UVF Lights Up General Council and FAF 2015

by Office of Marketing | Aug 20, 2015
General Council 2015
A poly sheer fabric branded with a large University of Valley Forge (UVF) logo stood out like a beacon, high above the top of its neighboring booths, at the Assemblies of God General Council Conference and Fine Arts Festival (FAF) 2015. The size of this 16 ft-high four-sided "cube" booth successfully caught the attention of many students and parents, resulting in UVF's exposure to thousands of prospective students. 

The conference and festival was held in Orlando, Florida, from July 31 to August 7, bringing together people from around the country. While students competed in the festival, more than 12 colleges, universities and post secondary education schools, and over 60 ministry organizations, set up their booths on the convention floor with one common goal: to attract and meet the talented and spiritually-centered high school students and ministry leaders attending the event. 

Inside the "Cube"
The tallest booth in the hall was the unique four-sided and towering UVF booth. Its eye-catching poly sheer fabric, softly illuminated by blue LED lights, was conceptualized and designed by Steve Thurston, associate director of marketing. “We wanted to showcase our name change and we wanted to do something big,” he said. The Office of Marketing spent months finalizing the design concept and building the transparent "cube." The result? Lines of prospective students and parents who were drawn to the booth, waiting in anticipation to meet with UVF representatives and learn more about the university. “We were excited about the overwhelming response and interest in our university,” said Thurston. The goal was to build an effective visual display that invited students in and provided them with must-have information about the university and the opportunities and financial aid available, which includes grants and Fine Arts scholarships.

Once students stepped inside the cube, the UVF team, often including President Don Meyer, personally welcomed each person, and shared what the university means to them. Each team member shared their UVF experience, from leadership positions to ministry opportunities to academic programs, with prospective students and parents. 

The UVF team included five staff members, four students, Dr. and Mrs. Evie Meyer, and Dr. Dan Mortensen, who serves as Executive Vice President and Vice President of Development, and his wife Shelli. One of the many successes of the week was the model of efficient and creative teamwork that was displayed. Claire Eiler, admissions office manager, marveled at how the team worked together day after day from early morning until late afternoon. “There’s a sense of great commonality and respect for the abilities and strengths that each team member brings,” she said. Eiler continued, “We all have this infectious passion and love for the university and others see that in us.” 

By the end of the week, UVF representatives had gathered almost 2,500 student inquiries and handed out all of the giveaways. The giveaways are key to providing prospective students with something tangible they can walk away with that has the UVF brand. This year's giveaways included T-shirts, wristbands and button pins for students, and water bottles for alumni. Prizes were randomly awarded to students who had connected with team members at the booth and included UVF earbuds, Beats headphones and the grand prize of a one-year full tuition scholarship.

FAF Students Seek Out mMCC
On the other side of the exhibit hall, UVF’s mobile Media Command Center (mMCC) drew a crowd of its own, as FAF students interested in recording a song flocked to it. UVF has been offering a free song recording for over a decade; students know this and each year, as soon as the doors to the exhibit hall open, ​they schedule time in one of the two studios available. By the end of the second day, all of the recording slots were filled for the week. More than 200 recordings were made over the course of the event.

Twelve members from the Pneuma and Chosen UVF worship teams, headed by Lee Bilotta, professor and Digital Media Department chair, aided and encouraged FAF students to record their own songs, while offering words of inspiration to those interested in pursuing an education in fine arts. Other students working in the mMCC were a living demonstration of what digital media communications, especially for recording arts majors, looks like. 

The response from both students and parents is always positive. Students are thrilled for the opportunity to cut a track in a professional studio environment; parents are appreciative for the fine quality recording that their son or daughter receives. These recording sessions offer the chance of a lifetime for many. It is an invaluable way to encourage talented students to consider UVF ​as their  university choice, while at the same time giving them a truly memorable experience.  

Alumni Reunite
Going to the convention meant more than just reaching prospective students. Faculty and staff members also reconnected with alumni. At the end of the week, UVF hosted an Alumni Reception as a way to "come home” even though hundreds of miles separated Orlando from the Phoenixville campus. Meyer and his wife Evie greeted the more than 200 alumni, family and friends who attended. Of the experience Meyer said, "I find myself wanting to say to each alum, 'Seeing you keeps inspiring us to keep on doing what we are doing.'” Each encounter with alumni, whether at the booth or in the mMCC, reminds Meyer of the importance of the university's mission: To prepare individuals for a life of service and leadership in the church and in the world. Meyer offered his newly published book, "The Distinguishing Mark of Leadership" to all who attended the reception.
Alumni from various graduating classes, faculty and friends reunited and caught up with one another, sharing stories as old friends do. As just one example, Amy Thurston, director of student success and career services, met-up with a previous UVF student and current mentee, Amanda Ferrin. Ferrin, who served as the choir director for the New Life Worship Kids 2014 album titled, “We Belong to Jesus,” mentioned that the album had been nominated for a prestigious Dove Award last year. The exchange of stories further exemplified how God has, and continues to have, a hand on our lives as the years move forward, always ​acting as the bond that ties us together.