February 18, 2020
Thursday, February 13, we had the pleasure of showing six student-produced and directed films at our second annual Film Fest! It was a great night full of videos, mingling, a Q&A with the directors, and of course, awards.
We wanted those of you who missed the event to feel like you were there, so we’re attaching four of the six films to this blog post for your viewing pleasure. You might want to watch them before reading which awards were won so you can form your opinion, but if you want to cut to the chase, here are the award winners:
Best Acting: “1959 On My Mind” by Cameron Wilson
Best Cinematography: “Jesus Heals a Paralytic in Lego” by Sam Lee
Best Directing: “1959 On My Mind” by Cameron Wilson
Best Editing: “When They Fell” by Philip Pomeroy
Best Musical Score: “1959 On My Mind” by Cameron Wilson
Best Special Effects: “Jesus Heals a Paralytic in Lego” by Sam Lee
Best Screenplay/Writing: “1959 On My Mind” by Cameron Wilson
We had the best time at the event and can’t wait for next year!
December 16, 2019
This semester was one of our favorites we’ve ever had. With the addition of new events like Battle of the Bands and Jazz Night, as well as artists like Tenth Avenue North and Rend Collective performing here, it seems like it’ll be hard to top! Other highlights of the semester were our student concerts, Christmas in Lights, Fall Festival, and of course, 25 Days of Coffeehouse. We put together a compilation video to give you a taste of the semester from our perspective – take a look, and come out to our spring events!
May 9, 2019
When I first came to Liberty I had about 4 different majors within my first two years. I started as a Cinematic Arts major and eventually landed on Business Administration: Communication after some major freshman year soul searching. After I graduate this spring, I will have the pleasure of working for Salesforce as a Success Graduate Customer Success Manager. Salesforce is a customer success platform that delivers the world’s #1 CRM which helps companies connect with their customers in a whole new way. Salesforce has been named by Forbes as one of the “World’s Most Innovative Company” 5 years running and one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the past 8 years. I will spend 6 months being trained in Indianapolis with 20 other recent graduates and then I will be transferred to my permanent office in Chicago, my hometown. The company has a corporate culture that is centered around their “Ohana”, which is the Hawaiian word for family. This Ohana encompasses everything from their employees to their customers to their partners and communities, all working together to make the world a better place. I am so excited to have an opportunity to work for an awesome company and I have all my amazing experience at Liberty and my job at Student Activities to thank for it.One thing I wish someone would have told me freshman year when I came to LU is that I wouldn’t meet all my friends my first day on campus. Over the years I have met so many amazing people. Even as a senior I am still meeting awesome people and making friends that I will keep for a lifetime. It’s easy to get discouraged if you don’t meet your best friends immediately. It may seem as if everyone is having a better time at school than you are. They aren’t. Just trust me on that one. Every new experience, new hall, and in my case new job (shout out to Student Activities) will allow you to meet more and more incredible people. Student Activities has helped me to see that this campus is so much more beautiful and diverse than I could have ever imagined. Working events like Open Mic Night, a personal favorite of mine, and hearing all the talents of our diverse student body on display has shown me that Liberty is full of passionate students coming from all different backgrounds. While I am sad to leave Liberty, Lynchburg, and all the amazing people I have met here, I leave this place also feeling excited and prepared for my next chapter of life knowing I always have a home away from home in Virginia.
My name is Jeremy Boyd, and I am majoring in Business Administration: Project Management. As of right now, I will be working in the food business for a little while after graduation in May. I am currently still applying for jobs. I wish I knew that life was not all about money. I came in as a mechanical engineering student for my freshman year and I completely hated it. Obviously, this field was not for me, but money was on my mind. As my relationship with God grew stronger, I chose a major that I was truly passionate about and I knew I could be a great business person with strong integrity and a Christian ethic background. Student Activities has truly changed the way I view culture. I realized the past two years that students and the public will come to events that they have no background information on. These people truly want to interact with other students to get to know them and build relationships. Student Activities really showed me what it is like to offer amazing events to students that truly foster culture and create community.
