Responses vary on Torrey’s unexpected changes
Torrey conference directors offer students rest while still promoting conference. | Marika Adamopoulos/THE CHIMES [file]
The lights dim. Dramatic music resounds from the speakers. The words, “The 81st annual Torrey Memorial Bible Conference” illuminate the screen. The Torrey announcement video unfolds with effects made to evoke excitement from the students watching. Then two conference organizers, Talbot graduate student Tessa Robertson and junior elementary education major Jennifer Hahn, announce this year’s new conference schedule to the multiple faces peering at them from the bleachers.
Torrey Conference directors shocked both students and faculty with the news that they plan to hold the majority of the conference sessions on Wednesday, Oct. 19, instead of spreading them out across three days as in years past.
Torrey Conference will consist of 10 different credit opportunities, seven of which will be offered on Wednesday. The conference will last four days, kicking things off starting Tuesday night with a one-credit prayer through poetry session. The organizers claim their reasoning for the new schedule roots itself in budget cuts and convenience for students.
“We have been trying to scale down and be good stewards of our money,” Robertson said.
The organizers plan to host the main sessions of the conference on the lawn, despite the difficult weather that ensued during last year’s conference. According to Robertson, they knew even since last year, they would be continuing the tradition of having the conference on the lawn.
Working on getting thunder and lightning again
“We are working on getting thunder and lightning again this year,” laughed Todd Pickett, dean of spiritual development, directly after the conference directors announced the continuation of the lawn as the venue.
While some students think having most of the sessions in one day will assist them in completing their five required credits, others believe that it could hinder some students.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if students found it more difficult to attend the five mandatory chapels, especially with busy work schedules that could possibly be conflicting,” said Bryn Davis, a sophomore communication sciences and disorders major.
Professor of modern languages Victor Velasquez also fears students may not have the opportunity of attending the sessions they wanted with the majority of sessions in one day. However, he believes students seem to prefer to finish their sessions in one day rather than in two or three. Senior biblical studies major Taylor Harmon agrees with Velasquez.
“I think it’s probably good since a lot of students try to get their credits in on Wednesday and then leave as soon as they can,” Harmon said.
In previous years, students have faced the problem of overflow and large crowds while trying to attend all the sessions they needed. With most of the sessions in one day, the chance of overflow, especially in the breakout sessions, could be enormous, but having the main sessions on the lawn should significantly decrease some of the overflow.
According to Harmon, overflow happens every year, and most likely will continue to pose inconvenience for students. The organizers did not notify the faculty about the schedule change, saying it would not affect them since they cancelled classes Wednesday through Friday anyway. They also wanted to surprise everyone.
“We wanted to do a big, exciting release, so we didn’t really want the news to spread,” Hahn said.
According to Hahn, they want to give students a great Bible experience while also allowing them to have the break they want and need during that time in the semester.