BYU Campus Prepares for Women’s Conference 2007

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    By Jackie Springgay

    Ready to share sisterhood, Women”s Conference opens with lots of planning and preparation.

    In order to hold the conference at BYU, everyone involved prepared months in advance. The Women”s Conference committee met in August and chose the theme, “…thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). Planning the sessions and speakers on the program involved meeting every week. The service committee, a sub-committee of the Women”s Conference committee, started planning the service projects in September.

    “The biggest preparation is for the service projects,” said Caye Wycoff, the program administrator. “We have ordered supplies and prepared for the service projects since early November.”

    The majority of the service projects will be done today and then taken to the LDS church humanitarian center tonight. On Friday, more service projects for local community agencies are available for participants.

    “We identified agencies that had needs in fall semester … and designed the projects for the conference around those needs,” Wycoff said. “We distribute the projects within one week to the agencies.”

    The speakers were finalized in January with the rest of the program. Then the rest of the campus started to prepare for the conference.

    The BYU Bookstore also met with the Women”s Conference committee.

    “During that meeting we talk about the logo for women”s conference so we can get it printed on book bags, and notebooks,” said Gordon Brown, in-store sales manager. “We also talk about what is going to happen with the big plans, such as the humanitarian effort. We have to make sure that nothing conflicts with the project, such as a very popular author coming that would take away from the service.”

    The service projects done by the women are a very important part to the conference. “It is a tremendous effort – a wonderful effort – what the women do with the humanitarian effort,” Brown said.

    At that meeting they also discussed when the concert will be and who will be there so the Bookstore can have CDs of the artists available at the concert.

    “We get our direction from the Women”s Conference ladies,” Brown said. “We support them, and they tell us what to do. If they want us at the concert, we will be there, if they don”t, we don”t come.”

    Two tents will also be set up for the conference encompassing service projects, booths and merchandise – things that the women will like. This year there will be tents located at the Marriott Center and the Smith Fieldhouse.

    The Bookstore provides the merchandise, registers and employees for the tents. There are two registers in the Smith Fieldhouse, and seven registers in the Marriott Center. Employees from the Bookstore itself man the tents, and on-call employees work in the Bookstore as needed. Regular student employees work after their scheduled shift at the Bookstore. IT people have set up communication lines and computers, and guest vendors come to the Bookstore.

    “People call and ask how they get a booth there, but there is so much demand we can”t have everyone,” said Brown. “We give preference to people who have been there before and have a product the women really like, such as White Elegance, [a company selling temple dresses in the Bookstore.]”

    The Bookstore made room for the vendors by rearranging things and clearing the floor.

    LDS artists and authors also come to the Bookstore near the textbooks.

    “This is a huge draw for women,” Brown said. “They love to come and see the newest painting.”

    Artists often come and unveil a new piece that hasn”t been seen before. They also sell their own merchandise.

    The Cougareat also prepared for the conference by stocking food for the women. The managers at the Cougareat asked employees to work more shifts and longer hours. They also will open more lines at the restaurants and open the Grab and Go, which is usually closed during spring and summer terms.

    They also significantly increased orders for food.

    “Brownie orders go up, calzones go up, and Subway cookies triple,” said Joe Tiapson, manager of the Cougareat. “L and T is the most popular choice with women.”

    The employees plan on having a hectic schedule.

    “You”ll see a significant increase of employees at Sugar and Spice because everyone wants mint brownies and ice cream,” said Jeff Tolsma, student manager in the Cougareat.

    Personnel remain “concerned with speed and service,” Tolsma said.

    Other stores in the Wilkinson Student Center also stock up with more products such as Campus Craft and Floral.

    “We order more inventory and clean the entire store,” said Brianne Gilbert, a graduate working at the store. “We rearrange the displays, and take out things in the back that don”t look good. We condense a lot of things to make it look more organized.”

    Classes are given during the conference all across campus.

    “The majority of the classes are in the Wilkinson Center because there are no classes there in spring,” said Janae Pickard, manager of campus scheduling. “In the other buildings, we work around the class schedules and we don”t move any classes that I know of.”

    Students are excited to join in the festivities.

    “I am excited to be spiritually uplifted and fed,” said Christie Kofford, a student majoring in physical education. “It has been a dream for me and my sister to go with my mom to Women”s Conference before we leave BYU.”

    Women”s Conference is held May 3-4. Both days will start and end with general sessions in the Marriott Center. There will be 90 concurrent sessions presented in 17 venues around campus, according to the Women”s Conference Web site. “More than 200 presenters will share their perspectives and insights on a wide variety of topics.”

    For more information on Women”s Conference visit http://womensconfernce.byu.edu.

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