My major is Business Administration: Finance. After I graduate, I will be going to Scotland to work with my dad with his investment company, then coming back to Lynchburg to get my MBA at Liberty. My advice to students is to do your best to figure out the resources you have available to you, and try to use as many as you can. College will fly by, and you will wish you met with more teachers, built more relationships, or attended more events. Know what is available and try to best use your resources. The teachers and professors are there to help you succeed. SA really shaped my view on culture by learning from other people’s point of view. Before college, I never really thought about how different people’s upbringings could be, but you’re exposed to many different types of people and cultures from all around the world. This shows how people’s personalities can be so different, but still so beautiful because they’re all made in the image of God.
My major is Strategic Communication: Social Media Management. After I graduate in May I’ll be getting my Master’s in Strategic Communication here at Liberty. One thing that I wish I knew when I first came to Liberty was to just go ahead and change my major. When I first got to Liberty, I was a Pre-Law major, but I always considered changing my major to something that would allow me to be creative. I ended up switching during my junior year and I’m glad it happened then because I was able to make some great friends. Another thing that I wish I knew was to prepare myself as much as possible for my future career outside of the classroom by applying to more internships, reading more books, and utilizing the Career Center’s services more. Working for Student Activities has helped me be more mindful that everyone comes from different backgrounds, so we are all going to have different interests and values. These differences are part of what makes us unique.
I am graduating this year with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design. After graduation, I will be staying at Liberty to complete my Master of Fine Arts degree in graphic design. One thing that I wish I would’ve known about before coming to Liberty is the opportunities that are given to us here. For example, between Student Activities and Outdoor Rec, there are an endless amount of trips that we are able to go on. From white water rafting to camping on the beach and even visiting D.C. for a day there are so many opportunities for adventure that I wish I would have known about and taken more advantage of! SA has shaped the way I view culture by challenging me to think about tough topics through the blog. This year has been really great as the posts have been culturally relevant but also refreshingly honest. The whole SA team has done a great job providing stories that people can truly relate to. It has been an absolute pleasure working for Student Activities this past year and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity.
May 8, 2019
Spring 2019. A semester that seems to have flown by twice as fast as it did in the fall. This semester was especially loaded with multiple concerts that already seem like they took place a year ago! Student Activities offers such a wide variety of concerts, and there is always something for everybody to be looking forward to.
Shortly after the start of this semester, we were treated to Drew and Ellie Holcomb on February 8. The husband and wife duo took turns sharing the stage before uniting near the end to bring their show home. Coming off of a Christmas break where many were at home with their families, this show was the perfect way to kick off the semester simply because of the feelings of unity and family that Drew and Ellie communicated. They made us feel comfortable and at home just by watching them do what they love together. This warm blend of indie, folk, and worship was the perfect way to kick off the spring concerts.
On February 23, Bethel Music came and brought in yet another husband and wife duo. Except this time, it was a little bit different. Brian and Jenn Johnson came and performed a night full of worship. There was no opener for the concert; it was simply these two co-founders of Bethel Music who led us in praise to our God, while still showing their love for what they do. It was a wonderful experience because in addition to the music, we got to hear from Brian and Jenn directly as they spoke about their testimonies and how Bethel has come about. This was a beautiful night where we were not only entertained, but were able to spend time in worship as well.
Moving into March, the Gray Havens performed as a part of our Every Square Inch Conference. The Conference was a weekend of learning from Trevin Wax about culture, identity and Christianity, and there was no better way to wrap it up than having the Gray Havens perform. The duo was preceded by openers Gray, a Liberty student, and Chris Renzema, an important name in singer/songwriter music. The couple even stayed after the show to answer a Q&A on stage, where the audience learned more about their story.
Josh Garrels wrapped up the March lineup of concerts, and his was definitely one to remember. Ask anybody who was at the March 22nd concert and they will all agree that Josh has one of the most unique voices around. In order to match his unique voice, he showed off a personality that is also unique to the music industry. This was made evident when he chose to stay after and talk with anybody who desired to meet him. In a time when big name artists are charging hundreds of dollars for meet-and-greet passes, Josh elected to take the time to meet everybody, which says a lot about his character and is reflective of his wide variety of music.
