Students seek alternatives to Torrey conference

Every October during the annual Torrey Memorial Bible Conference, thousands of Biola students attend multiple conference sessions in which they can learn to grow in their spiritual walk.

However, each year, there are a large number of students who choose to skip the conference and make other plans instead. This is the one question that continues to plague the Chapel Accountability team: Why don’t all Biola students attend the conferences?

The number of students opting to make up chapels instead of physically attending the sessions has fluctuated between years. At last year’s conference, about 75 percent of undergrad students attended at least one conference session, and 1,655 students needed to do at least one conference make-up. This year, although the final numbers have not been determined, an estimated amount of 1,798 students will need to have make-ups, while about half of the undergrad students attended some of the conferences.

Several staff and personnel have tried to figure out what students are doing instead of attending conference. This question has brought many headaches and raised many more questions.

Different students have different reasons for not attending the conferences. For many students, especially out of state and internationals, the conference week can be a time to visit family. Many students are not able to see their loved ones as often as they would like.

Freshman Shannon Detter took the weekend as an opportunity to visit her family up north.

“I went back up home to Santa Cruz to celebrate my birthday with my family and my grandparents that were visiting from Pennsylvania,” Detter said.

While some may be visiting family, other students may use this time for some much needed rest. As the semester progresses, many students find themselves trying to catch up on assignments and cramming for upcoming midterms. Several Biola students are pulling all-night study sessions. Students may be feeling weary and exhausted. Freshman David Steiner attests to the exhaustion that school can bring.

“So here I am completely exhausted and just feeling a tad bit overwhelmed and all I really wanted to do was have a relaxing time. So I decided to take a vacation back to Boise,” Steiner said.

The academic-free week may be a time of rest and refreshment. People took this time to gain strength and to get some needed sleep. There were some cases where students didn’t attend Torrey Conference because of personal preferences. Sophomore Juliette Tiffin did not attend every session of the conference because of the structure of the messages.

“I like to prepare myself and know what I’m going to be hearing. I didn’t like that there wasn’t a general topic,” Tiffin said.

People across campus believe each year God will continue to draw more and more people to the Torrey Conference. Regardless of the statistics, every person involved with the conference is praising God for the students who do attend. University Chaplain Ron Hafer was excited about the student turnout.

“I’m thrilled for every person that’s here,” said Hafer. “I am determined to praise God for the students who do come. I look at it as half a glass full.”

Chapel Accountability Coordinator Lauren Turner also expressed optimism about this year’s attendance.

“I was really encouraged by it. I believe that certain things spoke to different people,” Turner said.

Hafer also expressed his vision for Torrey Conference. Hafer prays that the conference will become like a wild fire that attracts many people. It has been suggested that in the future, Torrey Conference may be held on the soccer field in order to accommodate the large number of attendees it brings in. Many believe this vision could become a reality one day.

“Moving the conference to the soccer field because of a massive increase in attendance is very exciting to think about,” Hafer said.

Both Hafer and Turner shared the encouragement and acknowledged the blessing it was to see the attendance this year. Both praised God for the students that did attend and for the students who were not able to attend.

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