Florida Southern College’s convocation schedule appears to be shrinking on the calendar.
Officially known as the “Faith and Life Convocation Series,” or “Convo,” unofficially named by students, was once a regularly planned event where the entire student body would gather at 10:40 a.m. one Wednesday out of the month to hear a program or presenter.
There has been a decrease in the number of convocations held since 2009, when Scott Rosen first attended FSC. As a senior, he is not required to attend any unless desired.
“It’s kind of disappointing because when you were a junior or any other year, you had something to look forward to,” Rosen said. “I was always jealous of the people who didn’t have to go to convo, but now even when I’m a senior, it doesn’t even matter because we’re not having any.”
Vice President for Advancement Rob Tate says that convocation is not being phased out anytime soon.
“We’ve had fewer speakers come in last semester but I believe they’ve all been people that the students were really excited to hear,” Tate said. “In my opinion the quality in convocations has significantly improved. I don’t think it’s something students dread, it’s something they look forward to attending, which is our goal and I think the lineup is different from past years, but good because we’ve seen positive feedback form students.”
For Stephanie Aubertin, freshman, convocation is seen as a positive experience.
“Jeff Corwin spoke at my first convo. He was amazing,” Aubertin said. “I was pretty excited for the one coming up too, until it was canceled.”
Tate works to hire all the convocation speakers for the school.
“We try to plan out convos well before the semester begins, as a matter of fact, we’re already looking into hiring for next fall,” Tate said. “Finding speakers isn’t a difficult process. It’s really only a matter of finding someone who can work with our schedule and fit what we’re looking for. We look for speakers who can educate and entertain, but really just talk to students about their experiences and real-world experiences, and inspire them.”
In the 2013 and 2014 convocation schedule, only three speakers were listed- Jeff Corwin in September and Derreck Kayongo in November, along with Kyle Maynard in Janurary; though his date was canceled due to flight delays up north.
Tate said that the college hopes to reschedule a date for Maynard to return at another time.
“The weather up north delayed his flight and we had no choice but to cancel. We’re still trying to move things around on the calendar and work with him to come sometime this semester. If not we spoke with him and he’s more than willing to come speak sometime next semester,” Tate said.
The FSC website says, “Florida Southern College believes that an educational institution based on the liberal arts should expose students to a broad range of issues – religious, aesthetic, moral, and intellectual – as an academic requirement; therefore, your attendance is required. It is one of the many ways in which the college is committed to providing educational excellence.”
“We’re only going to get better speakers in the future. It’s great to see convocation change over the years,” Tate said. “It’s only going to get better in the future and you can already see the difference it’s making for students.”