The most recent big-name concert of the semester was Tori Kelly on April 6. She has one of the purest voices in the industry right now and that was made evident during her concert. Those who came really got their money’s worth of entertainment as well as the length of the show. On her acoustic tour, it was just Tori and her guitarist up on stage. The two of them made the arena sound like it was filled with 20 people on stage. This experience was surely one to remember.
Our final show of the spring was Tyson Motsenbocker, opened by Cole Loomis. This free show in the LaHaye Event Space was intimate and special for those who came and love Tyson and Cole. It was Tyson’s birthday, and he said to the audience that they made his birthday great. We were so glad we could be a part of his special day. Tyson and Cole were such a great way to close out an awesome semester!
Check out our social media for concerts that will be happening this fall – see you there!
Written by: Josiah Frisbie
Josiah enjoys writing for the blog because he believes in the power of discussing relevant topics. He wants to be challenged in his writing and research style while still growing and striving for knowledge.
May 1, 2019
We had such an incredible weekend hosting the first ever Campus Rec Fest, and we hope that you did too! This weekend was full of so many exciting events and activities, brought to you by all of the Campus Rec departments. Student Activities kicked off this weekend on Friday, with our semester’s Photo Expo showcase and a concert with the amazing singer/songwriter Tyson Motsenbocker. This Photo Expo showcase took place in the LaHaye Lobby, where students had the chance to vote for their favorite photo while enjoying some iced coffee. Student Activities then ended the night in the LaHaye Event Space with a Tyson Motsenbocker concert featuring Cole Loomis. Cole Loomis opened up the concert with an acoustic set playing some chill originals and some Liberty favorites. Following Cole, our headliner Tyson Motsenbocker engaged the audience with music from the heart that showed his personality and character. He took the audience on a journey with him.
On Saturday, the excitement of Campus Rec Fest continued, as Student Activities hosted the second day of the Photo Expo showcase and a Campus Rec Fest Expo. The Campus Rec Fest Expo took place in the LaHaye Parking Lot while the Photo Expo showcase took place in the LaHaye Lobby. The Campus Rec Fest Expo was filled with so many exciting activities, such as: Golf Park Coffee, Chill City Pops, Upper Crust Pizza (all free for the first 300 guests), cotton candy, a mechanical bull, a 24’ rock wall, fitness competitions, giveaways, and so much more. It was a windy day, but that did not stop the attendees from taking part in the excitement of the Campus Rec Fest Expo. To end the perfect weekend, Student Activities hosted a Movie Night on the Commons Lawn, showing Mary Poppins Returns and giving out free popcorn and cheap concessions.
All weekend long, the Campus Rec departments did an outstanding job accommodating facility discounts, such as free bowling all weekend at the Montview bowling alley, free camping and off-site gear through Outdoor Rec, and a ten dollar combo pass at the Liberty Mountains’ Snowflex. The Campus Rec departments also hosted events, such as scenic equestrian hayrides, top-shot competitions, a star chaser climbing challenge, the lake Hydaway glow night, and so much more! We hope you enjoyed this weekend full of Campus Rec Fest activities as much as we did! And a special shout out to all of the Campus Rec departments in joining us for an incredible weekend right before the start of exam week.
Written by: Gabi Cormier
Gabi is a Sophomore majoring in Business: Project Management. She loves being a part of the SA blog and having the opportunity to discuss crucial topics that she is passionate about with the students of Liberty.
April 16, 2019
It’s no secret that Coffeehouse is our favorite event here at Student Activities. It’s the event we work on all semester, bringing attendees the best set designs/photo ops, graphics, acts and videos. Here are the top five reasons we loved this Coffeehouse!
