Conferences Department

A Closer Look at Eastern in the Summer

Faculty, staff, and students may have been away from Eastern during the summer months, but campus has anything but quiet.  Between May and September hardly a day has gone by in which there hasn’t been at least one church group, academic program, or international organization hosting a camp or conference on campus, all due to the efforts of one little department: Conferences & Special Events.

Conferences is housed in a little cottage on the western outskirts of campus. It consists of just four full-time staff members: Meggin Capers, Kathleen Ryan, Shawn McDonald, and Kendel Lynn Jackson. Their job during the summer is to keep campus busy and full of people. This year they brought in over 30 overnight groups, many of which brought in even more groups; Mission Fuge for instance, a Christian organization invited to Eastern by Conferences, brought in 48 different church groups. If all such smaller groups were counted individually they would bring the total number of groups up to over 100. Altogether, Conferences housed over 4,500 people for at least one night each. But guests usually stayed much longer; in fact, one group stayed in Gallup for six weeks. In the entire summer season – 81 days – there were only 10 without at least one Conferences client on campus.

Conferences’ clients could not all be described in a single article, but it’s worth noting a few.

One of these was the Lausanne Movement, which began in 1974 when Billy Graham called 2,400 Christian missionaries from 150 countries to Lausanne, Switzerland so that they could pursue their evangelistic mission in a more cooperative fashion. Out of this meeting the Lausanne Movement was born, and for 40 years now it has been reconvening around the world. This year, Eastern was proud to host some of its key leaders, including its Executive Director Michael Oh, for a conference on how best to continue the mission.

Another client, quite different from Lausanne, was “The American Sewing Guild”; an organization which invites “sewing enthusiasts of all skill levels and from many different walks of life” to enjoy and improve their craft together. It has chapters all across the country, and for at least 12 years now, the Philadelphia chapter has come to Eastern for 4-5 days of almost non-stop sewing in the Gough Great Room.

Alongside these evangelicals and sewing-enthusiasts were young actors performing for and ministering to Philadelphia prisoners with Shining Light, aspiring collegiate-athletes prepping for college both mentally and physically with T3Soccer, so many church groups from Quest for Life, Mission Fuge, and Student Life that I won’t even try to name them all, and more; all due to Conferences, whose job it is to keep campus alive and thriving in your absence.

But the Conferences staff couldn’t do this on their own, and they’d like to use this article to thank all the people who helped them: their summer assistants (CAs), their Lifeguards, Plant Operations and Grounds, Security, Housekeeping, the library workers, Sodexo, Media Services (formerly ITSC), and Admissions for all their hard work. “Good work everyone, and thank you for a successful summer!”


Image courtesy of Meggin Capers / Facebook

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