Spiritual Development collaborates with students for Torrey Conference
Students get ready for Torrey Conference 2014 in Chase Gym. In an attempt to better connect with the student audience, spiritual development hired a group of students to assist them during Torrey Conference. | Anna Warner/THE CHIMES
Spiritual development hired a group of students to work alongside them this Torrey Conference in an attempt to better connect with the student audience.
Students participated for the first time in organizing last year’s Torrey Conference, but they did not partake in the planning until September. To solidify a more collaborative and involved partnership with the staff, students were hired during this spring’s semester.
“The Torrey team is like another arm of spiritual development made up of students,” said Lisa Igram, associate dean of spiritual development.
Torrey conference coordinators organized the three-day event with student experience in mind.
“Without knowing your audience you can’t really know how to engage them,” said Kevin Bennie, Torrey conference coordinator.
Spiritual Development had always wanted students to contribute to the vision of the conference, but was unable due to the logistics of a small staff, Igram said. Additionally, the greater number of students involved in organizing the conference, the more communication and organization needed to avoid problems, Bennie said.
“This conference is for students...so really our goal is to make a conference that meets students where they’re at and to challenge them where they’re at,” Bennie said.
Despite the increased student involvement in organizing the conference, Spiritual Development will continue to run Torrey with limited collaboration with the students assisting in the process, Bennie said.
“I think we want as much student input as possible but we don’t want to be Missions Conference. Missions Conference is planned and run completely by students, which is amazing. We’re just doing it differently,” Bennie said.
This year’s theme, Collide, centers around handling conflict in daily interactions with people, Bennie said.
“It’s really important for us to know how we deal with conflict in our own lives and to be aware of how other people deal with it, and through that there’s a way through, there’s a way forward,” Bennie said.
In approaching this conversation about conflict, entering the conference with an open mind remains the ideal student response, said Jillian Konopasky, Torrey conference intern.
“Conflict is a scary thing and I’m sure this conference could be very scary for some people, because as Christians we don’t necessarily like stepping into conflict,” Konopasky said. “I’m just hoping that people would be able to embrace conflict for a tool that it can be of God shaping us and just our lives.”