Did anyone else have all the feelings this past Saturday night? From the SA intro video all the way until The Capitals wrapped up the event with “Party in the USA”, each act, video and emcee moment brought back a flood of memories. When The McGuire’s performed “What Dreams Are Made Of” from The Lizzie McGuire Movie, I was immediately taken back to the green couch in my Jacksonville, Florida, home, where I used to sit when I was about 10. I would watch Hilary Duff act and sing and look up to her in the way that today’s college generation probably looked up to Selena Gomez or Demi Lovato growing up. There is no doubt that a lot of people felt these same emotions at some point during the show.
Our team worked for months on the set designs around the concourse so that when guests arrived at the show, they would feel like they were walking into Disney World. Some of the scene highlights were Mary Poppins, Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Hannah Montana, Star Wars, and many more. Walking around and seeing attendees take photos at the scenes is the reason why we work so hard on them for so long – we want people to have places where they can create memories for years to come.
- CROWD INTERACTION
The audience was fired up for this show! Songs were sung along to, and if they weren’t sung along to it was because the crowd was soaking in every moment. A favorite of the night was “Beauty and the Beast”, performed by Matt and Sammi. People basically gave the duo a standing ovation before the song was over! And for other songs like “This Is Me” from Camp Rock, performed by The Final Jam, everyone was singing along at the top of their lungs. Those moments are the type that are remembered for years to come.
- DISNEY CHARACTERS
One of our favorite parts of Coffeehouse this year was having princesses from Royal Princesses VA greeting people as they entered the doors. The princesses added a little bit of magic to the night by taking photos with people at scenes and entrances. They didn’t break character once, even when we met them at the beginning of the night! They took a piece of Disney and brought it to Lynchburg and it made the Coffeehouse experience that much better.
- DREAMS CAME TRUE
Aside from making people’s dreams come true through the show itself, our dream boards were placed at the front and back of the concourse, and we had Post It notes for guests to write their dreams on. At the end of the night, our supervisors chose a few dreams to grant, giving away AirPods and hundreds of dollars in gift cards. We had so much fun spreading happiness by making people’s dreams come true.
As always, we love spring Coffeehouses for their originality and freedom with the theme. This was one of our department’s personal favorite themes, and we could tell that attendees felt the same way. Until Christmas Coffeehouse!
Written by: Erin Diaz Cleveland
Erin is an assistant director of Student Activities and oversees our Event Staff, various concerts and events, social media, and the blog.
March 7, 2019
Workshop: The Challenges of Discipleship in a “You Be You” Culture
To get the juices flowing for the main lecture, Trevin Wax dove into a short speech on why “You Be You” culture is a hurdle for discipleship in the church. It seems like everyone nowadays tries to be self-made, self-sustaining, self-expressing solo acts whose main concern is with themselves alone, which contradicts Scripture on multiple fronts. With the “You Be You” culture that has grown to unrivaled providence over the last few decades, the idea is ‘you be true to the you that you perceive that you truly are, conforming to that mindset and lifestyle rather that conforming to the image of Christ’, which according to Trevin Wax, is the whole point of discipleship.
Citing Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” several times, Wax uncovered the issue with the “You Be You” culture by targeting its confusing logic and its moral flaws – such as its insistence on reaffirming yourself no matter the cost, even if you are engaging in a blatantly harmful lifestyle but are happy. He discussed how this culture impacts religion, claiming that due to You Be You’s pillar of happiness, self-definition and self-expression as being the highest goods, anything that tells you how to live otherwise is bigoted and wrong according to society. Wax, not wanting to give too much away from his speech that night in the Concert Hall, asked the following questions for those in attendance to discuss at their tables before inviting those in attendance into an extended conversation on a related subject later that night in the main lecture:
“In what ways does the You Be You culture create new challenges in the mission to create disciples?
What are longings of the people whose purpose in life is to find themselves?
What are the problems in imagining the world this way? How would other countries challenge us in You Be You thinking? How does Scripture challenge us?
What is right about the message of You Be You, what is wrong, and how is the Gospel better?”
