By Hannah Schultz
Staff Writer

The Unshakable class encountered various setbacks when they tried to plan their junior retreat. Originally planned for Labor Day Weekend as a class getaway, so few students signed up that the class cabinet was forced to reschedule the event. 

The deposit on the location was lost, and the junior class cabinet was also left with a retreat’s worth of purchased, unused food and a pre-paid speaker. Faced with the dilemma of a tight budget and a time crunch, the cabinet went back to the drawing board and quickly decided on a new retreat that they hoped would engender more enthusiasm than the first idea. 

The cabinet looked to their predecessors, the Illuminated class, and decided to move the retreat to the World Gospel Mission (WGM) off-campus student center, where the Illuminated class held their junior retreat with good results. 

Junior class president Mason Willoughby hoped that this would combine all of the elements he and the cabinet wanted for the event. 

“We tried to think what was inexpensive, how can we still use the same speaker we had for the last retreat and how could we get the most people in our class involved,” Willoughby said. 

With 96 RSVPs, it seemed that this year’s junior retreat could expect a good turnout, and the cabinet safely managed to recover from their original predicament. 

The retreat took place on Saturday, Nov. 2, with an entire day of class activities and fellowship planned. There were both indoor and outdoor games, food, a movie and two sermons by one of Southland’s teaching pastors, Dan Hamel. 

Willoughby described the goal of the retreat this year to be a time of laidback fun in which the class could really bond with one another both socially and spiritually. 

He also understood that his classmates would have a lot going on over the weekend, explaining the retreat’s structure. “It’s gonna be a low-key, come-as-you-go kind of day because I know people will be busy,” he said. “So this way they can still come and get involved with things.” 

The majority of attendees enjoyed their time at the retreat. Kelsey Adams described the day as “restful,” which was one of the predominant themes of the low-key retreat. 

However, one the largest concerns was that, of the 96 juniors who responded, very few attended the retreat. The day was meant to be a relaxed environment, but some wondered if that flexibility actually discouraged attendance. 

Rachel Dery, junior class publicist, commented on the issue, saying, “Because the retreat was held on campus at WGM, people were able to come and go as they wanted, but this did not force them to make a true commitment to come so I think most people simply had things come up at the last minute.” 

Another reason suggested by many was that junior year is incredibly busy and attendance at class events is just too difficult. 

Nevertheless, Dery said, the retreat was a success, no matter how many attended. “We really unified with the small group present and enjoyed bonding with fellow classmates,” she said.