Creating a learning community and deepen connections!

Creating a learning community and deepen connections!

When Seattle Pacific University opened its doors for the first day of fall classes this year, a group of 25 marketing students had already completed an entire quarter’s worth of instruction. The students attended “Marketing on the Island,” a unique six day intensive retreat at Camp Casey Conference Center, which compressed 10 weeks of classroom curriculum into six days.

The students joined Vicki Eveland, Director of MA-SSM and Assistant Professor of Marketing, for the intensive course, which is followed by mentoring and group work that takes place throughout the remainder of the quarter.

“We wanted to do something that would emulate the experience that students have when they travel abroad with faculty,” Eveland said. The idea was to create a learning community and deepen connections between students and faculty, she explained.

A Lilly Grant funded the six-day class. Students paid an additional class fee to cover all of their meals for the week, which were provided by Camp Casey staff in the Mess Hall.

A typical day at the retreat included breakfast, followed by classes from 9 a.m. until lunch. After lunch the students participated in group work or free time until dinner. After dinner they had additional instruction time from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. At the end of the day the students and faculty participated in team-building exercises, games and recreation.

Camp Casey Conference Center was an ideal retreat location because it allowed the group to feel as though they had travelled far enough away from the city to really focus on their goals. However, it wasn’t so far away that they incurred extensive travel expenses, explained Eveland.

Without distractions like TV, the group was able to unplug from everyday life and focus on the curriculum, Eveland said. The students also enjoyed using the beach for reading or studying during breaks. “A lot of the things we did along the way kind of bonded the group together. We would work and then take a break to watch the sunset.”

The students stayed in Company J barracks and used Auditorium B for most of their classwork. Eveland said she appreciated that she could stay near the students in the Staff Housing. This gave her the opportunity to be nearby and involved, but also have privacy when she needed it.

The retreat was extremely popular with students. “We actually had to turn students away, they were very interested in it, and very excited about it,” she said. A short survey at the end of the retreat showed that the students really enjoyed the retreat and Eveland said she thinks some very strong bonds were formed throughout the learning experience.

“I think it’s a really spiritual place too,” Eveland said. “It’s a place where, in some ways, it was a little bit easier to talk about faith. I don’t know exactly why, except that you are surrounded by all the different creations that God made. I don’t know if that was it or not, but it seemed like people cared more about their faith there.”

Camp Casey Conference Center is available to Seattle Pacific University Staff , Faculty, Alumni and Students for educational or recreational use. For more information contact campcasey @spu.edu or list gocampcasey.org