Andrews Hosts Pathfinder Day
On Sunday, August 10, more than 100 Andrews University volunteers welcomed over 700 Pathfinders onto campus. The first-ever Pathfinder Day, coordinated by Rebecca May, community relations coordinator, Shelly Erhard, director of student visits, and Brittany Felder, student visits coordinator, introduced attendees to the University, some for the first time, and many of the great things it has to offer. Representatives from 29 states, as well as from England, Papua New Guinea, Brazil and the British Virgin Islands, were among the groups who came as a precursor to their arrival at the Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, which began two days later.
“About a year ago several areas on campus started receiving inquiries from Pathfinder groups who wanted to stop by on their way to Oshkosh this summer,” says May. “While we wanted to provide that opportunity, we also knew it would be impossible to accommodate multiple groups coming to campus over the course of a couple of weeks at that time of the year.”
At the same time as Pathfinders would be making the trek to Wisconsin, Andrews had summer graduation and the arrival of freshmen for the upcoming school year, in addition to many staff and faculty heading to Oshkosh themselves to assist with the Camporee.
“It’s a challenging time to have an influx of campus visitors for an extended period of time,” says May.
So, in January she got together with three other staff members and decided to create a one-day event for Pathfinders to visit and experience Andrews. With no additional budgetary allocations for the event, the involved departments stretched their collective resources and made a plan.
“We decided to cap the event at 1,000 people,” says May. “When a registration link was posted on the Camporee website for Andrews University Pathfinder Day, in less than a week we had over 1,000 registered and we quickly closed registration!”
The number eventually settled to 625, with a few groups showing up unregistered on the day of the event.
Participants had 16 different activities to choose from, all staffed by volunteers from across campus. Those who participated in at least four events were eligible to receive the coveted Andrews University pin to wear proudly around Oshkosh.
Activities included a musical petting zoo, tours of the Horn Archaeological Museum, hayrides to the dairy, disc golf, campus tree walks, pipe organ demonstrations and swimming in the pool, in addition to three honors offered: Flower Culture, Livestock and Bones & Muscles.
“Andrews has so much to offer students academically, socially and spiritually,” says Ron Whitehead, executive director for the International Pathfinder Camporee. “Most of the 50,000 student Pathfinders are in public education and do not know much about Adventist higher education. So it was a great opportunity to give them a look at a university that represents the world.”
In addition to the volunteers, the event could not have happened without the financial partnership of several areas of campus. The Andrews Airpark provided a pancake breakfast, for which Enrollment Management provided eggs and pancake toppings, Andrews Student Gardens obtained fruit at wholesale prices for lunch, Apple Valley supplied cookies for dessert at lunch, and Dining Services offered an extremely good price for lunch and supper to make them affordable. Guest & Convention Services paid for the Pathfinder Day pins that participants received at the end of the day, and the Division of Integrated Marketing & Communication produced and paid for printed promotional materials.
“We will definitely do this again in five years,” says May. “It was a blast and I think next time will be even better.”