I know this is SUPER delayed. I neglected by blog for so long and noticed I never posted this draft of my blog post from the summer. So, here goes.
My third and final conference/institute for the summer was NASPA’s first ever Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Conference in Philadelphia, PA that happened June 20-22. I was lucky to be part of the pre-conference committee, where we reviewed and chose programs for the conference itself.
The hard part about this conference was that it was my third week of traveling in the New England/Northeast Region. I was tired and exhausted, but it was my last leg and my very first trip to Philly! I was super excited to do a bit of site seeing on my own, but I didn’t know what was coming ahead of me.
My bus ride from Boston to Philly was an overnight trip from around 10:30pm to 5:00am the next day. It was about a 6 hour bus ride and it was not the greatest ride I could ask for, especially because I could not make myself get to sleep. I literally had maybe 40 minutes to an hour of sleep. Before I knew it, I was wondering where I was and saw city lights outside the bus windows. We were in Philly and I got no sleep.
I got off the bus and took the very first SEPTA train on the line I needed to the hotel we would stay at for only that night. Emily and Nancy, who came from UCSD, were not going to arrive until 11pm or 1am the next day. So, I had the entire day to myself. The bad part was that the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel that we were staying at was completely booked, meaning I could not do an early check in to get into the room. So, I stored my baggage and took advice from the bellman to check out the South Street Diner and to do the tourist attractions, especially since I had so much time to myself.
South Street Diner had some amazing Eggs Benedict. The city of brotherly love lives up to it’s name because the people I met along the way on my own seemed very nice and welcoming. After breakfast, I started feeling really tired and figured it was just me and my bad bus trip with no sleep. However, I started feeling progressively more horrible through the day, so I made sure to get some medicine in me, but I knew that it was much more and my night would not be as fun. Either way, I kept sightseeing and visited some historical areas, took lots of photos, saw the Liberty Bell, and found some other local treasures, and adventures, along the way. Emphasis on adventure.
At the end of the day, I ended up going back to the hotel and because we were on the special club member floor, I had access to free appetizers and free alcohol. Crazy, right? But, that was the deal! So, I definitely got a free dinner and free booze for this trip. Wonderful. At the end of the night, I just remember trying to watch the Stanley Cup Finals and drifting off to sleep on and off. It was hard because eventually, the Bruins lost that night and I was just so tired and congested. Time flew and before I knew it, I fell asleep, and was awoken by Emily coming into the room. So, I woke up and we talked for awhile before Nancy arrived an hour or so later.
The next day, it was time for us to change hotels. Nancy and I made our way first to the Apple store, because of course, my charger would decide to die on this trip. We got to the UPenn area where the Inn and Penn (a Hilton Hotel) was located. What a beautiful conference hotel!
Anyway, we quickly went to lunch (food trucks galore near UPenn) and then went into an opening session, where I was definitely feeling very tired and exhausted from my own personal sickness! So, I had to sit out the first educational session to recuperate. I can say that it was needed! The next sessions, I was able to do without any worries! That evening, we had a really good dinner at the White Dog Cafe. After that, we slept so well and I was feeling so much better.
The highlight of the second day was really hearing Representative Brian Sims speak about his road to public office and LGBT issues in politics. So inspirational and he was so funny/real. He definitely went over time, but most people didn’t notice or complain, minus the conference team and the people presenting for the next sessions. I definitely stayed behind with Nancy to wait until the line was done with him talking so we could talk to him longer. Seriously, DREAM COME TRUE. I can’t even emphasize how unbelievably good looking Brian Sims is…seriously, beautiful gay men in politics just makes politics more fun to care about. I’m joking, sort of. But, then he’s completely charming, so much man (gay man..yay), and very committed to what he does (the most important part, I guess). I think all the money I personally spent just to get to Philly was well worth it due to him speaking and me getting to get 5 minutes with him afterwards with Nancy. I do wish more people in politics were like him and were continually on the fight for equality all around! Good stuff.
I will post that one picture, cuz, I’m fangirling/fanboying:
I think it was really nice to hear about what other people are doing for service, service learning, and civic engagement, and leadership stuff all around the country!
Find photos from my Philly trip posted on Instagram.