Main Lecture: The Gospel vs. Expressive Individualism: Why “Being True To Yourself” is a Dead-End on the Road to Happiness
The main lecture of the ESI conference took place in the beautiful, 1600-seat Grand Concert Hall in the Music and Worship Building at Liberty University. The campus band Captivate opened the night up, leading students, faculty and staff in a few worship songs. The second half of the night included a convicting message by our speaker for the conference, Trevin Wax. Wax discussed why a life of expressive individualism will ultimately lead to a life of unhappiness. Wax describes expressive individualism as “a lifestyle when someone strives to find the deepest part of them self and attempts to express it to the world.” Wax also explained that, according to research, “84% of Americans would say that enjoying yourself is the highest goal in life, and 66% of church-going Christians would say the same.” He then compared the difference between an expressive individualistic lifestyle versus a lifestyle where one is living for the Gospel. He says that living an expressive individualistic lifestyle leads to a dead end on the road to happiness, and the Gospel is better because it avoids running into that dead end.
Wax gave many reasons why expressive individualism leads to a dead end on the road of happiness, and one of the reasons that he explained is “expressive individualism leads to loneliness.” Advanced stages of expressive individualism will eventually lead to isolation, due to pursuing one’s own path. Wax used the example of Elsa from Disney’s movie Frozen; Elsa wanted so badly to express who she was (a snow queen) that she ended up freezing her hometown and having to escape to a faraway land, alone. Wax also gave many examples of why the Gospel is better than striving towards expressive individualism, and one of the reasons that Wax gave is “the gospel gives rest.” Expressive individualism causes one to worry about what other people think about them because they are trying so hard to express themselves as “good enough or happy”. However, the Gospel gives rest because one does not have to live an exhausting life seeking out the approval of others, knowing that God’s opinion is what matters the most.
The evening closed with a Q&A between Trevin Wax and Dr. Karen Prior (English professor here at Liberty). This was an incredible night and we are so thankful for the opportunity to learn more about the discussion on expressive individualism and why the Gospel is better.
The Gray Havens featuring Chris Renzema and Gray
Packing the LaHaye Event Space with scores of fans ranging from Liberty students and Lynchburg natives to JMU and UVA students, this three-artist concert was noted by regular concert-goers as being one of the best concerts ever hosted by Student Activities. No stranger to the stage at Liberty University, Grayson Perry, also known by his stage name “gray”, started the night off with melodic songs that scored him many new fans and pleased many a loyal fan. From there, the stage became Chris Renzema’s, who was welcomed with a thunderous applause. “I Don’t Wanna Go” sticks out as being a highlight from his set, as concert-goers rose from their seats and happily swayed back and forth and sang along to the easily lovable chorus.
Headlining the show was The Gray Havens, who stepped onto the Liberty University stage for the first time. With Dave’s quick wit and Licia’s easily loveable personality being on full display, the crowd at the LaHaye Event Space not only had the chance to sing to phenomenally performed songs, but also to laugh as Dave read from “Gray Flowers”, the children’s book he authored. The Radfords shared the comedic story of how they met, which involves the awkward turning of a corner and a bottle of Sprite. All three artists gave a fantastic show, capping off the Every Square Inch Conference in fantastic fashion and leaving fans craving more, which likely led to many car ride beltings of the artists’ tracks on Spotify. Both new fans and longtime fans alike left with a smile on their face and a song in their heart; the exact feeling you hope to leave a concert with.
It was such an honor to have Trevin Wax here to speak to some of the students and faculty of Liberty, and we loved wrapping up the ESI Conference with a memorable show from The Gray Havens. We’re already getting excited for next year’s Every Square Inch!
Written by: Gabi Cormier & Landen Swain
Gabi is a Sophomore majoring in Business: Project Management. She loves being a part of the SA blog and having the opportunity to discuss crucial topics that she is passionate about with the students of Liberty.
Landen believes the human experience longs to be expressed; through our art, our labor, our songs, our storytelling. As a published playwright, author, and poet, he enjoys expressing his little chapter of the human experience through his writings and is thankful that the SA blog allows him to do that. He is published in numerous magazines, literary journals, and has several plays published by Off the Wall Plays, an online play publishing house.
