Eleven students from the QU Republicans were among thousands who attended the 35th annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or the CPAC, held in the Omni Shorham Hotel in Washington, D.C. from Feb. 7 to Feb. 9.
The purpose of the trip was to discuss with other conservatives, the state of the country as well as the upcoming presidential election and to listen to men and women who have played significant roles in today’s society.
First time attendee, Janelle Armentano considered this to be “one of the most incredible experiences of [her] life” because she was around people who shared her love and interest for politics and was taught the importance of “upholding the values and policies of the Republican Party.”
“I found this experience to be especially moving because I was able to experience a conference that exemplified my love for politics despite my college’s lack of encouragement regarding politics or political standing,” the freshman political science major said. “I can only hope that our campus will encourage students to vote in the upcoming general election because we are the future of America and our vote does in fact matter.”
Throughout the three days they attended numerous workshops and listened to speeches made by the most prominent figures of the Republican Party. Some of the people in attendance included former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Vice President Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, Sen. John McCain and President George W. Bush, who senior Jimmy Lentz recalled, spoke on Friday morning.
“We woke up at 4 a.m. on Friday and got in line to see President George W. Bush, who spoke at 7:15 a.m. We were pretty close to the leader of the free world!” Lentz said.
“It was also amazing to be in the same room as the current President of the United States and possibly and hopefully our future president,” Armentano said about McCain.
Mitt Romney also spoke at the CPAC, where he said he would resign his presidential candidacy and give his support to McCain.
“Before Romney announced his resignation, he gave an unbelievable speech,” Lentz said. “It was an interesting feeling not only to have heard it live, but to then see it streaming on all the major television networks. It’s awesome to be able to say, ‘I was there!’
Aside from attending the convention, the QU Republicans had time to explore the attractions of the nation’s capital.
“We also went sight seeing around Washington D.C., which included the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II Memorial. Ultimately, we bonded really well as a group and had a lot of fun together,” Lentz said.
The students returned on Feb. 9 with the memory of being part of history as well as obtaining a stronger sense of gratitude and responsibility to their country.
“This trip gave me a wonderful feeling. I felt I was a part of history and I am looking forward to making this trip again next year,” sophomore international business major Roberto Passaro said.
“I’d like to encourage students to take their civic responsibility seriously,” Armentano said. “Although I cannot assert that any candidate will completely encompass a person’s specific personal beliefs, hopes and ideals, it is important to vote nevertheless for the person you see fit to run our country.”