No Treat Like National Retreat

The ideas that circulated at the third annual Project RISHI Leadership Conference at UC Berkeley will ensure a better future for our organization.

For the third year in a row, Project RISHI gathered at a leadership conference designed to promote communication, collaboration, and camaraderie between members of all ten of our chapters. But this year, the conference was bigger and better than ever before because it happened at Berkeley. From the 3rd to the 5th of January, over 60 chapter and National Team representatives engaged in workshops, discussions, and bondings to spread ideas between chapters and work as a whole to improve RISHI as an organization.

Conference planning itself was a cross-chapter effort that began quite early in the semester. Kiran Nagra, the Director of Special Events on the National Team, described the process: “It was a lot of work to put it all together. We had to find Berkeley hosts for every single member, plan meals for three days, book the venues, design the itinerary, and market the event. But the conference planning committee we had from all the chapters was so great and everyone worked so hard to make this happen!”
 The first night began with an activity that fostered collaboration between the RISHI chapters. Members were presented with either a need or a solution in a village actually available by a social entrepreneurship. They then had to search the room for their matching card. The night culminated in a competition between members to produce the best market pitch for RISHI.

Members from the Berkeley chapter outside the conference hall.

The following day began with speeches by several members of the National Team and Dr. Sri. A series of interesting workshops commenced, headed by each member of the National Team. Topics essential to next year’s productivity in RISHI like the educational curriculum, Trello, accounting, and internal club incentives. Anish Khazane, Director of Finance for the National Board commented on the workshop he guided, “Our Fundraising/Grants 101 workshop stressed how an effective fundraiser is like an effective business; you need to put yourself in the shoes of your customer and ask why you’d even buy your own product. Because at the end of the day, RISHI isn’t begging for money. It’s asking for people’s trust.”

The final morning of bagels and coffee culminated in an informal discussion between chapters, allowing them to ask any remaining questions and receive the official conference t-shirts. After everyone began to depart, members were left with the knowledge that their contributions over the weekend would improve Project RISHI for years to come.

Author(s): Karina Oelerich and Sneha Pang

Originally published at