BYU Campus Education Week goal is to help build testimonies
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Students of all ages filled classrooms and flooded the sidewalks on the Brigham Young University campus beginning Aug. 16, as another year of Campus Education Week commenced. With more than 200 presenters teaching more than 1,100 classes over the five day conference, individuals from around the world gathered to the university campus to continue their education — in all areas of life.
"Our main goal is to help build people's testimonies and help offer classes that will strengthen them individually," said Bruce Payne, program administrator for Campus Education Week. "With the 20,000 people that come there are probably 20,000 different reasons why people are attending. We try to have classes in all of our content areas so that people will find classes that will speak to them."
This year's conference theme, "Teach one another words of wisdom," comes from the 88th section of the Doctrine and Covenants.
In addition to the theme, the conference drew from the words of the second prophet, Brigham Young, when he said, "Ours is a religion of improvement … calculated to expand the minds of the children of men."
More than 1,100 classes will be offered throughout the week, covering a variety of topics ranging from gospel doctrine to communication skills and raising children.
"Whether the class is on religious topics, parenting, marriage or finance, you name it, there are people looking for help in all of these areas," said Brother Payne.
More than 10,000 people had registered by Monday, with the expectation of 10,000 more joining throughout the week. Participants each year generally represent every state and many countries outside the U.S.
This year, more than 70 classes are offered specifically for youth, ages 14 and older, providing guidance for current issues the youth are facing daily.
"We feel like it is a good way for the youth to start the [school] year," Brother Payne said. "They come and have a great experience to close out the summer before they get into their school year."
Elder Steven E. Snow, of the Presidency of the Seventy gave the devotional address Tuesday morning, and other events including musical and theatrical performances were held in the evenings throughout the week.
"It's a short, compact experience that can bring tremendous benefit," Brother Payne said. "That one good idea that someone may get in one class can bless them and their family and others. The nice thing is there are so many classes to benefit from."
Campus Education Week, originally named "Leadership Week," was first held in 1922. The focus of that first conference was on Church leadership training. Since that time the focus has broadened, adding classes for every aspect of life as well as classes specifically for the youth.
In 1963 the name of the program was changed from "Leadership Week" to "Education Week." The change of name represented the broadened focus to help individuals become more educated with today's changing world.
"We hope individuals come and enjoy the conference and are spiritually blessed and motivated as they experience the classes and atmosphere of education week." Brother Payne said. "It is a great place for people to learn together and continue their lifelong learning."