November 2, 2018
Written By: Stephanie Ward
Last week, we had the honor of hosting Q Union. In short, this is an event that features a broadcast of national speakers, live local student speakers and discussions regarding the culture around us. Q Union is a one night event that encourages students and communities across the country to engage in society’s most difficult conversations. This year, we guided these talks using a topic called The Power of We. The hope was to inspire students to take a practical look at what can happen in our communities when people come together, despite their differences, in such a divisive time in our nation. We looked at topics that helped us see what it is like to be hospitable to those who may not share the same beliefs and to grow in knowledge with those on our own campus.
We recorded our three student speakers’ as well as a Q&A session, led by the Coordinator for the Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement, Jack Carson. You can watch these talks below, and for more info on Q Union, visit their website.
Caleb Brown, Bachelors: Philosophy and Biblical Studies
Topic: Talk About Talking – Why Bother?
Logan Price, Bachelors: Journalism and Theology & Apologetics
Topic: Lose the Moment
Marissa Kusayanagi, Masters: Public Health
Topic: The Value of Her Voice
March 6, 2018
Last week, we had our second annual Every Square Inch Conference. If you’re not quite sure of what that is, you can check our preview blog post here for more details. What you really need to know is that the ESI Conference is one of the coolest events our department has the privilege of being a part of each year.
Thursday, we kicked off the two-day conference with a workshop led by Dr. Gregory Alan Thornbury of The King’s College discussing the fragility of faith. After the speaking portion, there was a Q&A time led by Dr. Joshua Chatraw of Liberty’s School of Divinity. That evening, the conference’s highlighted lecture occurred in the Grand Concert Hall of the School of Music. Dr. Thornbury spoke on “Cain, Abel & Kanye: The Gospel & Pop Culture”, and was joined by Liberty’s own Dr. Karen Swallow Prior and Dr. Taylor Worley of Trinity International University.
Friday began with another workshop led by Dr. Thornbury discussing his new biography on Larry Norman. There was time for questions at the end of the workshop, leading to great discussion among the group. That evening, John Mark McMillan closed out the conference by performing a concert in the LaHaye Event Space.
All in all, Every Square Inch Conference was everything it claimed it would be – a two-day event where students and faculty alike were posed with thought-provoking questions and engaging discussion. If you would like to watch the lecture from Thursday night, feel free to do so here.
Student Activities is grateful to be able to partner with Liberty’s Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement to host this important event. We are excited to see what is in store for ESI in the future!
November 10, 2017
A couple weeks ago, we had the honor of hosting Q-Union. Q-Union, in short, is an event that incorporates simulcast national speakers, live local speakers and group discussion concerning the culture around us. Q-Union prides itself on being “a one night event giving guidance and inspiration for how to engage society’s most difficult conversations”. Liberty was proud to be one of 20 colleges across the country to host the Q-Union conversation, which included topics such as technology, community, faith and more.
We recorded our three student speakers’ lectures as well as a critical thinking Q&A session, led by the Executive Director for the Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement, Dr. Chatraw. You can watch them below, and for more information on Q-Union, visit their website.
Kevin Richards, School of Divinity, PhD student
Kevin is married to his awesome wife of 4 yrs, Nicole. He is from Lynchburg, VA. He played football for Liberty in undergrad. His current research pursuits involve comparative eschatology and ethics.
Maria Kometer, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Masters student
Maria is a Graduate Student Assistant for the Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement, and she hopes to work in Mental Health in some capacity. Current research pursuits include psychoeducation, postpartum and prenatal Mental Health, and the physiological implications of child abuse.
Jack Carson, School of Divinity, Graduate student
Jack pursuing ministerial education, and his research interests include ecclesial relationships with culture, how our understanding of Scripture’s inspiration influence our hermeneutics, and the influence Christian redemptive theology should have on the ethos of Christian para-church organizations.
Q&A led by Dr. Chatraw