
Bowerman: I had really wanted to be on the CLC this year to hopefully be a part of the discussions and lend a hand in coordinating an online conference because of my experience in doing so in my state. I was building up the courage to ask my state director to consider me for the role when to my surprise he emailed me to say that he thought it would be a great role for me and ask if I would like to be considered, so it was a great coincidence that worked out really well for me because I’ve loved being a part of the CLC so much.
Shirley: In Alabama, it is a tradition that the outgoing Youth Governor is selected to be our CLC rep, and I happened to have been Youth Governor.
Schumer: The CLC process is normally elected in Minnesota, but because we met before the conference and it needed to be chosen quickly, our state director appointed me because I had the most experience on the mountain.
Q: How does being the CLC for your state change your perspective of the conference?
Sherr: I hold a greater sense of responsibility this year, as I want to ensure that all the people in my delegation, but especially the first years, have a healthy and meaningful time at the conference. In short, though, serving as CLC has only made me appreciate the conference more.
Bowerman: Being a CLC member has definitely made me more open to change and positively developing the conference. Last year, if you had told me that CONA 2020 would be virtual, I never would have believed that the conference could exist without all the traditions and in-person charm, but being a part of the creation of the online conference has shown me that this conference is just as special as any other. I’ve realized that what really matters is the togetherness and spirit of debate that pushes us to be better, both of which transcend a physical conference and make a virtual experience all the more special.
Shirley: Being CLC rep has given me a far greater appreciation for the amount of work that goes into making this conference happen. I think people underrate just how much POs are doing behind the scenes before the conference starts, and that has been absolutely true this year with the transition to the digital format. In other words, being CLC rep has only made me more certain about how much of a labor of love CONA really is.
Schumer: Being a CLC has made it really easy to stay updated on conference activities, and I also am able to see that the concerns of my delegation are also felt by members of other states.
Q: What is your favorite part about holding your position?
Sherr: My favorite part of being CLC is being able to answer any questions that my delegation might have. I love them all dearly and I am so happy that I get to represent them and help them have a great CONA experience!
Bowerman: My favorite part has been the meetings and getting to see the POs and my fellow delegates, all of whom inspire me and I look up to, in a more relaxed and conversational setting. We have had some great discussions and deliberations, all the while maintaining a friendly atmosphere. I believe that that is what the Blue Ridge Spirit and CONA is all about: embracing our youth and our personal connections and using them as a tool to promote progress and better the experiences of those around us.
Shirley: I love being able to help out however I can to make this conference even better. CONA has done so much for me, and having the opportunity to give back, no matter how small my contribution has been, is a genuine privilege and honor.
Schumer: I love our CLC GroupMe! Everyone is really helpful and it’s been a very valuable resource.